In response to SonicsMonksLyresVicars' comment:
My biggest concern by far is CF: JBJ is far from a sure thing in 2014, or ever really. SS worries me slightly, particularly as we have no one that can play the position should Bogaerts not pan out (unlikely, IMO) or get injured. And 3B is a concern too: which Midds is going to show up?
This is the defending champions, not some small-market team....3 unproven youngsters in key positions......
Remember, we played much of last year with 3 unproven youngsters in key positions:
JBJ started the season in CF.
Iggy played a lot at SS and then some at 3B.
Middy played a lot at 3B.
We also relied heavily on Workman and Britton for a stretch. And, Doubront is just a year older than some of these "youngsters". He pitched over 160 innings in 2013.
Here's a list of ages and 2013 innings of our youngsters:
25 Lava 164 at C
25 Holt 160 (152 at 3B, 8 at 2B)
24 Middy 811 (798 at 3B, 9 at 1B, 4 at 2B)
23 Iggy 531 (279 at 3B, 240 at SS, 12 at 2B)
23 JBJ 242 (146 in CF & 2 in RF)
20 Bogey 110 (53 at SS, 57 at 3B plus playoff innings at 3B)
I'm not trying to say 2014 is going to rely equally on youngsters; obviously we are going to rely more on them next year, but then again, they will be a year older and more experienced.
We had over 2,000 innings by the youngsters in 2013. We may not see Lava or Holt in 2014, and Iggy is gone.
If we get 1,000 innings each from Bogey, JBJ and Middy, it would just be a 50% increase over the total innings by youngsters in 2013.
One could argue that Middy is not a youngster anymore as he turns 26 next season and has over 620 professional games. Bogey looks to be a very mature youngster, so I'm not too worried about him wilting under the Boston spot light. JBJ seems like the only "raw talent" out there as a FT'er, although I certainly can see 2 or 3 of these guys struggling in 2014.
This is another reason I'd like to see us get 2 more players:
1) A veteran defensive SS. He could play late innings as a defensive replacement that would also allow Bogey some rest, so he could start more games. This wpick-up would also provide insurance against a bad season by Middy, as we could slide Bogey to 3B and start the vet at SS.
2) A good defesnive CF'er who can hit lefties very well (like Ruggiano?). This could take some pressure of JBJ, if he struggles out of the gate. It could end up being a platoon, if JBJ struggles only against LHPs (which is more likely than struggling vs RHPs).
I know I have suggested trading Gomes or Carp, and we almost have to if we get a CF'er, unless that CF'er can start in AAA. I have also suggested trading Dempster or Peavy to free up budget space for this winter and or next July, but there is no rush to do that.
I'd look to trade Gomes, but I think it will be Carp (if anyone) for that CF'er or SS. Then, I'd try and trade some blocked prospects like Coyle, Butler, or maybe Alex Wilson or Steven Wright, or 2 or more of these guys for a decent back-up SS or platoon type CF'er.
It's nothing major.
On the major front, I would kick the tire on Tanaka. If we win the bidding war, we could deal Peavy and or Dempster and still be under the budget limit, while strengthening the here and now as well as our future rotation outlook. I think this kid is the real deal.
That being said, I have no issues with what Ben has done so far. I'd prefer Salty at $21M/3 over AJ Pierzynski, but the one year deal has its advantages. I love the Mujica signing, and Badenhop might raise some eyebrows as well.
Yes, losing Ellsbury will hurt badly. His speed should not be underestimated, but the guy was our 9th best OPS guy in 2013. There's no way he was worth even close to $153M. Losing Drew will hurt our SS defense, but Bogey could easily outhit what our SSs gave us in 2013.
I know we cannot expect perfect health in 2014. We had pretty good luck with inkuries in 2013, despite the loss of Buch for much of the season, but here's a positive outlook on 2014:
2013 Position and positional OPS/ 2014 positive (perhaps "pink glasses" outlook)
C .787 / AJ P had an OPS of .773 from '12 to '13 (Salty: .774)
1B .841 / Napoli has a 3 year trend of big years: '08 .960, '11 1.046, &'14?)
2B .786 / Pedey will be 30 in '14. He had OPS over .860 3 times from '08-'11
3B .683 / '12 Middy shows up (.835), but even the '13 Middy (.696) is better.
SS .771 / Might be hard for a rookie SS to top .771, but with Bogey ...
LF .790 / Injuries forced the planned Nava/Gomes platoon off schedule as
they only started in LF 121 games. If we can stick to a true L/R
platoon, take a look at these 2010-2013 splits:
Vs RHPs: .833 Nava
Vs LHPs: .874 Gomes
CF .774 / I doubt JBJ tops .774, but if we pick up a nice platoon CF'er maybe close.
RF .786 / More games by Shane (.801) could raise this number.
DH .958 / Papi may decline, but it's not a stretch to hope for a 4th straight .950+
PH .923 / This will be hard to duplicate, but with Gomes or Nava & Carp...
It's not likely all these good things will happen at once, but we don't need all of them to occur at once.
The pitching staff looks better on paper:
1) A full season of Buch
2) A full season of Peavy
3) Full seasons from Workman and Britton
4) Full seasons from Morales and Miller
5) Full season of Uehara as the closer
6) No Hanrahan, Bailey or Aceves as closers and whatever
7) Add Mujica
8) Add Badenhop
9) Several good prospects banging on the door:
Webster, de la Rosa, Ranaudo, Barnes, Hinojosa & maybe even Owens
Again, 100% health is not going to happen, but with the depth of this team, I think we can handle injuries better than almost every other MLB team.