By Kevin Burke
Well, it’s that time of year again. That’s right: Red Sox spring training is underway as the fans get ready for the new season.
However, 2015 is unique in the way that fans don’t really know what to expect from the Sox this year.
Red Sox GM, Ben Cherington, certainly made a lot of big moves this offseason, but also made a huge misstep in the failure to resign Jon Lester.
So let’s take a moment to evaluate all of the new faces we’re going to be seeing come April.
Pablo Sandoval: This was a huge signing for us this offseason. Sandoval, of course, is famous for being a key member of each of the San Francisco Giants three World Series wins in the past five seasons. Some people say his regular season stats don’t quite live up to what he’s done in the playoffs, but hey, no one’s ever complained about being clutch. Panda will take over the much-needed spot at third base.
Hanley Ramirez: Hanley spent the last three seasons as a productive member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, some people think that Ramirez is likely past his prime. Hopefully his best years are still ahead of him. Ramirez will likely take over left field, in what’s sure to feel a lot like déjà vu.
Rusney Castillo: Rusney is our new centerfielder from Cuba that we signed during the end of last season. Castillo actually played in ten games last year, where he managed to hit two home runs and 6 RBI’s. So we can expect to see a lot more of this exciting new prospect come 2015.
Rick Porcello: Porcello is the pitcher we got in return for Yoenis Cespedes in our trade with the Tigers last year. Porcello is a decent starter, going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA in 2014, but the Sox are probably going to have to rely on him more than he’s used to, since he’s likely going to be our number-two starter this season.
Justin Masterson: Masterson returns to the Sox after being traded to Cleveland in 2009. He had an off year last season, after being an all-star in 2013, but will hopefully return to form this season in Boston.
But even with all of these new faces joining the Red Sox in 2015, losing out on Jon Lester to the Cubs still hurts. The Red Sox rotation will likely be under a lot of pressure all season long trying to make up for this front office failure.
Because of this, trade talks are still looming about possibly picking up LHP Cole Hamels from the Phillies. Hamels has stated that he no longer wants to play in Philadelphia, and he would be open to being traded to Boston, per Boston.com.
But either way, this season will likely rely on the production of the pitching staff. The offense is set up to perform well, after filling multiple holes in the lineup. Which means that the 2015 Red Sox are now either going to live or die, based on whether the pitching can perform and thrive under pressure.
Kevin Burke is a Comment staff writer.