FORT MYERS, Fla.—After suffering sweeping losses in last year’s Division Series, the Boston Red Sox, AL East champs, look to secure their ninth World Series championship victory in 2017.
The Sox had an eventful off-season, acquiring five-time All-Star pitcher Chris Sale, who has a 3.04 ERA, in a “blockbuster” trade with the Chicago White Sox. The Sox also replaced David Ortiz, whose number will be retired later this year, with 31-year-old Mitch Moreland. Moreland signed on for a one-year, $5.5 million contract. Though Moreland will have an opportunity to prove his worth, Hanley Ramirez is expected to take over DH this season.
The likes of pitcher Drew Pomeranz and first baseman Sam Travis will return from injured status, with Pomeranz feeling well after receiving a stem-cell shot to repair his left elbow. Travis, who tore his ACL May 31, is expected to return to the pitch in early May.
Fans should watch for MLB’s No. 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi, who finished the 2016 regular season with a .295 average, 16 runs scored from one stolen base, two home runs and 14 RBIs. Though some regression is expected in the absence of Papi, whose skill was responsible for the team’s scoring of 101 more runs than any other in the AL, young players provide the team with a level of depth that suggests opportunity for postseason play in the coming seasons.
Spring training begins Feb. 13, when catchers and pitchers are to report to JetBlue Park.