FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox hold their first workout for pitchers and catchers Wednesday. Baseball is back! So why does it feel so...weird?
Well, it was a weird offseason. To say the least.
The Sox hired Chaim Bloom as Chief Baseball Officer in October, after only four years (and a World Series victory) with Dave Dombrowski at the helm; got wrapped up in a national cheating scandal that led to the firing of World Series-winning manager Alex Cora; traded a generational player in Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers - the team Boston beat in the 2018 World Series; and promoted former bench coach Ron Roenicke to the position of 'interim manager' just one day before the team's first organized workout of 2020.
The results of the MLB's sign-stealing investigation into the Red Sox have yet to be released, which makes it hard for the team to truly turn over a new leaf and initiate a fresh start. However, they have no choice but to try and do just that.
Even without Betts and starting pitcher David Price, the roster is far from a lost cause. The Sox add outfielder Alex Verdugo (acquired in the Dodgers trade) to an outfield that already includes Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi; the infield has a strong core of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers; designated hitter J.D. Martinez will still anchor the heart of the lineup; and although they were both injured for significant periods of time last season, Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi add experience to a pitching rotation that saw Eduardo Rodriguez have the best season of his career last year.
The Ron Roenicke era of Red Sox baseball has begun and it's largely unclear how long it will last (he is still, after all, the interim manager) and how it will play out. Only time will tell. The team has talent but they, and ownership, are going to have to earn back fans' excitement and trust.