Welcome to No Negativity Week, where we try to find good in Red Sox

Welcome to No Negativity Week, where we try to find good in Red Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We've beaten up on the Red Sox pretty thoroughly this winter, but at some point – picture Sonny hitting Carlo with his own shoe in The Godfather – you can only throw so many punches.

So welcome to No Negativity Week. We have hammered Red Sox ownership for hamstringing the front office financially, the front office for not thinking creatively about the roster, and the roster for not being good enough to compete in the American League East.

There's no need to expend more words on those subjects, so for one week, we're going to paint a Heath Ledger smile on our face and try to find the good in a team that objectively shouldn't be woeful.

The improvement of their young talent alone should be enough to overcome the loss of veterans like Justin Turner, Adam Duvall, and James Paxton. The defense already looks better. Alex Cora remains one of the most respected managers in baseball as he enters a walk year, and new pitching coach Andrew Bailey has overhauled the organization's approach, with promising early returns.

Outside of the Orioles, the rest of the division might not be as loaded as we think, especially with the Yankees staring at the extended absence of ace Gerrit Cole, the Blue Jays missing out on some of the biggest free agents, and the Rays facing the end of All-Star Wander Franco's career thanks to serious legal troubles in his native Dominican Republic.

Even if the Red Sox aren't realistic contenders to win the division, there's no reason they can't hang around the playoff race. Just last year, they hit the All-Star break only a game out of a wild card spot before a worthless trade deadline sent them over the falls. New chief baseball officer Craig Breslow was brought aboard to be more aggressive, and July will represent his opportunity to state a clear direction. Buy if you're in contention, sell if you're not. At least we'll know where they stand.

And we're starting to get a better idea of that in the big picture.

Exciting young center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela has been one of the revelations of camp, and it's starting to feel like the job is his to lose. The glimpses we've seen of top prospects Marcelo Mayer and Roman Anthony have done nothing to cool our enthusiasm over either of them.

Triston Casas is a sleeper All-Star poised for a monster season, while right-hander Brayan Bello may get the ball on opening day after signing a six-year extension. Despite our frustration over the team's refusal to spend until the young players arrive, they're getting closer, and giving us reasons for optimism.

So prepare for a week of Florida sunshine and what our buddy Dan Shaughnessy (get well soon!) would call "the full Roche" as we examine some positive storylines, whether it's the return of Trevor Story, the emergence of the next wave of talent, the hopes for a homegrown rotation, or even some of the concerns striking other camps within the division.

We haven't shied from negativity this winter, but it's time for a break. Vegas has the over/under for Red Sox wins right around last year's 78, and for one week, anyway, I'm here to say that sounds awfully low.