Wow, have things changed in Bean Town. Five of their eight defensive positions will feature new starters in 2010 over opening day of 2009. It still looks like a solid team, but one has to wonder if they have enough offense. The Yankees got better, so the Sox may be left to compete for the American League Wild Card spot again. Since a number of their stars are in the final year of their contracts, one has to wonder if this is an on the fly rebuild project.
The big minus for the Sox this time around seems to be the loss of Jason Bay. He more than filled the hole left by Manny Ramirez, but he is gone and no run producer was signed to replace him. The flip side of this argument is the Sox defense may be a lot better in 2010. Instead of trying to score a lot of runs this club looks like they will try to prevent their opponents from scoring runs. New additions CF Mike Cameron, and 3B Adrian Beltre are the keys to that strategy.
In the starting rotation, the Sox have two issues that are really one. The first is what to do with Tim Wakefield. It seems that Clay Buchholz has secured one of the starting five spots, and Sox Manger Terry Francona doesn’t want to use Wakefield in the bullpen. Since he also doesn’t want to be a spot starter he will have to wait out some more Daisuke Matsuzaka drama. If Dice-K struggles in spring training he will be relegated to the bull pen and Wakefield we take his spot. If not Wakefield may be the odd man out in Boston.
In the end it seems the Sox pitching is strong enough to insure another trip to the post season. Of course that will likely come via the Wild Card, but once the post season starts, it may be time for another ring in bean town.
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