By Kevin Colameco
Although the Red Sox season came crashing down in a quick three game series against the Cleveland Indians this past October, they still put together a phenomenal 93-69 record that gives Sox fans confidence for this new-look team. One of the biggest stories of the new season is that on this year’s Opening Day, Boston will begin the post-David Ortiz era. Ortiz played for Boston from 2003 -2016, hit 483 homeruns in his Red Sox uniform, and collected 3 World Series Championships along the way.
“As sad as it is to see Big Papi go, I think this year’s club can overcome his departure and really do something big this season,” said 4Cs student Alex Malcolm.
There will still be hundreds of #34 jerseys in the crowd at Fenway Park for years to come, but now it’s time to look forward to the players that are still on the team, as well as the new additions from free agency. The biggest acquisition by far was the talented left handed pitcher Chris Sale. Sale was traded from the Chicago White Sox to Boston for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and two others. Moncada was the reason Chicago agreed to the deal, as he is one the most talented young prospects of the league and has drawn comparisons to the All-Star second basemen Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners. Boston is clearly in a “win now” mindset sense they shipped off what could be baseball’s next big player, but Chris Sale is not a player to be discouraged about joining this team. Sale has just come of his best season of his 7-year career, posting a 17-10 record, 3.34 ERA, and an enormous 233 strikeouts. With this addition, the Sox have a three-headed monster pitching rotation with Sale, David Price, and reigning Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello.
Not only is Boston looking promising with their pitching, but their batting lineup can also scare away opposing teams. The core of Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and Andrew Benintendi looks impressive. Third basemen Pablo Sandoval is about to begin his 3rd season of his humongous 5 year, $95 million contract, however he reportedly is looking slimmer and far healthier than he previously was. If Sandoval can swing the bat like he used to back in San Francisco, then this Boston lineup may even be better than it was last year.
Based on a six-person panel of reporters and editors, USA Today projected the Boston Red Sox to go 94-68 in 2017, the most in the American League East and second in the AL. The Sox finish spring training at the end of March, and begin their season on Monday, April 3rd against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park.