Friday, January 2, 2015

The State Of 'The Nation'—January 2, 2015

As we open a new year, we can confidently proclaim that the 'State Of The Nation' is—umm— kinda, sorta OK (with caveats). Clearly, last year's woefully inadequate offense has been dramatically upgraded with the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. The wholesale dumping of virtually the entire 2014 pitching rotation has been partially addressed by the signing of three 'non-number-one starters' (Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson). But the inability (as yet) to sign a true number one starter leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of most fans. "Porcello and Clay—and pray for a rainy day" is hardly a rallying cry for the 2015 Carmine Hose. Ben Cherington still has time to either sign or deal for an ace, but the rumblings from Yawkey Way suggest a "satisfaction" with the current rotation. Such complacency would be a serious mistake. Despite a weakened AL East, the current Boston roster is by no means a sure bet to contend. This team will likely score a lot of runs, be decent (but not stellar) defensively, and pitch at a mediocre level (the average career ERA of the five starters is 3.93). There are many other "pluses" to look froward to: a fully healthy Dustin Pedroia, an even more confident Mookie Betts, a full year of Christian Vazquez and the inspired play of Brock Holt. But, is it enough? Many pundits and gamblers think it is. We do not. Let's hope we're proven wrong (again).