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Original Issue

5 Boston Red Sox

Enemy Lines


John Farrell is very player-oriented, more put-your-arm-around-'em than get-in-their-face. A contrast from Bobby V.... They have to be concerned about Mike Napoli's hips, but they don't have to catch him that much. Play him at first, keep him standing and let him swing the bat. One thing though: In Texas, Napoli had a lot of power to right center. Fenway plays a little bigger in right center.... Will Middlebrooks is a big key for them. He has power, a prototype third baseman. He might be a young Scott Rolen type.... I like Shane Victorino when he doesn't have to be the leadoff guy or hit for power. When he doesn't try to hit home runs, he's a good player.... Mike Carp is a gap-to-gap hitter with some power. With him and Jonny Gomes in leftfield, they could have a decent platoon.... Ryan Dempster is a warrior. He'll make all his starts and get to the seventh inning. And he might be able to help Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront improve.... John Lackey's velocity is down—it's 88 to 91—but he's throwing strikes and he looks a lot thinner.... I don't think Joel Hanrahan has the mental makeup of Jonathan Papelbon, but I think they'll start out with him as the closer over Andrew Bailey.... A key guy in the bullpen will be Koji Uehara. He just knows how to mess up bat speeds, never walks anybody. A very underappreciated player.... I really like their outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. Not a power guy, not really a burner, but decent enough to hit at the top of the lineup one day.

The Lineup

2013 Projected Statistics


First season with the Red Sox




The K Meter

Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank

BY HITTERS | 19.4% | 12TH

BY PITCHERS | 18.9% | 20TH

Best Case

Dempster and Farrell reinvigorate the staff, and call-ups Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts ignite hope for '14.

Worst Case

Victorino, Drew and Napoli continue their career declines; back-to-back last-place finishes for the first time since 1930.

Ben Reiter has more on the Red Sox at

Modest Proposal

For the second straight off-season the Red Sox dipped into the trade market in their search for a replacement for departed closer Jonathan Papelbon, dealing reliever Mark Melancon to the Pirates for Joel Hanrahan. Boston now has three one-inning righthanded relievers with closer experience: Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and Koji Uehara, whom they signed as a free agent. Manager John Farrell has an opportunity to break from closer-centric mold. The three hurlers are roughly equal in quality—in fact, Hanrahan's high walk rate (14% of batters faced last year) makes him the worst of the three. His edge on the other two is durability, but when healthy, Bailey and Uehara have both outpitched him. Uehara may be the steal of the winter, coming off a year in which he struck out 43 batters and walked three for the Rangers. His career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.97 to 1 is the best ever for anyone with at least 31 innings. Farrell should embrace his depth and escape the tyranny of the save rule in deciding who pitches when.



Mike Napoli