The final two spots in Boston’s rotation are expected to be filled by converted relievers. Their projected third starter missed more than half of the 2011 season with back issues. Josh Beckett is a injury waiting to happen. And new closer Andrew Bailey has also missed significant time to arm ailments.
As for the offense, Kevin Youkilis sat out more games than Chipper the last two years. Carl Crawford, healing from wrist surgery, will probably miss the start of the season as he seeks to improve on last year’s .289 OBP. Just Disabled has retired, but the RF platoon of Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross isn’t going to make anyone forget Dwight Evans. And how long before Big Cheater’s roided-up body gives out? He hit only one homer during the season’s last month.
Oh yeah, Boston’s SS is Nick Punto, a 34-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .325 OBP. Then there’s the new manager.
No way this team passes the Yankees, who, unlike the Sox, fixed their leaky rotation. Ain’t getting by Tampa, either; the Rays add Matt Moore, my pick for the 2012 Cy Young, to what was already the division’s best staff. Even if a second wild card is approved, Boston won’t get in. Texas and the O.C. Angels are easily better teams.
Hell, Kansas City may be better than the 2012 Red Sox.