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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Filling the Hole at Third Base

October 22nd, 2014 at 3:04 PM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Filling the hole at third base:

We know who's on first and what's on second, but I don't know's on third. The classic Albert and Costello routine seems fitting for the Red Sox, who will enter next season with a huge question mark at the hot corner.

Will Middlebrooks was a disaster this season, hitting a baffling .191 and spending more time in the trainer's room than on the field. While he was never expected to compete for a batting title, nobody expected him to be this lost at the plate. Even if he couldn't hit for average, we expected him to at least produce some power. Instead, he managed only two home runs with a disappointing .265 slugging percentage that isn't much more than half of what he produced in his promising rookie season in 2012.

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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Filling Out the Starting Rotation

October 21st, 2014 at 11:42 AM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Filling out the starting rotation:

The Red Sox rotation underwent a drastic makeover mid-season when they traded away Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. That left the struggling Clay Buchholz as the only holdover from the rotation the team started the season with and he may have been shipped out of town too if he had a shred of value at the time. Boston filled out the rest of it's rotation by auditioning a collection of young pitchers to get a look at which ones showed enough potential at the big league level to earn a spot for next season or build trade value.

The young pitchers went through some growing pains and none of them were able to drastically separate themselves from the pack. Boston's rotation was decent through the first half of the season, combining to post a 4.09 ERA, but the starter's ERA rose to 4.93 after the trade deadline.

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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Sorting Out the Outfield

October 20th, 2014 at 11:43 AM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Sorting out the outfield:

The Red Sox outfield was one of the worst in the league offensively in 2014. They finished 27th in batting average (.249), 23rd in OBP (.313), and dead last in home runs (26). Yoenis Cespedes hit nearly that many home runs by himself, but most of those came in an Oakland A's uniform.

Boston started the season with the intention of using Shane Victorino in right field, reclamation project Grady Sizemore in center, and a platoon of Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes in left. Needless to say, that didn't work out. Victorino couldn't stay on the field, appearing in only 30 games before being shut down for the season. The Sizemore experiment never worked out and he was mercifully released in mid-June. Nava played his way back to Pawtucket after a miserable start and Gomes was shipped out of town at the trade deadline.

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Boston Red Sox Hire Chili Davis to Be Their New Hitting Coach

October 20th, 2014 at 10:15 AM
By Sean Penney

Improving an offense that dropped from being the best in the majors all the way down to 18th will be a priority for the Boston Red Sox this off-season, and they'll be bringing in a new hitting coach to help them do it. Sources have revealed to several media outlets that the team has hired former All-Star outfielder Chili Davis for the position.

Davis had previously been in the Red Sox organization as a hitting instructor for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in 2011. With his path to a major league coaching position blocked at the time, Davis left to spend the last three seasons as the hitting coach for the Oakland A's. Under his guidance, the A's finished 3rd in the AL in runs scored and 5th in OBP this season.

Davis will replace Greg Colbrunn, who elected not to return after spending two seasons in the position with the Red Sox. Colbrunn was hospitalized on June 4 after suffering a brain hemorrhage and missed 24 games this season while recovering. He cited a desire to spend more time with his family as a primary factor in his decision.

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Boston Red Sox Report Card: Edward Mujica

October 18th, 2014 at 12:00 PM
By Sean Penney

During the off-season we'll be taking a look back at key members of the Boston Red Sox roster to grade their performance from the 2014 season.

Edward Mujica
Grade: C+

The Red Sox signed Mujica to a two-year, $9.5 million deal last winter to bolster their bullpen and serve as insurance for Koji Uehara in the 9th inning. He saved 37 games the previous year for the St. Louis Cardinals and was named to the NL All-Star team, indicating he had the necessary experience to take over that role if anything were to happen to their 39-year old closer.

His Red Sox career got off to a rocky start when he took the loss in only his second appearance of the season, getting shelled for four runs by the Milwaukee Brewers. He ended up surrendering at least one run in 6 of his 10 April appearances, finishing the month with a brutal 10.00 ERA. Needless to say, the Red Sox could not have been thrilled with their investment early on and it would take some time before Mujica could be trusted again in a tight spot.

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