Now ends the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this poor son of Boston. Yes my rabid readers camp has broken and it's time for Chaim Bloom to send his troops north from Florida to begin their 2023 campaign for the American League pennant and get to the world series. That's the goal, that's the quest. Here are the players Alex Cora has to wield in 2023.
Second Base : Christian Arroyo. The often injured utility man gets the nod at second to start the season. What happens later on as Trevor Story tries to come back from elbow surgery, not to mention Adalberto Mondesi who knows. It could toss a monkey wrench in these numbers. .255/16/55
Shortstop: Kiké Hernandez. Boston will depend on the glove and bat of Hernandez to fill some of the void left by Xander Bogaerts departure. We all know that can't happen. What can Boston and Cora hope for this season from Kiké? A solid glove a bit more range and .265/17/65
Third Base: Rafael Devers. Devers is the bone thrown to us by Bloom and that bone has marrow. Each year his defense has gotten better and his bat is one of the best in baseball. For the Sox to play in October he will need an MVP season. .305/35/117
DH: Justin Turner, of the LA Turners. This was a move I applauded this past off season. Turner is a solid bat in the middle of any lineup and while his home runs numbers should climb a bit from last seasons 13 I think his doubles and RBI will go way up playing in Fenway. .290/20/88
Right Field: Alex Verdugo. Yes folks the key piece in the Mookie Betts trade is going to have to show the world why he belongs on the biggest stage. and right now in 2023. Still not asking him to be Mookie just we need to see more… . 280/19/70
Center Field: Alex Duval. I loved this signing - just not the length of the deal, but that could play to everyone's advantage. I worry about Duval playing center every day but expect the gold glove winner to try and reignite his market after inking just a one year deal here in Boston. .225/23/90
Left Field: Masataka Yoshida, The Import we all fell in love with during the World Baseball Classic. The team and town has embraced Yoshida in a big big way in a very short period of time. His bat skills translated to the WBC tournament and I believe they will also on the world's toughest stage. .305/18/80 .. Yeah i said it .305/18/80
Catcher : Reese McGuire. Last year's trade deadline move of bringing in Mcguire to replace fan favorite Christian Vazquez worked out well for Bloom - not in the papers but on the field. He came in and handled the staff well and most importantly he hit. He won't match the numbers of late in 2022 but … who am i kidding this was a terrible swap. .250/5/30
Corey Kluber, RHP: 31 starts, 12-12, 4.35 ER.
Chris Sale, LHP: 28 starts, 13-6, 3.30 ERA.
Tanner Houck, RHP: 12 here and there starts, 7-5, 4.60 ERA.
Kutter Crawford, RHP: 40 games maybe 5 starts, 3-5, 4.00 ERA.
Nick Pivetta, RHP: 30 starts , 12-11, 4.20 ERA.
This rotation is a movable feast. things will change as Bello, Whitlock and Paxton work their way back into shape. And others go down during the year. Houck will once again be jerked around going back and forth from rotation to pen back to the rotation, the same with Crawford .
Josh Winckowski, RHP: 4.30 ERA, 80 IP
John Schreiber, RHP: 3.55 ERA, 70 IP
Zack Kelly, RHP: 3.75 ERA, 55 IP
Richard Bleier, LHP: 3.60 ERA, 55 IP
Ryan Brasier, RHP: 4.10 ERA, 55 IP
Chris Martin, RHP: 3.50 ERA, 65 IP
Kenley Jansen, RHP: 37 saves, 3.30 ERA, 60 IP
No telling how this group will shake out. Will newly added old friend A.J Politi be added sooner or later or at all? How long of a leash will Bloom’s favorite son, Ryan Brazier get? and how will the returning arms off the DL shake up this pen. WHO KNOWS ? I do know what was once a strength now looks anything but. The loss of Joely Rodriguez ,Wyatt Mills have weakened the steel. I have immense faith in Jansen and this unit will get stronger.
Yu Chang made the team as the utility man (as I predicted). He plays all over the infield and made Bobby D expendable. There is still no timetable on Adalberto Mondesi returning from the DL… maybe mid May ?
No matter the level of play from little league all the way to MLB. Opening day always shines brightest in the minds of ballplayers and fans alike. From every fan base across MLB 162 - 0 tweets will be sent out across the bird app. People will embrace their clubs projections or let that writer know how off the wall they are in thinking their team won't be making the postseason. And ill get ripped on ReddIt for either being a homer or a hater.
Purists will scream at their TV as some of them get to witness baseball's new rules change and the game they have loved all their lives change in a blink of their eyes. Beat writers will rejoice in the pitch clock on the 20 or so minutes that they get back in their day. 20 minutes X 162 that's a lot of family time at 11 PM. Players' averages will rise to heights not seen since the 1980’s as the dreaded shift was banned and stolen base numbers will soar conjuring memories of Vince Colman and Rickey Henderson-esque swipe numbers return, due to MLB’ larger bases and limited toss overs. Can you feel the sarcasm ?
As always you can follow / give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207