As the World Series has concluded and the 2017 baseball season is in the books. The Red Sox can now start to look ahead to the 2018 season. The Red Sox have already had an eventful offseason and will surely have a new look in 2018. The dugout and the starting 9 will look a little different, and the Red Sox should look different on the mound as well.
Once manager John Farrell was fired, the Red Sox moved quickly and hired former Red Sox shortstop Alex Cora. Cora is fresh off a World Series championship as the Bench Coach with the Astros. Regardless of the way each reader feels about the dismissal of John Farrell, Alex Cora will serve as mentor
to the young players and is a guy a lot of the current players know and respect. Cora is the perfect manager for this team, as he is familiar with mentoring the young players and getting the best out of them, as he did with the Astros.
The Red Sox are going to be on the hunt for key free agent signings both on the mound and in the lineup. The most glaring need on this team is a power hitting DH, as well as added bullpen depth. The Red Sox will need to scour for some first base help, because Mitch Moreland was only signed to a one-year deal. The Sox will also need to look for a second baseman for a few months until Dustin Pedroia gets back to full strength from offseason knee surgery. A depth outfielder is also a key need for this team, as Chris Young vastly underperformed in that role last year.
The Red Sox may have taken care of the depth outfielder problem earlier today, when they promoted Bryce Brentz to the active roster. Brentz has changed his approach and made a few adjustments since his last stint in the majors. His power is legit for all levels and the one issue always holding him back was the fact, he had a problem with contact. The contact issues look to be resolved and with a solid spring training, Brentz has an excellent chance to make the ball club as the 4th outfielder.
Photo Credit: Zach Hodgson
The second baseman to start the season, is also currently on this roster. Eduardo Nunez was a key piece for the Red Sox the second half of the season, and he was a great leadoff hitter and table setter for the Red Sox. The Sox are not going to find a player who does what Nunez does on a baseball diamond. If the Red Sox let Nunez hit the open market, he won’t stay there long and will make some team very happy. Nunez should be offered a multi-year deal for the Red Sox. He has versatility around the infield, he rarely strikes out, is a great base runner. With the question mark surrounding the length and quality for the rest of Dustin Pedroia’s career, having a player who can step right in is going to be a benefit.
At this point it is almost a foregone conclusion that Eric Hosmer is the Red Sox new first baseman. Hosmer has mentioned, that he would like to play in Boston. Hosmer’s best friend is Deven Marrero and the two of them have talked about playing together in the big leagues. Marrero will most likely be a reserve for the Red Sox next year and could recruit Hosmer to the Red Sox. Hosmer is going to come with a price tag, but would step right in and help this lineup right away. Hosmer being in the prime of his career and with his already decorated MLB career makes too much sense for the Red Sox.
The DH postion is a little more complicated and a lot less cut and dry. If you could guarantee Dave Dombowski that Hanley Ramirez will return to his 2016 form, I would resign him in a minute. The issue is that the Hanley Ramirez experiment has not worked, and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Hanley has some physical issues, that at this point in his career may be too hard to overcome. Hanley is entering his age 34 season and while still under contract with the Red Sox may be better suited to play twice a week than every day.
The name that keeps appearing when talking about the Red Sox and the DH position is JD Martinez. Martinez is the power bat the Red Sox could be looking for. Martinez has power to all fields and can also hit for an average. With the DH position such a need for Boston, Martinez is another player who makes a ton of sense for Boston. Dave Dombrowski already has a relationship with Martinez from his days with the Tigers.
If the Red Sox can sign both Martinez and Hosmer, their lineup will take on a whole different dynamic. It will have speed, power, and lots of guys who hit for an average. The two new additions of Hosmer and Martinez will be especially helpful to the depth of this lineup. They will provide the much-needed stability to the middle of the lineup the Red Sox so desperately needed.
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On the mound the Red Sox will not have to look far. Tyler Thornburg who never saw the mound for the Red Sox last year is going to make his return to the mound in 2018. Carson Smith will also have a full season on the mound for the Red Sox. With the additions of Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith the Red Sox may not have to scour the free agent market, which will give them some more money to play with when it comes times to sign the players they are hoping to land.
Boston should be looking at the same success they had in 2017. If the front office makes the right moves Boston will be much more consistent with the lineup and will hit more homeruns. The pitching will ultimately get better with a healthy Thornburg and Carson Smith. The Red Sox will be a playoff team in 2018.