It’s that time of the year. It seems like more, but it’s only been 84 days since the Kansas City Royals got five runs in the top of the twelfth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series to go ahead of the Mets, 7-2. When Wade Davis then came in to pitch the last of the twelfth for the Royals and struck out the side while allowing just a single to Mets left fielder Mike Conforto, baseball was over until 2016.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been anything going on in baseball to keep our interest. The Red Sox signed David Price, one of the best left handed starting pitchers in baseball and possibly the best in the American League. They traded some prospects for one of the best closers in baseball, Craig Kimbrel and also got Carson Smith from the Seattle Mariners to give their bull pen even more depth, giving up just Jonathan Aro, a right handed pitcher of questionable ability and left handed starter Wade Miley who was one of just too many left handed starters on the roster. They also signed Free Agent outfielder Chris Young who hit .252 with the Yankees last year.
Some Red Sox fans may think that these moves were sufficient make the Sox a pennant winner in 2016. Other fans may wonder why the Sox have not gone after another high profile pitcher or infielder and why they haven’t dumped Hanley Ramirez instead of making him into a first baseman. Based on his performance in left field last year, putting him at first may make Dick Stuart, the infamous Dr. Strangeglove, look like a Gold Glove Winner. If Red Sox fans thought there was a large hole between Bill Buckner’s feet, wait until old ‘ I don’t like to bend over’ gets in there at first base.’
I, for one, think that Dave Dombrowski and his brain trust did just what they needed to do. They have a group of young, talented athletes that appeared to be ready, with a little help, to take on the world at the end of last season. The help that they needed was an Ace for their starting pitching staff, some help in the bullpen and some depth in the field.
They got that and now there is only one question to be answered and that is ‘Are these kids, namely Swihart, Vasquez, Shaw, Boegarts, Holt, Castillo, Bradley, Betts, Rodriguez and Owens as good as we think they are?’ If they are and can stay healthy, a starting rotation built around David Price, Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Clay Buchholz, with Rodriguez, Owens and young Brian Johnson, could be as good as any starting rotation in the Division.
It’s only 71 days until the Red Sox open their regular season at Cleveland om April 4, only 38 days until they play their first Spring Training game and, believe it or not, only 26 days until pitchers and catchers report to training camp at Jet Blue Park. Then we will begin to find out if this is the beginning of a new dynasty or if they are not as good as we thought they were and Sox fans are in for another last place finish.
I can wait but, just like every baseball fan of every team, it can’t come quick enough for me. Unlike the great Rogers Hornsby who said that in the winter he looks out the window and waits for spring, I look at the calendar and count the days until the games begin.