The Red Sox have been busy this off-season, but you wouldn’t know it. Boston has quietly signed a number of complimentary players to round out their depleted roster.
Last season the Sox unloaded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl “Mr. DL” Crawford and Josh “PBR” Beckett sending the trio to the L.A. Dodgers (thanks Magic they’re all yours now) freeing up a significant amount of money for the team to use this off-season. Since the end of the regular season - thank God it ended I couldn’t take another month in last place – the Red Sox seem to be on a mission to recapture their 2004 magic.
To date the Sox have signed catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, outfielder Shane Victorino, shortstop Stephen Drew, catcher David Ross and outfielder Jonny Gomes. These signing have two things in common with the 2004 team; none of them are superstars and they each add a unique ability that will complement the team as a whole. Those characteristics might be an oversimplification but it's what made that ’04 championship team special.
Moving forward a lingering and important question remains: Does this current roster of players have enough pieces for a playoff run in 2013?
As I examine the question I can’t help but come to the same conclusion, no. However I can think of two players that, if added, could put the Sox into instant contention. Those two players are Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn.
Kyle Lohse (Starting Pitcher): Heading into the 2013 season there are many question marks surrounding the Red Sox starting pitching: Will John Lackey come back strong from Tommy John surgery, will Felix Doubront hit a sophomore slump and does Ryan Dempster have anything left? With a flurry of questions aimed at the Sox pitching staff the addition of Lohse could solidify the top 3 starters in the Sox rotation – Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and hopefully Kyle Lohse.
In 2012 Lohse was a dominate force for the Cardinals posting a 16-3 record with a 2.86 ERA, 143 strikeouts and 1.09 WHIP. If you’re a Red Sox fan you’ll take those stats any day and I hope we do.
Michael Bourn (Outfielder): Why would the Sox need another outfielder on the roster? The answer is simple, flexibility. Boston signed Ellsbury to a one year deal this off-season but that doesn’t mean he’ll be here in August. With the addition of Bourn the Red Sox will have more flexibility in the outfield and game situations.
Bourn had a solid 2012 season with the Braves batting .274 with 9 homeruns, 57 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 155 games. Bourn will be relegated to part-time, but his ability to hit and run will give Sox manager John Farrell flexibility late in games.
The hypothetical addition of Lohse and Bourn doesn’t guarantee the Red Sox a World Series championship, but their arrival in Boston could drastically change the landscape in both the AL East and American League for the organization. The addition of both players could provide that “special 2004 magic” (The Idiot Factor) the Sox are looking for resulting in a deep playoff run.
Follow Scott Levesque on Twitter at @scottlevesque.Scott Levesque 1/21/2013 08:25:00 PM Tweet