Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Red Sox: Silver Linings Or Dark Clouds?

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
Believe it not, the Red Sox will suit up against the Philadelphia Phillies for real in just 79 days. So, where do the 2015 Carmine Hose stand at the moment? It appears that this could be one of those years where you can make credible arguments for both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. On the one hand, the offense has been dramatically upgraded with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. On the other hand, the starting rotation lacks a true number one—in favor of five number threes. And yet, many respected pundits (including ESPN's Buster Olney) have singled out the Red Sox as having one of the best (and deepest) line-ups in all of baseball. Others have gone so far as to label Boston as the AL East favorites. So, what's the reality? As with most things in life, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle—as boring as that sounds. The rotation will more than likely be better than we all suspect, while the batting order will likely be worse than we think (either through injury or simple poor performance). But then there are the more dicey areas that show no clear direction—like the bullpen. Signing Koji Uehara was good—but he is almost 40. There's a chance that Edward Mujica will regain closer-like form, but he might not. Getting Craig Breslow back is also good—but are we certain he can be effective again? Similarly, the bench seems stronger than it's been in a while—but will trades weed out the overcrowded outfield and ultimately make the bench just "so-so"? And, will 'the kids' mature, or repeat their futility of 2014? The bottom line is: nobody can possibly know in January how a team like the Red Sox will perform. There are just too many question marks.