The Boston Red Sox went through some major changes over the last year. Some good, some bad and some just… meh. They unloaded some dead weight — Josh Beckett and his bad attitude, Carl Crawford and his bad contract and Adrian Gonzalez and his bad luck (as collateral damage.) Needless to say, the 2013 Opening Day line up is going to look a lot different from 2012 with only four players returning for the starting nine.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: He will most likely bat lead off as his did last year. That’s only if he doesn’t sprain his earlobe in spring training or catch a hangnail during warmups.
- Shane Victorino, RF: Newly signed Victorino makes the most sense for the #2 spot. Dustin Pedroia held this spot last year, but with the addition of the speedy “flyin’ Hawaiian,” he may be better suited further down in the order.
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B: He’s proved himself to be an offensive asset and has surprising power for a guy of his stature. He has a career .303 batting average with a .830 OPS. Last year, the #3 spot belonged to the departed Adrian Gonzalez.
- David Ortiz, DH: Big Papi will once again commandeer the clean up spot. Let’s just hope that achilles can hold up and David can pick up where he left off last season before he went down with the bum heel.
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B: The position stays the same, just the personel has changed. Middlebrooks takes over full time at the hot corner after the somewhat rancorous departure of Kevin Youkilis.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: Salty takes over the #6 spot from Ryan Sweeney who was allowed to go to free agency following an unspectacular year.
- First Base?: With the Mike Napoli deal in limbo, could Mauro Gomez start the season at first base? Or will they continue to search for a more seasoned first baseman if the Napoli contract crumbles. If Napoli does end up in Boston, I imagine he’ll bat a little higher up in the order — probably 5th. In 2012, the recently departed Cody Ross held this spot in the line up.
- Left Field?: Do the Sox see Jonny Gomes starting the season guarding the Green Monster? Or Ryan Kalish? This one baffles me. Salty batted #8 to start last season.
- Stephen Drew, SS: Drew replaces last year’s shortstop Mike Aviles at the end of the order. Needless to say, my excitement level for this position is very low. I’m begging this guy to prove me wrong.
Well, 2013 should be an interesting year. There were some big holes to fill over the off season in this line up and I’m not feeling too confident that the new acquisitions are going to get them where they need to be. I’m not sure I can handle a “rebuilding year” so someone needs to do something really sparkly or that’s exactly what we’re going to get.