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2014 Outlook: Boston Red Sox

Jan 9, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

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2013 record: 97-65, 1st place in AL East
Manager: John Farrell, 2nd season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $164 million
Key additions: C A.J. Pierzynski, RHP Edward Mujica
Key losses: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Stephen Drew

Projected lineup
RF Shane Victorino
LF Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
SS Xander Bogaerts
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Will Middlebrooks
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

Projected rotation
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Ryan Dempster

Top relievers
CL Koji Uehara
RHP Edward Mujica
RHP Junichi Tazawa

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Can the kids adequately replace the veterans? It’s never easy replacing your shortstop or your center fielder. The Red Sox have done both after watching Jacoby Ellsbury bolt for a huge payday in New York and Stephen Drew also depart via free agency. Boston is banking on its two best prospects to fill the void: Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Bogaerts certainly made a name for himself in October at third base; now he moves to his natural shortstop position. Bradley Jr. was the darling of spring training 2013; now we find out if he can be an everyday center fielder in the big leagues.

2. How will the pitching staff work with A.J. Pierzynski? The other big roster change is behind the plate, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia now in Miami. Pierzynski’s reputation precedes him. He’s a very good offensive catcher and game-caller. He’s also baseball’s biggest pest, the kind of guy you absolutely despise if you’re playing against him. The Red Sox have some pretty large personalities on their pitching staff. It’s going to be very interesting to watch how they mesh with their new catcher.

3. Can they handle being the favorites again? The charm of the 2013 Red Sox was that they came out of nowhere, rebounding from a last-place finish under Bobby Valentine to win the World Series under John Farrell. They seemed to thrive under that underdog notion, but that won’t be their lot in life this year. They’re back to being the big, bad Red Sox, and that requires a different mindset.

  1. Jw - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    What, no mention of the beards?

  2. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Or helmet-kicking?

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I still consider AL East wide open.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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