2022 record: 78-84, fifth in American League East
Offseason headlines: After a disappointing last-place finish, the Sox endured a tumultuous winter. They did lock up cornerstone 3B Rafael Devers (11 years, $331 million), but let popular SS Xander Bogaerts land a megadeal with the San Diego Padres. Boston also added a slew of veterans, including INF Justin Turner, OF Adam Duvall and RHP Corey Kluber — recently named the Opening Day starter — but those moves didn’t do much to appease a rabid fan base. The club made a big commitment — too big? — to Japanese star OF Masataka Yoshida (five years, $90 million). Fangraphs has him projected to hit over .300, and he excelled for Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
Spring storylines: On the bright side, the Sox shored up a suspect bullpen with proven veteran arms, headlined by closer Kenley Jansen. A 12-year veteran, the righty brings his career 0.94 WHIP to Boston after spending his career in the National League. Setting up Jansen will likely fall to newcomer Chris Martin. If Boston is to have any chance of rebounding, veteran lefty Chris Sale must stay healthy, which he hasn’t done in a while. The seven-time All-Star, who turns 34 on Opening Day, has logged just 57 1/3 innings since the end of the 2019 season. In the final year of his deal, Sale has plenty of incentive to prove he’s got something left in the tank. Sox fans have their eye on young righty Brayan Bello, who showed plenty of promise in 2022 and will get his chance to join a rotation in flux.
Young guns: Acquired in the Christian Vazquez trade, utility infielder Enmanuel Valdez went viral during spring training with side-by-side videos of his swing next to Juan Soto’s. RHP Bryan Mata, coming off Tommy John surgery in 2021, will likely debut this season after a solid Triple-A campaign. Ceddanne Rafaela is considered one of the minors’ most talented defensive outfielders and may be the Sox’s future center fielder.
Fall feeling: For a team with question marks, it doesn’t seem a postseason berth is in the cards. A lot must break their way, but the Sox could be playing meaningful September baseball if the stars align.
Odds, even: The Red Sox aren’t expected to contend in the AL East, with the fourth-best odds (+1500 at DraftKings). As for the World Series, the odds aren’t on their side, either (+6000 at FanDuel and DraftKings).