Have to wonder if dare I say we are in a "bridge year"? Having won an unexpected WS last year do we dare say this has allowed the RS to better position themselves for 2015 and beyond. While repeating is difficult in any league, could the RS do it this year? IMO everything would have to go about as well as last year and then some. The biggest loss will be Jacoby, JBJ will be fine defensively but I hate to say it the RS will really need him to develope offensively and become the leadoff hitter [by June 1]. We really don't have a lead off hitter on the team, if JBJ can get on base anywhere near as well as he did in minors and college and would be welcome addition atop the order, he won't steal the bases Ells did but could get on base more.
AJ will be fine replacing Salty. He will be a more consistent hitter than Salty who was very streaky. Should be an upgrade defensively, that plus the fact that Ross should get into more games this year the team is much improved behind the plate defensively.
Bogey should be fine at SS. While he won't be as good as Drew was last yr defensively, he could be a good upgrade offensively. This should balance out, but for the future this is the right move to make. Need to find out at some point if he can handle SS defensively.
IMO WMB will bounce back this year. While I'm not going w/ the 30+hr's 100rbi type yr. Would be happy w/ 25 hr's 80+rbi's 330 obp would be a good for me.
The bullpen will be improved even if Koji comes back to earth a bit. Mujica and Badenhop give RS some depth from RH side which we lacked 2nd half last year, and w/ Andrew Miller back healthy pen should be very much a strength and for me what will put them in the playoffs.
Really believe that a Workman or Raunado could become a fulltime member of the rotation by end of this year w/ Owens/Barnes becoming on the cusp pitchers as Workman did last yr.
While I can see RS making playoffs w/ about 91-94 wins, I think Tigers are going to WS this year only to lose to Cards. But then again I thought the RS would have a chance to make playoffs last yr but would lose in WC game. Maybe a repeat isn't so far fetched if everything goes our way AGAIN?
We do need a lot to go right again, but we could see by imrpovements over 2013 by Pedroia, Buchholz, Napoli, Middy, Ross, and Miller, plus a big year from a rookie or two.
I do think we will miss Ellsbury, but Victorino might do well, or if we use Nava/Gomes up first, we could see a better OBP from the leadoff slot thatn 2013 (.348).
I like our pitching staff better. The pen looks deeper.
I like our line-up:
8) AJ P
I'm expecting a prospect or two to shine this year- maybe de la Rosa, Webster, Workman, Britton, Ranaudo, Barnes, Owens, or Cecchini.
We also have about $10M to play with at the deadline; that's enough to get two quality players and still stay under the budget limit.
Agree w/ everything you said Moon. But IMO for RS to get back to WS or win AL East I think either JBJ or Sizemore is going to have to become that lead off hitter this lineup needs. Putting Nava/Gomes at lead off I'm ok to start yr to let Bradley or Sizemore get their feet under them, but for this team to suceed we can't have  plodders leading off, w/ Vic in #2 spot will limit his effectiveness on base paths as well. Vic has had a bad history leading off and to me this move makes multiple changes within heart of order [Pedroia back in 2 hole?] or maybe Bogey could even bat in the 1 or 2 spot in lineup? IMO this season for RS comes down to does one of these guys step up to become a productive leadoff hitter? Would be perfect storm if JBJ could take that job, but after rough start last year will take some time or succes at this level before that move can be made.