No one can declare these Sox are better than the 2011 version. Their rotation hasn't been demonstrably upgraded, their bullpen will be without at least one key component and there are enough looming intangibles related to last year’s implosion to cloud just how good this team will be.Tim Britton (Providence Journal) asks three questions - rotation, shortstop, right field - and notes that the club has been more concerned about changing attitudes than personnel:
The powers that be on Yawkey Way have placed a lot of faith in the notion that a couple of tweaks were all that were needed to cure the 2011 team. As the Sox look to end a two-year playoff drought, we all will discover if their faith was justified or blind.
Coming into 2012, it's about change and challenge. The Red Sox aren't embracing a change in roster so much as a hopeful one in attitude, with hunger and conviction slated to replace hype and complacency. There are legitimate questions regarding the constitution of the lineup, the rotation and the players' mindsets.Ian Browne (mlb.com) also has three questions: rotation, shortstop, Carl Crawford. Browne projects both Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves to be in the rotation. While an official decision has not been made, Bard spent the winter building up his endurance and arm strength. "I've been throwing a lot and everything feels great. This is what I want to be doing."
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston is asking "10 Questions in 10 Days". Number 4 is: "Will the 'pen survive without Pap?" The others dealt with the rotation, outfield, and shortstop.
ESPN's Buster Olney called David Ortiz "a dinosaur" and talked about a change of philosophy throughout the American League when it comes to DHs:
There's no question that there's a real shift in philosophy that's been going on around the Red Sox, around baseball. I think David Ortiz is a dinosaur — he'll be one of the last guys where you'll see a team devote a lot of money to someone to be a designated hitter. I think teams, for the most part, like to keep that position more flexible, to give injured guys rest.Finally, Herald columnist Gerry Callahan says the Red Sox need Josh Beckett to pitch well this season. Indeed. ... Beckett (and the Truck!) arrived in Fort Myers this morning.