This is the final installment of a six-part series focusing on the 2014 Red Sox pitching and offense.
The Boston Red Sox worst-to-first improbable dream season is now officially in the rear-view mirror as Mike Napoli dons a shirt and spring training 2014 gets underway. While some things have changed - so long Jacoby - some things just never change - Big Papi wants a contract.
Manager John Farrell will have some lineup experimenting to do during spring training, but the bulk of the order will remain the same. A lineup that led all of baseball in runs scored (853), total bases (2521), doubles (363), RBI (819), on-base percentage (.349), slugging (.446) and OPS (.795)
Here’s a look at the state of the Sox at catcher, DH and the bench for 2014:
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia: While Salty was a fan favorite and one of the better offensive catchers in the AL, his defensive liabilities became apparent in the World Series and Boston let him bolt for South Beach during the offseason.
INF John McDonald: The journeyman played for four teams last season, including six games in Boston going 2 for 8. He signed a minor league deal with the Angels.
OF Quintin Berry: Berry played just 13 games with the Sox last season going 5 for 8 with three stolen bases.
C A.J. Pierzynski: The 37-year-old Pierzynski was signed to replace Salty and it will be interesting to see how Pierzynski fits with the Sox clubhouse.
OF Grady Sizemore: Sizemore, a career .269 hitter, has not played a full season in nearly 4 years.
INF Jonathan Herrera: Herrera was picked up in the trade that shipped reliever Franklin Morales to Colorado.
Rookies to Watch
INF Brock Holt, 3B Garin Cecchini, OF Bryce Brentz, OF Alex Hassan, C Ryan Lavarnway, C Dan Butler, C Christian Vasquez
OF Corey Brown, INF/OF Mike McCoy, INF Brandon Syder, INF Heiker Meneses, SS Deven Marrero, 1B Travis Shaw, C Blake Swihart
The veteran Pierzynski won't have to be Buster Posey in this lineup, but his .322 career batting average at Fenway Park should not lead to any drop off from the production Salty provided. Pierzynski could be an interesting addition the Sox cast of characters - he's routinely rated the most hated player in the game by his peers.
In 2013, Ortiz earned his ninth All-Star selection, sixth Silver Slugger award, finished 10th in the American League MVP voting and was the World Series MVP. The 38-year-old Big Papi doesn't seem ready to slow down or keep quiet.
With the addition of Grady Sizemore to a crowded outfield, Carp will get most of his work at first base this season.
OF Grady Sizemore
2013 Numbers: N/A
2013 Post Season: N/A
2014 Salary: $750 K
Before injuries cut him down, Sizemore was one of the premiere players in the game. Sizemore was a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and in 2008 - his last full season in the majors - hit 33 home runs, 90 RBI and swiped 38 bags.
Ross will likely see more playing time this season now that he's fully recovered from the two concussions he suffered last year. Farrell's trust in the veteran backstop was certainly evident during the World Series as Ross replaced Saltalamacchia. Expect Ross' role to increase this season and to start 50-60 games.