Five Former Boston Red Sox that Will Have Big 2013 Seasons
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have a rich history of both good and bad decision making when it comes to player personnel. Some of the team’s better moves since the time of free agency in the mid 1970s have directly resulted in World Series titles for the Red Sox. Postseason heroes like Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, David Ortiz, and Mike Lowell all started their careers with other MLB teams but ended up being monumental acquisitions for Boston.
But these are the Red Sox we’re talking about here. And with this team, pessimism is always the order of the day. So let’s look back at some of the many blunders that management has made through the years.
It could be said that the Sox haven’t had a consistent center fielder since Fred Lynn was traded away prior to the 1981 season. Then there’s the infamous Jeff Bagwell deal that put the Houston Astros on the map. And many people forget that in 1988, twelve years before they wined and dined him into coming to Boston, the team traded 21-year-old Curt Schilling to the Baltimore Orioles.
When it comes to free agents, the list of players that the Red Sox failed to retain is also loaded with all-stars and Hall of Famers. There was Carlton Fisk, Roger Clemens, Dwight Evans, and Wade Boggs. More recently, the team lost Jonathan Papelbon, Adrian Beltre, and Jason Bay—yes, that Jason Bay! Believe me when I tell you, Bay would have been great if he stayed in Boston.
So, with all this in mind, let’s look ahead to the upcoming regular season. Here’s my list of five former Red Sox players—lost through free agency or trade—that should have great 2013 campaigns.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)
Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees
Former all-star corner infielder Kevin Youkilis was traded away from the Red Sox last June for a bag of baseballs (actually the Sox got Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart). A victim of the Bobby Valentine regime, “Youk” struggled away from Fenway Park as his batting averaged dipped to .236. Now the New York Yankees’ full-time third baseman, expect Youkilis to bounce back with a solid 2013 campaign. His familiarity with the A.L. East should not be overlooked when evaluating the 33-year-old. Solid production in the range of 20 homers and 85 RBIs is not out of the question, and an OBP of better then .350 is just about a given.
Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Dodgers
Are you a believer is the odd-even pitching trend. Josh Beckett sure seems to be. The former Red Sox ace has followed the Bret Saberhagen pitching manual step by step. In the 1980s, Saberhagen was 61-22 during odd years, but only 31-39 during the evens. Since 2005, Beckett has seemed to master this technique. In odd years during this span, the right-hander is a remarkable 65-28. In even years though, Beckett is just 41-41. Now, after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last August, the 32-year-old will be dealing in a pitcher-friendly park, and he’ll have a tremendous offense supporting him. And, oh yeah, 2013 is also an odd-numbered year.
Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics
I probably wouldn’t put Josh Reddick on this list except for the fact that corner outfielders have been a big problem in Boston since the Red Sox traded him away after the 2011 season. Having received proven closer Andrew Bailey in return, I wasn’t upset with the deal at the time, but the 2012 season certainly changed my thinking. While Bailey spent nearly the entire year on the disabled list, Reddick shined with the Oakland Athletics. A’s fans should expect another season of 30 home runs and 85 RBI from the left-handed slugger.
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Injuries didn’t limit Adrian Gonzalez’ playing time in Boston, but they did limit his production. The slugger seemed to lose his power stroke as he dealt with a shoulder injury during his entire 282-game run with the Red Sox. A trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers late last season puts the veteran back in the N.L. West, where he was an absolute beast with the San Diego Padres for five seasons. Gonzalez shouldn’t miss a beat in L.A., so expect him to return the area of 35-plus homers and 110 RBI, while batting better than .300.
Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers
After missing all of the 2012 season due to injury, Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is primed for a comeback. An all-star with the Red Sox in 2010, Martinez hit 20 homers and batted .302 that year, while spending over 100 games behind the plate. The team failed to retain him during the ensuing off-season, and they’ve struggled to replace his bat at that position ever since. These days he’s no longer a catcher, so he may not hold the same value that he did in Boston, but Martinez should still bat over .300 with the Tigers while knocking in close to 100 runs.