A pitch of the 2016 MLB season has yet to be thrown and players have yet to even report to Spring Training, but Boston Red Sox fans already have all of the reason in the world to be excited.
After back-to-back last place finishes, Red Sox fans should finally have something to cheer about. Many major betting websites including Vegas Insider, OddsShark and Bovada just to name a few, have the Red Sox favored to win the American League this season.
Are they favored to win the World Series? No, not anywhere really. But they are favored to play the Chicago Cubs in the World Series — and everyone knows the story there. The Cubs are cursed. They haven’t won a World Series since 1908 so why all of a sudden would they win one 108 years later? That does not make much sense.
Simply put, the Red Sox paid for pitching this offseason.
They went out and paid David Price, a sturdy strikeout pitcher with extensive experience (and success) in the American League east, $217 million for seven years — or $31 million a year. They also added a lights out closer in Craig Kimbrel and another solid reliever in Carson Smith.
There are still plenty of question marks in place which makes it even confusing for those who support the Red Sox. Outside of Mookie Betts, the outfield is unproven and likely will not hit right-handed pitching well.
And of course, there is plenty of weight resting on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval’s shoulders, two players who were statistically speaking, detriments to the team last year because of how poorly they played on defense.
Before that though, they were two All-Star caliber players — and that is exactly the kind of production the Red Sox will need from them to be successful this season. Not to mention they will need Rick Porcello to pitch like an All-Star, something he did not exactly do last year.
Let’s save breaking down the rest of the team for a later date because it will take awhile.
But taking a look at the Cubs a little bit, they made it to the NLCS last year and have a lot of young talent — especially in their lineup. Their top two pitchers are Jake Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner and Jon Lester. Yes, Jon Lester is their No. 2 pitcher.
If the two teams meet up in the World Series, it will be the only time they play this season. They are not scheduled to play in Spring Training (the Cubs are Cactus League) or the regular season.