The 2011 Red Sox made Major League Baseball History last season with their epic September collapse. After the collapse rumors of locker room drinking, and pitchers playing video games in the locker room on their day off, eventually led eight-year Manager Terry Francona to retire at the end of the season. Replacing Terry Francona was a job left to Bobby Valentine, who hasn’t coached in the Major Leagues since 2002. General Manager Theo Epstein left the Red Sox soon after Francona, which left two large roles to be filled in a faltering team. Ben Cherington, who has been in the Red Sox organization since 1999, was declared to be the General Manager.
If the leadership changes weren’t enough, the roster changes should be. Longtime Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Tim Wakefield both announced their retirement in the offseason. The Red Sox did not resign outfielder J.D. Drew or closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Red Sox signed catcher Kelley Shopach to backup Jared Saltalamachia. Marco Scutaro was traded to the Rockies, which meant utility infielder Mike Aviles will play at shortstop this season. The Red Sox also signed Nick Punto to be a utility infielder. The Red Sox also signed outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross to replace J.D Drew and fill in for the injury-prone Carl Crawford.
However the pitching is still a mess. The Red Sox signed Athletics closer Andrew Bailey to replace Papelbon, but Bailey got hurt in Spring training and won’t be back until July. John Lackey will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, which means the Red Sox will use the young Felix Doubront in the rotation, as well as setup man Daniel Bard, who was moved back to the bullpen due to the bullpen not being able to finish games. The big three of the Red Sox rotation, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Bucholz, have been struggling as well.
After a 5-10 start, Bobby Valentine is constantly booed at Fenway, the bullpen is in chaos, and the third highest payroll is last place in the AL East. If the Red Sox don’t get their act together it will be a long season for Boston fans and possibly a short one for Bobby Valentine.