The Boston Red Sox need bounce-back seasons from these four players if they are going to contend for the AL East crown in 2018.
With pitchers and catchers reporting, the Boston Red Sox have officially started their defense of the AL East title. Doing so will be much tougher this year, as the Red Sox face the threat of the New York Yankees and their stacked lineup.
They are also facing the challenge of reporting to camp with uncertainty looming about their roster. Dave Dombrowski’s reported offer of $110 million to J.D. Martinez hasn’t been enough, leaving the Red Sox without a power threat in the middle of the lineup. Additions will likely be made before the season begins, but it’s becoming increasingly uncertain if Martinez will be one of them.
Even though improving the roster is a priority for the front office, the players shouldn’t concern themselves with what they can’t control. The Red Sox are still returning the majority of a roster that won 93 games last season. While the lack of upgrades is enough to cause concern, the current roster has enough upside to win over 90 games again. However, winning the AL East for the third straight year would require some bounce-back performances.
As with any spring, the Red Sox will be testing players in various roles, with minimal concern about winning games. Spring training performances tend to be over-evaluated, as teams are more focused on development than results. That being said, there are a number of Red Sox who struggled in 2017 and need to start 2018 on the right foot.
The following players could end up playing a crucial role in the division race and are worth watching closely throughout Spring Training.