I am a bit puzzled by the Sox moves so far this off season. They appear to be concentrating more on pitching for next year than offense. They seem to want to win with better pitching and less offense. They have acquired a third premium starter in Chris Sale, so the starting pitching looks pretty good, but I am a little worried about the pen. They have lost both Uehara and Ziegler and have only got one arm in return in Tyler Thornburg. The later looks good to get them through the 8th and set up for Kimbrel, but they have to get to that point.
I am more puzzled by their offense strategy. They have done nothing to replace Papi’s bat in the line-up and traded a 3rd baseman that was mediocre with the bat for a first baseman, who also does not hit that well either. I would have thought they would go after a big hitter like Encarnacion or at least Napoli, but they have made no such move so far. Is the goal really to win with better pitching, but a lot less offense? They had better get someone who can hit a lot of home runs and doubles, if not on the level of Ortiz, at least somewhere in that direction. Will they expect Ramirez and Betts to hit 30 each again? They might, but that still leaves them the 34 or so that Papi hit short for next season.
They do have Sandoval coming back, but are we really to expect much from him after the miserable season he had last year? They say he is ready and eager to come back and make a difference next year, but really? Are we going to depend on him to make up for Papi? I don’t think so.
Workman is also coming back from missing all of last season., He could have a great year out of the pen next year. Still, I think the Sox need at least one more arm to help get the game to the 8th inning. Let’s see what they do for the pen before time runs out and the season begins. Its seems of late that the front office doesn’t put a lot of stock in the pen as it has not been real strong for years. Maybe 2017 will be different and they will really do something to help the pen out substantially for a change.
The off season is young and there is still plenty of time, but I don’t think the Sox are quite ready to start the season yet. They need more offense and at least one more arm in the bull pen, I think. If they make one or both of these moves before April, maybe we are looking at another great season. If they don’t we can’t really know what to expect. I for one am ready for the season to begin any day, but the Sox do have a bit of growing to do before then. Let’s hope they will field a team at least as good as last years and maybe even better. We will have to see what happens. Anyway, Go Sox!