2012 AL East Q+A – Boston Red Sox

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Today, at Yanks Go Yard, we continue our series on the Yankees’ rivals in the division. We focus now on the rivals up in Beantown. The Boston Red Sox have had a crazy offseason. Whether it be the players eating fried chicken, playing video games, and drinking beer during games to the hiring of a new manager and general manager, Boston has been in a state of chaos. Bobby V is the guy there now and already says he hates the Yankees. This rivalry should heighten up this season. For answers on how Boston is going to do this season and their offseason reaction, I talked with Derek Stykalo at BoSox Injection.

You can read more of their great Red Sox coverage at BoSoxInjection.com

1. So far, in the 2012 offseason, it seems the Boston Red Sox have made more internal moves than external moves. What did you think when Boston hired Bobby Valentine as the manager and Ben Cherington as the general manager? Are these the guys that can not equal but get close to success of Francona/Epstein?

Derek: This has been an interesting off season to say the least.  Is Cherington the right guy?  I wasn’t sold on him, but it appears that the three headed monster, also known as the ownership group of Lucchino, Werner and Henry, wanted him so they could ultimately make the decisions.  As time has progressed, I have been impressed by some of the moves Cherington made, restoring some faith in him, only to have a move like the Scutaro deal made and we’re left scratching our heads.  Cherington will be judged on how this team does this season, so for now the verdict is still out.

As far as Bobby V, yes, I like this move.  He’s a no BS type of guy and this team needed that kind of leadership after last year’s disastrous September.  As long as Bobby doesn’t start calling some of his guys out to the media, I think he’ll be fine and get the most out of this group.  If he drives a wedge between him and any one player, it’ll be over before it ever gets started.

Can they equal the success of Francona and Epstein?  That’s a tall order of business that includes two World Series championships in a four year span.  I’m not sure Joe Torre could come to Boston and equal that.  I do think they can make positive improvements which would include making the post season this year.  Anything short of that will be deemed unacceptable, no matter how many games they win.

2. Who would you rather have at closer: Andrew Bailey or Jonathan Papelbon?

D: From a simple production stand point?  Hands down Papelbon.  I believe he’s the second best closer in the game behind you know who.  But he brings an attitude with him and that started to impact the ball club.  He’s a loose cannon and him and Bobby V may not have fit in the same dugout together.  I like the Bailey deal.  He’s young, proven he can close out ball games and will allow the Sox to make investments elsewhere to improve this ball club for the next few winters.

3. The Red Sox were in on Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson at starting pitcher, but so far have neither. Is the Boston rotation okay as is and also is there a move that you wanted Boston to make?

D: I was pulling for Jackson all along, with Oswalt not too far behind.  Both have postseason experience which is invaluable.  Oswalt would bring a nice veteran presence to the staff, but he appears to be a long shot at this point.  This leaves the final spot up to a group full of rehabbing, low cost, gambles.  The Sox are trying to capture lightning in a bottle, much like the Yankees did last year with both Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.  Will it pay off?  I like Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva the best, but right now there are just way too many question marks to guarantee any level of success.

 

Up front, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett will dictate how well the Red Sox compete this year.  Both have something to prove after last season and I expect both to bounce back under Bobby V.  I could see Lester winning 18 or 19 games with Beckett following closely behind.  This is still one of the best offenses in baseball and will again score 800+ runs this season.   Are they good enough to compete?  Buchholz needs to replicate his 2010 year when he went 17-7 and in order to do so he needs to stay healthy.  I said last year and I stick by what I said, I think Buchholz can be a 20 game winner in 2-3 years.  If all three are on top of their game for most of the season, the Sox have a chance.  Is it too much to ask for?  No, I don’t think so, in fact I have every reason to believe all three will become one of the best trio in baseball.  It’s amazing what a bad September will do to a ballclub.  Everyone forgot how good this team was from May to August.  Yes I realize that a full season is April to September, but some of those issues have been removed and it’s a new era.  No one came in and took all the talent from Buchholz, Lester and Beckett.  Why can’t these three over 50 games combined?

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