Give Wally something to cheer about (Getty Images)
The 2011 Red Sox crash landed in the final frames; chicken and beer seldom break anyone's fall. The 2012 Olde Town Team was a beat-the-traffic special, dead in the water before high tide.
Last year's messy results speak for themselves. Boston finished dead last in the AL East (69-93), its first basement tape since 1992. The offense didn't score (734 runs, worst showing in two decades), the pitchers couldn't get people out (4.72 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 190 homers allowed), and too many players couldn't stay healthy. If you came to Fenway Park in the summer, you were there for the park, the atmosphere or the opponent. (I attended one game and spent three innings in the concession area talking Fantasy Football with my buddy Cuozzo. So it goes. We love ya, Cooz.)
While Pennant Fever did not grip The Hub last year, there was a critical "adieu" moment. Boston's unmistakable 2012 highlight came in the transaction log, not on the field. The Red Sox shipped Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford - and their bloated contracts - to the Dodgers in late August, getting a collection of fringe players back. It's the largest salary dump in sports history, Boston's version of turning off the video game and starting over.
The Red Sox quickly put the liquidation savings into play, landing a handful of notable free agents over the winter (Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, and eventually Mike Napoli). Boston also traded for a new closer (Joel Hanrahan), and welcomed in a new manager (John Farrell; we'll miss the Bobby Valentine punchlines). Lesser signees included reliever Koji Uehara, hacking OF/DH Jonny Gomes and support catcher David Ross.
Yes, the 2013 roster will be different, and that's a welcome thing. But will the team be any good? Keep in mind most of the new acquisitions are coming off down years, and/or have injury baggage tied to them. Do we want to get fantasy-invested in these chaps? Chowder Up and let's mind our Ps and Qs . . .Read More »from Pressing Questions: The Boston Red Sox