Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 8, 2014
If all goes well, the season will end in early November with a second consecutive duck boat parade through the streets of Boston and a nice float down the Charles River.
Although a number of players, including Jon Lester, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and others, are already working out at JetBlue Park, pitchers and catchers are not due until February 14 and the first full squad practice is not until the 20th.
After a full slate of games in the Grapefruit League—including the ever important Mayor’s Cup with crosstown rival Minnesota Twins—the Red Sox open the 2014 season at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles before getting their World Series rings at Fenway against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It has been a long winter.
Between the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to the New York Yankees via free agency to the heartbreaking news of Curt Schilling’s cancer diagnosis, for the casual fan, it looks like this has been a disappointing offseason.
The casual fan would be wrong.
The Red Sox added depth to the bullpen with the acquisitions of Burke Badenhop from Milwaukee and Edward Mujica from the St. Louis Cardinals. Mujica brings valuable experience as a backup closer if something happens to Koji Uehara.
Mike Napoli is back for two more years at first base. Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino are healing well after thumb surgery. David Ortiz is slimmer and is as slender as he has ever been as an adult.
The Red Sox have as many as nine of the top 100 prospects in baseball on display this spring. Xander Bogaerts is the consensus pick as the No. 2 prospect and will be a full-fledged rookie with the big club all year. With the Sox farm system loaded with draft talent, Bogaets figures to be the first of many soon-to-be-household names playing on the diamonds of Fort Myers this March.
Are their questions coming into 2014? Sure.
What is Middlebrooks future if Stephen Drew does re-sign? With essentially rookies starting at shortstop and center field, do the Red Sox have enough depth of Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. struggle out of the gate? Who is the odd man out of the starting pitching rotation between Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and Brandon Workman? Are the New York Yankees improved enough to be a factor?
Over the next eight month, the answer to those questions and others we have not yet thought of to ask will be answered.
Here is something to keep in mind, however, as you look to grab one of those spiffy new road jersey’s. With the exception of losing stolen base ability, this is the same club that won the World Series last year.
You know they are going to contend. Lets see how far they can go.
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- Ben Cherington Discusses 2014 Boston Red Sox Outline
- Boston Red Sox Open 2014 in Baltimore on ESPN2, NESN
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