BOSTON — While winter maintains its hold over us here in Massachusetts, down in Florida temperatures reached 80 Friday in the City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Red Sox are busy prepping for the new season.
And ahead of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener, the team’s optimism is high in the Sunshine State.
“[The mood is] certainly one of optimism and maybe to the point where it’s a little out of hand,” Boston Globe sports reporter Peter Abraham told Morning Edition. “The Red Sox had their annual team meeting before the first full workout of the spring over the weekend and one of the themes was managing expectations and not getting too far ahead of yourself.”
After last year’s disappointing showing — at least by the standards of Red Sox fans — Abraham says the mood in camp is different, in part due of the team’s new faces. Notably, in the offseason the Sox acquired All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
“You know bringing in two guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, they are two of the arguably 10 best players in baseball and it’s unusual when you get two players like that in one offseason,” Abraham said.
No big changes were made to the starting pitching staff, which is coming off a sub-par year. Abraham thinks Josh Beckett has something to prove and says odds are we won’t see a repeat of last year.
“Last year was the worst of [Beckett’s] career by any statistical measurement. It was also the same year that he signed a lucrative contract extension. So, for those two reasons alone he has a lot to prove.
“They aren’t making any changes to their starting rotation but what they’re banking on is history. The fact that Beckett and John Lackey have been very strong pitchers in the past and that last year was sort of an anomaly for both those guys and the odds are with the Red Sox that they’re going to bounce back to their usual levels.”
Abraham says the key to success this season is keeping the team healthy, something the Sox struggled with last year.
“I think the biggest thing for the Red Sox is just how all these guys bounce back from injuries and that the guys who reported healthy, you know, stay healthy,” Abraham said. “Because if they do all of the other parts are in place for a really memorable season, I think.”