Amazing how I can still be excited about the Red Sox after an abysmal and heart wrenching season. But we as fans have plenty to look forward to in 2015. So, here’s a list of things I hope to see next year.
1. Jon Lester wearing a Red Sox uniform again. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think he looks good in the green and gold in Oakland. But he looks best in that jersey that reads, “Boston.” Boston is his home. It has been since he was drafted in 2002 and matured into the ace we all know and still love. The guy is a rare type. He’s a man I look up to, on and off the field. If you want class, look no further than Jon Lester. I still think the chances of him returning are really small, but they have steadily climbed in recent days. IF the Red Sox make an offer anywhere near what other teams offer, I know Jon will come home. The question is if the Red Sox are willing to pay for the homecoming.
2. Another established pitcher in the rotation (or two). James Shields comes to mind for me. He’s not having his best year, but the guy can pitch. We’ve seen him do it in Tampa. That being said, he’s been in the AL East and succeeded. And in his low 30’s already, the Sox could afford him and give him a smaller deal. (3 years would be a good estimation)
3. A full year of the new “big 3” in Ortiz, Cespedes, and Napoli. The power outage appears to be over now that we got Cespedes. I’m sure next year’s lineup will produce much more offense than this year’s. If Craig can come back strong, I expect a lot of damage to be done.
4. A final solution at third base. Middlebrooks just returned from his rehab stint in Pawtucket, but has only played one game since. Holt has occupied that position quite a bit in his career and as long as he keeps hitting, he’ll be in the lineup. I’m wondering if and when the Red Sox will pull the plug on Middlebrooks. This may be his last chance to prove he can be effective. If not, I assume Holt will man third next season and beyond.
5. Swihart and Owens. I’m most excited about these two guys (as in guys that haven’t played a major league game yet). Swihart has a ton of talent on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. It’ll be interesting to see what that means for Vazquez, as he’s been nothing less than brilliant in his short stint in Boston. Could one of them possibly be used as trade bait? I would expect so. Owens has some nasty stuff. He started the MLB futures game and did well in his short performance. He was just promoted to Triple A, so he’s obviously coming along well. I have a feeling he’ll be a big success in the future.
6. What to do with Clay Buchholz. He has talent. But he can’t harness it because he’s too inconsistent. Sure, he had a great start to the season last year. But what has it been since then? Horrid. He has the WORST ERA in the American League. I watched him give up 7 runs last night. And that was more than enough for me to give up on him. We’ll see what the Red Sox decide to do about him and his woes.
7. A winning record. Believe it or not, the 2012 Red Sox had 5 more wins and 7 fewer losses at this point in the season that year. That’s really frustrating. Hopefully, Ben and company have learned that sitting on your hands too long leads to a disastrous season waiting to happen. I have a feeling they won’t let that happen again. I expect a big offseason.