Unless you think that the teams with the biggest weaknesses (BAL and their approach; NYY and age) will completely collapse then a second EC is a stretch. I think that there's a faint hope but that's it. As I tried to lay out, the strength of the division plays AGAINST the Sox. In years past the WC has come from divisions in which there were clear weak teams against whom they collected +20 wins via the unbalanced schedule. The Sox, for example, routinely went 15-3 against BAL and 12-6 against TOR. If the division is as tough as predicted most of the teams will hover between 11-7 to 9-9. The best team may finish with a lower net-win count than past teams accumulated against one or two teams. Not net gain in wins within the division makes it VERY difficult to contend as a WC because there are so many fewer games against non-division teams.
The West can pile on against SEA and whichever team comes out of the game slowly. The Central will pick up wins in CLE and MIN. Those are the places where the WCs probably come from.
The Sox ability to be a contender in 2013 comes down to two factors IMO.
1) Can the team stay healthy? & 2) Will Farrell have a stabilizing effect on the starting rotation?
If those two things happen then I think they can surprise a lot of people. If not then it could get ugly.
Regardless of how this season plays out, I really like the philosophy of holding onto (and developing) our young talent and bringing in high-character, good clubhouse guys. We may not reap the benefits of it in 2013 but I think that if they stay the course, beginning in a couple years this team could start another epic run like it had from 2003-2008.
I think a very important factor will be if Salty catches and if so, for how long before he is dealt? If he's catching until the trade deadline I'm going to say that we aren't going to be contenders because our pitching will probably be having yet another bad season. Salty isn't the only reason our pitching has been bad in recent memory, but he is a big factor for sure. I'm done with watching him call games and strike out a third of the time.
I would like to see them win, but will be happy if they make good moves for the deadline.
If Napoli stays healthy, and keeps showing power he can possibly bring in a good hall for a play off team looking for power for the play-offs. Same with Ells, and Lackey.
Pretenders- outside shot at playoffs but not likely. A lot of things would have to go right, health being the main one.
Also, this team lacks power, I don't see us scarying anyone. Not that you need to, but AL East you gotta have bats/ runs, I don't see Soxs having that.
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^^ No, I very highly doubt Napoli even comes close to matching Gonzalez' production with the stick or glove. Just not happening. He 'might' hit 2 or 3 more homer's, that's about it.
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1B: broken down Napoli/replacement < Agon/Loney
2B: Pedroia - wash
3B: WMB with no real back-up 2nd time through the league - good chance for meh
SS: Drew vs Aviles - wash or worse
LF: platoon vs Crawford/Nava - probably better
CF: Ells/injury standin vs Ells/Byrd - better
RF: Victorino vs Ross/Sweeney - close
C: if Salty is gone, better D, but very possible worse O.
DH: Ortiz v Ortiz - I bet worse
This teams opening day top six hitters is worse vs last year on paper IMO, mix in injuries to to injury prone and key players such as Ortiz, Pedroia, and Napoli - and it's a poor line-up. We have no depth in the entire INF, DH and CF, and have platoon guys that will be exposed if there is injury to their platoon mate.
Overall Meh - 690-740 run team.
Last edited by bagwell368; 01-23-2013 at 02:34 PM.
Lavarnway, Kalish, Drew are pretty big mysteries at this point too. I think it will be tough for drew to be worse offensively than Aviles/Iglesias though.
Good point with Ortiz, I sort of neglected that. Still, top 5 in the AL seems realistic to me depending on how many injuries hit us.
1. coming off injury riddled seasons
2. poor seasons based on recent history
A very large amount is the answer.
Napoli has 7 years as a pro, with 2 great seasons, 1 good, and 4 meh/poor. Which one are we going to get?
Aviles is about even to Drew as on offensive player the last two years. Iglesias is liable to be the same inept offensive "force" that he was last year. Drew in his last 2 years had an OPS+ of 93, 79. Drew has played 86 and 79 games those two years due to injury. Aviles had an OPS+ of 89 and 76. But he managed 91 and 136 games played.
Seriously given the average luck, health, and decline issues. I'd say 5th in runs would be a fine outcome.
I feel like we are a contender for the final playoff spot. However I fear that as well. I could see us in the hunt for the playoffs around deadline time and making a bad move. For me that would be the worst case scenario. Unless your getting a King Felix, Price, Kershaw(i say no chance) or a Braun, Tulo(again no chance) Using our specs in a small deal is a bad idea. I think you set a plan and stick to it. If we are still contending around that time great, however i would like to still have our almost ready specs get playing time. Not to mention some veteran players that have value, are potentially blocking specs, need to be moved instead of held on too.
^^^ I honestly think the current FO will be more conservative on deals around the deadline, at least for the next year or two. By conservative I mean that they will way long-term impact more heavily than short-term. Whatever success may come, BC seems firmly committed to the idea that they are building a new nucleus that must be preserved.
Folks here that want to pursue a playoff spot this year and next year at all costs are not holding sway - thankfully - or in the FO.