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Curtis Granderson, a 40-homer guy, is entering his walk year and very motivated. Robinson Cano is one of the best overall players in the game. If DH Travis Hafner stays healthy, good luck pitching to the middle of the Yankees order.
And so you come to the conclusion: Is there any reason to pick the Red Sox anywhere but fifth place?
While baseball people believe the Red Sox have improved their team, they are hard-pressed to answer the question of which team will finish last. You get the anti-Yankee sentiment because of the age game, and some will insist the Orioles’ season was a fluke.
There is an advantage to low expectations, of course. As David Ortiz puts it, “It’s better to be the underdog.”
Las Vegas has the Sox’ over-under for wins at 79½, while PECOTA has them at 86 wins. Vegas isn’t wrong very often.
For the first time in a long time, there is really no pressure on this team. President/CEO Larry Lucchino referred to the Red Sox as “scrappy underdogs” which might be the case, though I must admit, I’ve never heard a team with a $170 million payroll described that way.
The low expectations allow them to fail and still build hope that the future is bright with Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes, Deven Marrero and their other good-looking young players. The Sox could trade some of their acquisitions at midseason and perhaps pick up extra draft picks.
For the team’s sake, the young players they’re protecting had better be good. They’ve been hyped as much as any crop of Red Sox youngsters in recent memory.
The worst of times appear to be over. But are better times here?
Hard to find the answers at Camp Low Expectations.