5 Reasons the 2013 Boston Red Sox Will Be Better This Season
The 2013 Boston Red Sox Will Be Better Than Last Season
The 2012 season was marked by the centennial of the historical Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The 100th anniversary should’ve been celebrated with the Boston Red Sox winning tradition and a long run into the postseason. However, newly hired manager, Bobby Valentine was unable to move past the ‘chicken and beer’ collapse of 2011 and the Red Sox recorded a 69-93 season, missing the playoffs.
The under .500 record was the first since 1997, when the Red Sox went 78-84. The 69 wins was the least amount of wins by a Red Sox team since 1994, when the only won 54 games. The Red Sox front office hit sort of a ‘restart button’ at the trade deadline in July, sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trading away the three star players saved the Red Sox $250.8 million in salary through 2018 and received a few decent prospects in return.
After an eight season run with Terry ‘Tito’ Francona, the 'Bobby Valentine experiment' only lasted a single season. Unable to control his clubhouse and the subpar year lead to Valentine’s untimely exit and the hiring of John Farrell. The former pitching coach was part of the Red Sox 2007 World Series Championship team and spent the last two years serving as the Toronto Blue Jays’ manager.
New manager and new additions for a new season. The 2013 Red Sox are better than the previous two years, but what are the improvements? What makes this team better?
Injuries and the gigantic mid-season trade left the Boston Red Sox roster quiet thin and saw regular appearances from Red Sox minor league and utility players.
Coming into the 2013 season, the Red Sox have a good number of quality utility players on their 40-man roster. During the offseason, the Red Sox acquired Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hanrahan will take over the closing duties from Andrew Bailey, however the addition of Holt could prove to be just as big of an addition should injuries plague the Red Sox this season.
In addition the Red Sox have infielders Lyle Overbay, Pedro Ciriaco, Jose Iglesias and outfielders Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Jackie Bradley Jr. who all can contribute in 2013. Roster depth is a big plus for the Red Sox.
Former World Champion Players Working with Young Players
Down at Boston Red Sox spring training a couple of familiar old faces have been seen walking around. Since the end of the 2012 season, the Red Sox have hired, former Red Sox catcher, Jason Varitek and former starting pitcher, Pedro Martinez.
Varitek was hired on September 27, 2012 by Red Sox General Manager, Ben Cherington. The GM named the former captain as a special assistant to the general manager. In his new role, Varitek will be involved in major league personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship and instruction of young players. The former catcher has been in Florida during spring training helping with the Red Sox catchers.
Martinez was also hired as a special assistant to Cherington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been working with the Red Sox starting rotation and relievers in Florida, a welcomed sight for most at JetBlue Park.
In addition to Martinez and Varitek, former Red Sox third baseman, Mike Lowell, has been working with Will Middlebrooks. Lowell’s appearance at spring training is only temporary due to his previous commitments with the Miami Marlins and MLB Network.
An Entire Season with Will Middlebrooks
Will Middlebrooks had an outstanding season with the Boston Red Sox last year. Middlebrooks took over for Kevin Youkilis at third base and fit right in.
Middlebrooks only played 75 games for the Red Sox during his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old broke his wrist after getting hit by a pitch and spent the remainder of the season on the disabled list.
The Red Sox will now have Middlebrooks holding down the hot corner from opening day into the postseason and that is nothing but good. The third baseman has the ability to crush 25 plus homers and 80 plus RBIs and will fit perfectly into the lineup behind David Ortiz.
John Farrell and New Coaching Staff
After a sub .500 record the Boston Red Sox let manager Bobby Valentine go after only one season. The Red Sox filled the vacancy with, former Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell.
Farrell and the Red Sox replaced all coaches with fresh blood. The new coaching staff will have control over the Red Sox clubhouse, dugout and bullpen from day one, something that wasn’t noticeable last season.
The Red Sox hired Arnie Beyeler (first base), Brian Butterfield (third base), Greg Colbrunn (hitting), Dana LeVangie (bullpen), Torey Lovullo (bench), Juan Nieves (pitching) and Vic Rodriguez (assistant hitting).
Better Clubhouse Personalities
The lack of player clubhouse leadership has been noticeable in the past two seasons. The Boston Red Sox departed with two difficult personalities in Bobby Valentine and Josh Beckett, while adding John Farrell, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster and Shane Victorino.
The additions were an extreme upgrade over the subtraction of the difficult personalties will make a big difference come opening day. Veteran, quality, respectable personalities of Farrell, Gomes, Napoli, Dempster and Victorino will take most of the off-field distractions away and make Red Sox Nation focus on the quality product on the field.
Clubhouse leadership will improve the on-field play for the Red Sox.
Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here.