Santa Pays A Visit to the Sox Over Break
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 10, 2013 17:02
While we may have all been on break the Red Sox certainly have not been. Cherrington did not just light up the hot stove, he blew it wide open by putting the money freed up by the trading three stooges (Beckett, Crawford, and Gonzalez) and spent nearly every last cent on rebuilding a Sox team that badly needs help in 2013.
Mike Napoli: The Sox got one of their most coveted players in signing Mike Napoli to play first base for the 2013 season. Let’s just hope that the Sox got Napoli before his expiration date, or else this could be a long season. The Sox traded away Adrian Gonzalez in August, say what you want but he may be the game’s best hitter right now, and swiped Napoli from the Rangers to fill in that very empty spot in the order. At the age of 30 Napoli may be set up for a downward spiral to the end of his career, but he still has a lot of baseball left in him. At his best he could be a key piece in the order, and at his worst well let’s just say he compliments Jarrod Saltalamacchia quite nicely.
Ryan Dempster: Let’s not kid ourselves, Dempster was not signed to lead the staff with as the ace with the most Cy Young awards. Lester is still the undisputed ace (no complaints from me), but Dempster goes a long way to improve a dying clubhouse chemistry. Somehow the Sox lost the team bonding that produced a band of idiots and the bullpen band. Dempster carries himself like a professional and takes the game of baseball extremely seriously in his approach, yet he loves to have fun and entertain his teammates and the fans. Dempster has heart, which is something the Sox lost a while ago.
Stephen Drew: Oh gosh, another Drew! No, Stephen is quite different than his rather frail yet extremely gifted older brother Nancy, I mean JD, Drew. Drew brings a bit more personality than JD (although so would a Fenway Frank), and a
heck of a lot more heart. Many may point to his missing a good portion
of the 2011 and 2012 season—well you would too if your ankle was
shattered. Before the injury he averaged about 150 games a season, and brought a batting average around .270 -.300 while mashing 10+ homers and 10+ triples four seasons in a row. He isn’t a star player, but he’s a great shortstop and will do very well at the bottom of the Sox’ order and may be able to fill in when Ellsbury goes down with another freak injury.
Shane Victorino: What can I say, I’ve always liked Victorino. He plays hard, is an excellent defender, and a pretty fair hitter. Sure he’s not a Josh Hamilton, but if there is someone to cover the football stadium that is right field in Fenway, Shane is the guy. Victorino has been declining a bit as of late, but he is still the productive player who terrorized the NL East with the Phillies. Like many of the players the Sox acquired, Victorino is a positive clubhouse presence and a fun guy to watch both on and off the field.
Joel Hanrahan: Cherington brought in the former closer from Pittsburgh to the Sox in early January. Hanrahan has come to life of late, posting a sub 3.00 ERA and 30+ saves over the past two years. With the addition of Hanrahan the Sox now have two closers (Andrew Bailey being the other) and Daniel Bard, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara as the setup men/late inning relief options. Out of all the facets of the team, the bullpen is the biggest upgrade this offseason and will go a long way to improving the Sox in 2013.
While the Sox clearly did not get any star talent, they did go a long way in sanitizing a toxic clubhouse atmosphere. They brought back the hunger to win, and maybe a little bit of idiocy too. While the Sox go into the 2013 season heavily underrated I think they stand a good chance, not just because they are improved from last year, but because they are a team that has something to prove and wants to win.