9. The Red Sox will not make the playoffs
You can see how a berth into the tournament in October might happen. Jacoby Ellsbury returns and resembles the force he was a season ago, Carl Crawford does stuff for the Red Sox he used to do against them, Adrian Gonzalez finds his power stroke. Dustin Pedroia gets healthy and hot, Papi keeps doing what he’s done all season, and the rotation stops underachieving while the bullpen continues to overachieve. That’s lot to ask. And with the Yankees and Rangers appearing to be postseason locks, the Angels the strong favorite for the first wild-card, the Tigers and White Sox bracing for an intriguing race in the Central, and the Rays have the pitching advantages over the Red Sox, it’s hard to see them now as a real contender. It’ll be a third straight year without a playoff game at Fenway.
The Red Sox front office’s biggest mistake of the offseason was not trading Josh Reddick or Jed Lowrie. It was letting the managerial search drag on and on, then once Bobby Valentine was hired in late November, it was magnified by saddling him with coaches he had no relationship with but management wanted to retain. It’s one thing for segments of players to have an issue with the manager – that happens in every clubhouse to some degree—but when there are cliques among the coaching staff, that doesn’t discourage dysfunction. It spawns it.