Scouting Report: Boston Red Sox

April 04, 2010|By Dan Connolly | dan.connolly@baltsun.com

For two straight years, the Boston Red Sox have watched one of their division rivals make it to the World Series. That doesn't sit well with an organization that won two world championships from 2004 to 2007.

So the Red Sox went free-agent fishing this offseason and attempted to fill their holes by spending roughly $125 million on five players, including a five-year, $82.8 million deal for right-hander John Lackey to strengthen their rotation.

Lackey joins Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield in one of baseball's best groups. That's scary for opponents who also have to face perhaps the game's top bullpen, led by closer Jonathan Papelbon.

If Boston has a weakness, it's the normally potent offense, which lost home run and RBI leader Jason Bay to the New York Mets in free agency. Boston needs David Ortiz to bounce back from a subpar 2009 by his standards and Victor Martinez, acquired in the middle of last season, to repeat his tremendous first two months with the Red Sox.

Still, the team as a whole is as good as any other in the American League, except perhaps its archrival, the New York Yankees.

Boston Red Sox
2009 record: 95-67 (second in AL East; AL wild-card winner)

2009 record vs. Orioles: 16-2

2010 estimated payroll: $170 million

Key additions: RHP John Lackey, 3B Adrian Beltre, CF Mike Cameron, SS Marco Scutaro, IF-OF Bill Hall, OF Jeremy Hermida

Key losses: OF Jason Bay, LHP Billy Wagner, OF Rocco Baldelli, 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Takashi Saito, IF Alex Gonzalez, IF Nick Green

Projected lineup: LF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B Dustin Pedroia, C Victor Martinez, 1B Kevin Youkilis, DH David Ortiz, RF J.D. Drew, 3B Adrian Beltre, CF Mike Cameron, SS Marco Scutaro

Projected rotation: LHP Jon Lester, RHP Josh Beckett, RHP John Lackey, RHP Tim Wakefield, RHP Clay Buchholz

Projected closer: RHP Jonathan Papelbon

2010 schedule vs. Orioles: At Fenway Park, April 23-25; July 2-4; Sept. 20-22. At Camden Yards, April 30-May 2; June 4-6; Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Outlook: More of the same for the Red Sox. Ninety-plus wins, a likely playoff berth and a departure before the World Series begins.

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