2020 Mlb preview: Boston Red Sox

There’s reason for hope for Red Sox fans after a down 2019. In 2012 the team had a single down year and won 69. They rebounded the following year with a World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2014 they won 71 and followed that up with 78. They would win the next three American League East titles and the 2018 World Series. The thing is, the architects of those recoveries: Theo Epstein Ben Charrington and Dave Dombrowski are now respectively in Chicago, Pittsburgh and a sofa recliner with fuzzy slippers watching Andy Griffith Show reruns.

The new guys –baseball chief Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran– shocked Red Sox nation by trading away Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price. The move saves the team somewhere in the neighborhood of $43 million and they have control over Connor Wong Alex Verdugo and Jeter downs for an extended period of time. Verdugo’s back issues last year caused a fabulous opening half to deteriorate. The question is what does next year look like or the year after?

During an interview on WEEI Bloom said, “We felt like it was the right thing for the organization at the time.”

We’ll see about that. The Sox lose not only Price but also lefty Chris Sale whose (shoulder?) issues finally turned into Tommy John surgery (not on his shoulder).

Top that mess off with the team losing its manager. Alex Cora serves the shortest season-long suspension ever because COVID-19 concerns wiped out the first 100 games of the season. His punishment was for his part in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and will not manage the team. Ron Roenicke will.

He’ll need Designated hitter JD Martinez, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and outfielder Andrew Benintendi to hit a ton whenever the season starts. Like many middling teams, COVID-19 could be the best thing for their playoff chances if they can start off hot, no pun intended. Our pick: they’re an 81- win team for a full regular season, the end of which is full of division games. The coronavirus prediction for the last 60 games, assuming no changes: 29-31.

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