Red Sox Spring Training 2013

As players continue to practice this week for the beginning of Spring Training at Fort Myers, FL, here’s a rundown of what to watch for and prospects to keep tabs on this year :

Pitching Could Be Promising: According to Red Sox Ace Jon Lester, the Sox pitching staff will be ready to prove last year was a fluke and that they will be better than advertised. Lester was quoted in an article from saying “We can sit there and talk about it every year,” Lester said. “It’s a matter of going out and doing it. As far as potential, as far as that possibility, it’s all there. It’s just a matter of going out and actually executing and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

According to Lester, Clay Bucholz, newcomer Ryan Dempster, even John Lackey, all showed strides of improvement in their practices this week. Lackey reportedly shed some weight this offseason and appears to be in the best shape of his career. As I mentioned in my Red Sox preview this pitching staff can absolutely get the job done. Consistency will be the key for this group of hurlers. For now the jury is still out on the rotation. However, news that Lester and Co. are fired up for this season is always good news.

Prospects to Keep An Eye On: Spring Training not only allows the returning veterans and every day lineup guys to “get back into the swing of things” , it also allows for young prospects to have a shot at proving their potential. Here’s a list of players to watch according to and ESPN’/Scouts Inc’ Keith Law:

SS Xander Bogaerts: According to ESPN’s Keith Law, Bogaerts is the fifth best prospect in the MLB. In 2012 Bogaerts hit for a 307 average with 37 doubles, 20 HR 80 RBI and 71 runs splitting time with Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland. Bogaerts is considered by most to be “the” top prospect in the Bo-Sox farm system. He could very well find himself donning a Red Sox uniform in the near future, but for now we’ll see how this spring and the minors go.


OF Jackie Bradley Jr.: Bradley Jr. has been making a buzz in the Bo-Sox minor league system for his outstanding defensive abilities and his play at the plate is an attention grabber as well. In 2012 Bradley Jr. batted .315 with 42 doubles, nine HR, 63 RBI, and 90 runs splitting time between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland like Bogaerts. Keith Law has Bradley Jr ranked as the 40th best prospect in the majors and 2nd among Red Sox prospects.

Bradley is expected to begin the season in Double-A Portland with a possible promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket by seasons end. Depending on the future of Jacoby Ellsbury (who is a free agent at seasons end) Bradley Jr. may be coming up faster than expected.

Photo courtesy

SS Deven Marrero: Marrero is making history with the Red Sox, as it marks the first time since the 1991-1992 season in which the Sox invited Scott Hatteberg to Spring Training after drafting him the year before.

Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington, was quoted on the decision and said while they normally don’t invite recent draftee’s they felt given the scouting history with Marrero and watching him perform at multiple levels in the game, he wanted to get Marrero familiar with their major league staff.

Marrero hit .268 with 45 runs and 26 stolen bases in 64 games with Single-A Lowell last year. Marrero, of course, has a ways to go before being called up. Nevertheless, he is certainly a prospect to keep track of in the near future.

Other players to watch this Spring include: SS Jose Iglesias, INF Pedro Ciriaco, P Allen Webster, P Rubby De la Rosa, OF Daniel Nava (who has been fielding balls at 1B in practices), and C Ryan Lavarnway.

Nava, Lavarnway, Iglesias, and more recently (last year) Ciriaco have had success in platoon/backup roles for the Red Sox and could see more games this season. Webster and De la Rosa (both acquired in the Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez deal with LA) could and should work their way into the starting rotation at some point in the season.

Side note on Iglesias: His timeframe for earning a starting role at SS or 2B is dwindling. With recently signed SS Stephen Drew being the Sox everyday guy, and  up and comers Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero in his rear view mirror, Iglesias is in a bit of a pressure cooker to perform.

Final Thoughts: Spring Training is always chock-full of interesting developments and has produced a plethora of players who have become household names today. It will be interesting to see how these and many other invitees perform for the Red Sox in the weeks to come. Who do you think will shine this Spring? Leave a comment below.

Recap of the Red Sox Winter Meetings Moves

The Boston Red Sox broke out their checkbooks last week, and made some off-season deals that didn’t break the bank. The Bo-Sox came away with three players in the 2012 Winter Meetings held in Nashville.

Boston signed free agents Mike Napoli (catcher/first base), Shane Victorino (outfielder), and Koji Uehara (reliever). These moves will help to bolster some of the holes on the roster. Here’s a breakdown of what each player brings to the team:

Done Deals:

Mike Napoli: The Sox signed Nap to a three year deal worth 39 million dollars. Napoli batted .227 with 24 HR and 56 RBI in 2012. He brings flexibility, as he can play either catcher or first base, as well as a solid bat in the lineup for Boston. Which position he will spend more time at, depends on what Boston plans to do with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. If they trade Salty, Napoli would likely become the starter at catcher. If they rotate Nap and Salty, expect to see Nap on first some nights and Salty behind the plate. At age 31, Napoli brings veteran experience and a clubhouse presence. Something the Sox could certainly use.

