Legends On Deck

How They Were Built: 2015 Boston Red Sox

Starting Pitchers

Rick Porcello – The Red Sox acquired Porcello in a trade with the Detroit Tigers back in December for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier.  Porcello has been very durable in his time so far in the major leagues making 180 starts in six seasons.  He currently holds a career record of 76-63 with an ERA of 4.30.  It is kind of high but has been getting lower over the last couple of seasons.  Boston avoided arbitration with Porcello by signing him to a one-year $12.5 million deal.  He is set to become a free agent in 2016.

Wade Miley – Miley was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He was traded to Boston for three players a day after the Sox acquired Porcello.  Miley is a left-handed pitcher that has four years of major league experience.  His best season came back in 2012 when he was on the All-Star team and won 18 games.  He was runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award behind the winner Bryce Harper.  Miley is arbitration eligible, but no agreement has been reached as of yet.

Justin Masterson – Returning to where it all started, Masterson is on his second sting with the Red Sox after signing a one-year deal back in December.  He was a draft pick of the Red Sox back in 2006 and spent almost to years with the team before being traded to the Cleveland Indians for Victor Martinez.  He made a name for himself as he was transformed back into a starter after being a reliever winning 14 games and making the All-Star team in 2013.  Masterson was a member of the Cardinals before being granted free agency at the end of last season.

Clay Buchholz – The Red Sox drafted Buchholz in the first round of the 2005 draft.  He made his major league debut in 2007 and has made 149 starts in the bigs.  He boasts a 66-44 record with a career ERA of 3.92.  Buchholz has been on two All-Star teams (2010 and 2013) and finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 2010.  He is going to need to stay healthy and take the ball every fifth day if the Red Sox want to improve on the disappointing season of 2014.  Clay has made only 29 starts once in his career and 28 twice.  Being a potential number four starter, depending on what the rest of the offseason brings, should help get back on track barring any injuries.

Joe Kelly – Kelly made 10 starts for the Red Sox in 2014 going 4-2 with an ERA of 4.11.  The Red Sox acquired Kelly when they sent John Lackey to St. Louis at the deadline last season.  This seems to be a player that is penciled in as the #5 going into the 2015, but you have to think that Boston isn’t done adding to their roster which means the Kelly could be the odd man out.  Things could take a real turn if the Red Sox pull the trigger on a trade for Cole Hamels or signing James Shields.

Bullpen

Koji Uehara (CL) – Signed as an amateur free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, Uehara spent time in Texas as well before signing a free agent deal with Boston in 2012, and re-signed with the Red Sox this offseason on a two-year $18 million deal.  One of the things that is real difficult for a team is finding a guy they can trust in the ninth inning.  For years the Red Sox had Jonathan Papelbon, now they have Uehara.  In the two seasons with the Red Sox, Koji has 47 saves with an ERA under 2.00.  He made his first All-Star team last season.

Junichi Tazawa – Tazawa was signed as an amateur free agent by the Red Sox in 2008.  He has been a serviceable relief pitcher so far in his major league career making 142 appearances the past two seasons.  He was 4-3 in 2014 with an ERA of 2.86.  Tazawa and the Red Sox avoided arbitration when they agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million which appears to be a bargain on paper at least.

Edward Mujica – The Cleveland Indians signed Mujica to an amateur free agent deal back in 2001.  He made his debut as a 22-year old in 2006 and has appeared in 445 games so far in his career.  He made the All-Star team in 2013 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Mujica signed a two-year $9.5 million deal in 2014 with the Red Sox.

Craig Breslow – Another player that has returned to Boston after several years away, Breslow was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012.  He was granted free agency but quickly re-signed with Boston.  He has appeared in over 60 games in each of the last two seasons, but struggled in 2014.  His ERA went from 1.81 in 2013 to 5.96 in 2014.  Captain Obvious says the left-hander is going to need to improve drastically if he wants to remain a viable option out of the bullpen.

Anthony Varvaro – After spending the last four seasons with the Atlanta Braves, the Red Sox acquired Varvaro in a trade back in December sending minor leaguer Aaron Kurcz to the Braves.  Varvaro has appeared in over 60 games the last two seasons and has performed well.  He will be leaned on coming out of the pen and will most likely equal or pass the numbers he put up in 2014.

Starting Lineup

Christian Vazquez (C) – Vazquez was drafted by the Red Sox in the 9th round of the 2008 draft.  He made his major league debut in July of 2014 and will be the primary signal caller in 2015.  I am not sure that 55 games is enough sample size to really see what Vazquez is capable of doing but the Red Sox appear to be excited to have him behind the plate.  He hit .240 in 201 plate appearances with one home run and 20 RBI.

