Boston Red Sox: A winter of discontent for many fans

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Dustin Pedroia
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Dustin Pedroia /

The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a pretty quiet offseason, much to the chagrin and disappointment of many a fan. But what if the approach is for the best?

Giving up on a season before it has even started is long-standing past time for fans of the Boston Red Sox.

In February of 2004, when Alex Rodriguez was officially traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees, the fate of the Red Sox was sealed. The team was never going to compete again for a title and many thought the Boston Red Sox should just fold their cards and walk away from the table.

This happened, of course, before the breaking of the curse so negativity was to be expected.

The World Series titles for the Red Sox and Yankees during the 12 seasons Rodriguez spent in New York? Boston 3, New York 1.

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The Yankees are once again making the splashes in the winter of 2017. Giancarlo Stanton has arrived via trade and the great projections of a new “Murderers Row” in baseball are already taking place.

The big “splash” for the Red Sox? The re-signing of first baseman Mitch Moreland. A solid move, but one that hasn’t done much to satiate the appetite for a very hungry fan base.

A search for power

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Boston was labeled as a team in need of power hitter or two.

Except this team we saw last year was still able to manufacture runs when needed. Baseballs were flying out of the park at a stupendous rate for other teams and, yet, the Red Sox were still able to win the American League East.

This was a year in which players like Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts regressed from their numbers in 2016.  Dustin Pedroia began to show his age, the catchers were inconsistent and third base was a scratch for half of the year.

Toss in the youth of Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi and a sometimes invested Hanley Ramirez and you get a perfect storm for a drop-off in home runs in 2017.

2018 should be a whole lot better, even without the addition of a power bat.

Stanton is out, of course. J.D. Martinez is still an option, which I wouldn’t argue against, but Boston doesn’t need a power hitter.

The Red Sox have a new hitting coach in Tim Hyers. Hyers had a lot of success last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has worked with many of the current Boston roster in the past.

Devers, who knocked ten home runs last season, should only improve on that number. Benintendi will also be better in his second full season. Both will make Betts better as well.

Questions remain for Bogaerts. Was 2017 a downward trend or an anomaly? And with Pedroia out to start 2018, it’s time to also sign free agent Eduardo Nunez.

And it’s also probably time to name Christian Vazquez the full-time starter behind the plate. Bringing us, of course, to the pitching staff.

The Boston Red Sox starters

Chris Sale.

Success begins with how he pitches every five days, especially down the stretch. If Drew Pomeranz builds on his outstanding 2017 and David Price puts distractions aside and pitches with confidence, the Red Sox can match their best three with any other team in the league. Toss in Rick Porcello pitching more like second-half Porcello than first and Boston will be just fine.

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A complete overhaul for the Red Sox was not needed. The rush to find a power hitter was never needed. Boston will find their way. They’ll get the runs they need and they’ll find a way to keep those pesky Yankees at bay.

It worked earlier this century. Why not