Shane Victorino: The Sox also inked Victorino to a three year-39 million dollar deal. Victorino batted .255 with 11 HR and 55 RBI in 2012. His numbers were down from 2011 (.279 AVG, 17 HR, 61 RBI) however, Victorino is a veteran outfielder who offers years of experience and is well known for being active in community work around the city in which he plays for. Boston most likely looks at Napoli and Victorino (along with Jonny Gomes) as guys who can come in and set an example for the rest of the team. Victorino will mainly offer another bat to the lineup, and if his numbers have an uptick in 2013, he could prove to be a smart move by the Sox when it’s all said and done.

Koji Uehara Koji Uehara #19 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 26, 2011 in Anaheim, California.

Koji Uehara: The Sox and Uehara agreed to terms on a one year- 4.25 million dollar deal. Uehara was regarded as one of the best relievers last year playing for the Texas Rangers. Uehara posted a 1.75 ERA with a 0.64 WHIP with 43 strikeouts in 36 innings of work in 2012. At 37, Uehara brings a veteran arm to an already solid bullpen. This was a nice, inexpensive move by Boston.

Less is More: Total Money Spent at the 2012 Winter Meetings: 82.25 million dollars. Which isn’t bad considering how much money Boston dropped in 2011 (roughly over 300 million dollars) and we all saw how that panned out. Maybe “Less is More” will actually be true for the 2013 Red Sox.

Final Thoughts:What Red Sox fans should take away from these deals is this. The Red Sox are trying to piece together a balance of talent and character in what is the first of many building blocks to rebuilding this team. Napoli, Victorino, and Uehara will help mold the foundation, but the Sox still need a few more pieces before they can begin constructing a house.

What do you think? Did the Sox make the right moves in this year’s meetings? What would your next move be if you were Ben Cherington? Leave a comment below.

Surprise! Another Sh*t Signing For Red Sox

In other news over the weekend, the Red Sox signed John Maine. Pretty upset I even have to write this article. It’s more or less the same as this blog or this blog, but even more frustrating. John Maine hasn’t even pitched in the majors since May 2010.

Even though they only signed him to a minor league contract, its another move from the organization I don’t agree with. I may just be frustrated with this move because I always thought this guy could “break out” for my fantasy baseball team and just never broke out. Year after year and waiver wire pickup after waiver wire pickup he would let me down.  He was a decent pitcher for a couple years, but that was back in ’06 and ’07. He’s been plagued by injuries throughout his career and has had his most troubles since shoulder surgery in 2010.

Maine had a stellar 7.43 ERA in the minors last year until he quit the team in June, saying he might retire. Stay hot Ben Cherington, yet another supergood transaction.

This article can be summed up pretty easily: John Maine is not the solution for the Red Sox pitching problems. They really need to stop wasting time trying to bring in guys like John Maine and make a serious attempt at fixing their rotation.

Limp Wrist: Crawford gets Surgery

Yesterday, Ben Cherington announced that Carl Crawford had surgery on his injured left wrist. This comes as a huge blow to the Red Sox. All hopes were that Crawford would turn around his horrible performance last year and come into this year as a new man. Clearly not the case, and he is most likely not going to be ready at the start of the season. The Sox need to address the issue in outfield immediately. Luckily, they were able to avoid arbitration with Jacoby and sign him to a one year contract, which was a step in the right direction. Not much else to say about Crawford though, besides the fact he has been a total dissapointment since his signing, lets hope he doesn’t turn out to be J.D. Drew in disguise during these next six years we have with him.

“Carl! So nice to see you!”- Wish i could say the same Billy, I really do.


Case Closer: Sox Land Bailey From A’s

Today, the Red Sox finalized the deal that landed closer Andrew Bailey and right fielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland A’s for Josh Reddick and two boom-or bust Single A minor leaguers. All signs point to a great move by Ben Cherington and the Sox organization.

Bailey fills up the void at closer left by Jonathan Papelbon. I like this move because a.) Daniel Bard will be able to begin the transition to shore up the starting rotation and b.) Mark Melancon can move into a setup role that I think he is better suited (due to his non-overpowering repertoire). Bailey was the 2009 Rookie of the Year and has had some injury problems in the past, but the organization thinks they won’t affect him in the future. (After our luck last year with pitching injuries, lets knock on wood for this one). Let’s hope this guy can deal with the pressures of Boston a little better than Byung-Hyun Kim.

I loved Josh Reddick.  He displayed the same grit and hardnosed play in right field that hadn’t been seen since Trot Nixon or Gabe Kapler. Hate to see the guy go after his successful job filling in for Nancy Drew last year. That being said, his Average and OBP were nothing special. Sweeney had pretty similar numbers against right-handers (both were primarily platoon outfielders against righties). Also, Sweeney is supposed to be a better fit in Fenway because he can spray a lot more hits off the monster instead of the pull-happy Reddick. Lastly, this trade opens up the position for Ryan Kalish, who looked like a great player for the future in the last two months of 2010 (before missing last year with shoulder surgery).

Should be interesting from here seeing what the Sox do to the roster in the last months before spring training. Considering the Sox now have a pretty inexpensive bullpen, look for them to spend some money for another starter to join the squad (Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, Edwin Jackson have all been rumored). Also, possibly a right fielder, most likely one for platooning against left-handed pitchers (possibly Cuban Yoenis Cespedes?).