Mike Napoli (1B) – Entering his 10th season in the major, Napoli was a 17th round pick by the Angels in 2000.  He signed a two-year $32 million contract with the Red Sox in 2014, after winning it all in Boston in 2013.  With the additions Boston made this offseason as far as offense is concerned will only help Napoli return to the numbers he is capable of.  He has hit 20 or more home runs six times in his career including hitting 30 in 2011.  His career batting average is .257 which doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal anymore.

Dustin Pedroia (2B) – What can you say about Dustin Pedroia that is play can’t answer for you?  Rookie of the Year in 2007, MVP in 2008, four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger award winner, and a two-time World Series Champion (2007 and 2013).  Pedroia was drafted in the second round in 2004 and made his major league debut in 2006.  He is a player that won’t go home without stains on his uniform and seems to play the game the right way.  I am pretty sure he is a guilty pleasure of baseball fans of other teams who would want a player just like him on their team.  Dustin is currently on an eight-year $110 million deal that he signed in July of 2013.  If all goes well he will retire as a member of the team that drafted him that is rare these days.

Pablo Sandoval (3B) – “Kung Fu Panda” brought his talents to Boston signing five-year $95 million contract with a club option this offseason.  He will be the third baseman that the Red Sox have been looking for since Mike Lowell.  One concern that has surrounded Sandoval is his stature.  Videos have surfaced already of Pablo working out which is a great sign for the team and fans.  He brings with him two All-Star appearances and three World Series rings.

Xander Bogaerts (SS) – The Red Sox signed Bogaerts as an amateur free agent in 2009.  He made his major league debut in August of 2013 appearing in just 18 games.  Taking over the shortstop position last season, Xander played in 144 games hitting .240 with 12 home runs.  Unfortunately though his defense will need to improve as he had a .910 fielding percentage making 20 errors last season at second and short.

Hanley Ramirez (LF) – One of the biggest surprises of the offseason is the signing of Hanley Ramirez.  The signing isn’t the real surprise, the fact that he is going to be playing a position he hasn’t is the surprise.  The third base/shortstop Ramirez is being slotted in the left field position in 2015.  This is either going to be a brilliant move or a disaster.  This is Hanley’s second time in Boston as he was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 2000 by the Red Sox.  He was shipped out of town in 2005 to the Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, a deal that really worked out for both sides.  Boston brought Ramirez back signing him to a four-year $88 million deal with a vesting option in 2019.

Rusney Castillo (CF) – This is where things get a little interesting and confusing.  Boston has a plethora of outfielders and any of them can have a legit chance at cracking the lineup.  Rusney Castillo was signed as an amateur free agent by Boston in last season.  He played in 10 games with a line of .333/.400/.528/.928, sure that isn’t nearly enough of a sample size but Castillo can play and has a chance at being sent out there everyday.

Mookie Betts (RF) – Another one of the Red Sox young outfielders, Betts played just 52 games in 2014 but could also be in the lineup everyday.  He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 5th round in the 2011 draft.  He is also capable of playing the infield if needed which is a huge benefit for the team.  Betts also recorded seven stolen bases in 2014 as well.

David Ortiz (DH) – Ortiz was originally signed as an amateur free agent with the Seattle Mariners in 1992.  He was sent as a player to be named later to the Minnesota Twins in September of 1996.  Ortiz made his major league debut with Minnesota in 1997 and spent six years with the organization before being released in 2002.  The Red Sox swooped in and signed Big Papi to a one-year deal in 2003 worth $1.25 million.  All that he has done since then is win World Championships, belt 408 home runs, bat .290, collect almost 1,800 hits, make nine All-Star teams, finish in the top 5 in MVP voting five times, and win six Silver Slugger Awards.  He has played in the big leagues for 18 years and it is really not certain when it will come to an end, but when it is all said and done he will eclipse 500 home runs and potentially over 2,500 hits depending on how much longer he goes.

Projected Bench

Ryan Hanigan (C) – One of several players this offseason to be traded more than once.  Hanigan was a member of the Tampa Rays in 2014, was traded to the Padres in a three-team trade highlighted by Wil Myers.  Later that day Hanigan, who didn’t have time to even look for a new residence, was shipped back east to the Red Sox for Will Middlebrooks.  Signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 2002, Hanigan gives Boston a decent back up option at catcher behind Vazquez.

Allen Craig (1B/OF) – Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, Craig was traded to the Red Sox at the deadline in 2014.  He can and has played pretty much every position on the field except short stop, which give the Red Sox options in case of injury or performance of any of the young guys on the roster.

Brock Holt (IF/OF) – Holt is another player that can play everywhere giving Boston options.  He was acquired along with Joel Hanrahan in 2012 from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Shane Victorino (OF) – Here is a player that seems to just hit.  He is coming off an injury so it is uncertain what he will be able to do in 2015.  The Red Sox signed him to a three-year deal back in 2013.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com