Red Sox Poised To Become The First Repeat Champion Since 2000

spring training As spring training opens up, the Boston Red Sox will attempt to become to the first repeat  World Series champion in 14 years. The last team to repeat as champions were the New York Yankees when they won three titles  from 1998-2000. The Sox know the road won’t be easy, but the team will be highly motivated with leaders like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedoria.

The long, winding road began for the Red Sox on February 15, when pitchers and catchers officially reported to Fort Myers, Fla. The rest of the position players reported on February 18. Here are the things you need to know heading into spring training.

 First official spring training game 

February 28: Twins at Red Sox in Fort Myers, at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, 1:05 p.m. eastern

 Opening Day 

March 31: Red Sox at Orioles, 3:05 p.m. eastern

 Projected starting lineup

1. LF Daniel Nava:
.303 BA, .385 OBP, .445 SLG, 12 HR, 66 RBI in 2013
2. 2B Dustin Pedoria:
.301 BA, .372 OBP, .415 SLG, 9 HR, 84 RBI in 2013
3. DH David Ortiz:
.309 BA, .395 OBP, .564 SLG, 30 HR, 103 RBI in 2013
4. 1B Mike Napoli:
.259 BA, .360 OBP, .482 SLG, 23 HR, 92 RBI in 2013
5. C A.J. Pierzynski:
.272 BA, .297 OBP, .425 SLG, 17 HR, 70 RBI in 2013
6. RF Shane Victorino:
.294 BA, .351 OBP, .451 SLG, 15 HR, 61 RBI in 2013
7. 3B Will Middlebrooks:
.227 BA, .271 OBP, .425 SLG, 17 HR, 49 RBI in 2013
8. SS Xander Bogaerts:
.250 BA, .320 OBP, .364 SLG, 1 HR, 5 RBI in 2013
9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr.:
.189 BA, .280 OBP, .337 SLG, 3 HR, 10 RBI in 2013

 Projected starting pitching rotation

1. Jon Lester, 15-8, 3.75 ERA in 2013
2. Clay Buchholz 12-1, 1.74 ERA in 2013
3. John Lackey 10-13, 3.52 ERA in 2013
4. Jake Peavy, 12-5, 4.17 ERA in 2013
5. Felix Doubrant, 11-6, 4.32 ERA in 2013

 Meet the new faces of the Red Sox

C A.J. Pierzynski: Despite the fact that Pierzynski has been a controversial player throughout locker rooms during his career, he is still viewed as one of the best catchers in all of baseball. Last season as a Texas Ranger, Pierzynski had an average of .272 with 17 home runs and 72 RBIs.  The Red Sox wouldn’t have signed Pierzynski if they had any worry that he would mess up the team’s chemistry.

RHP Edward Mujica:  Mujica struggled down the stretch last season with the St. Louis Cardinals and he lost his closer job last September. Some say the 29-year-old was fatigued at the end of the season and that’s why he was a non-factor in the postseason. If Mujica can return back to the reliever he was earlier on last season, the Red Sox quite possibly could have the best set-up and closer duo in all of baseball.

CF Grady Sizemore: It will be interesting to see if Sizemore’s body take the everyday pounding of a baseball season. If so, The Red Sox could have themselves an off-season steal. Sizemore is a former three-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.

INF Jonathan Herrera: Herrera was acquired in a trade from the Rockies for Franklin Morales. His versatility to play multiply infield positions will give the Red Sox a quality player coming off the bench late in games.

 Departures 

CF Jacoby Ellsbury: The Red Sox were unwilling to make a long-term commitment Ellsbury, who has been injury prone through his career. So the center-fielder signed with the rival New York Yankees for seven-years, $153 million.

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Saltalamachhia improved in his three years with the Red Sox, but manager John Farrell lost confident in the catcher during the World Series and he was benched. Saltalamacchia signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Miami Marlins during the off-season.

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