March 4, 2024

3. Threat Level: Red Sox

The least of the serious threats to the Indians, the Red Sox looked as if they’d fallen behind the other contenders in the AL, then went out a brought in J.D. Martinez late in the offseason to try and counter the Giancarlo Stanton trade. This is still the same team from 2017, sans the Martinez addition. The Sox have won 93 games two straight seasons and that seems like a good estimate for the 2018 version. The outfield will continue to be the strength of the team and with the Marlins dismantling their outfield due to fire sales, the Red Sox could boast the best one. Last season their outfield trio of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and Andrew Benintendi combine for 12.0 WAR and as a whole ranked as the fifth-best outfield in the MLB.

As for the pitching, they still have Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel, which is about as good a starter-closer combo there is in the MLB. They’ll need Rick Porcello and David Price to have bounce-back seasons. Last year, the Red Sox paid those two a combined $50 million and they produced a 1.4 WAR between them. Their rotation has already suffered some injuries, with Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez starting the year on the DL, and Steven Wright set to serve a 15-game suspension. If they can weather the first couple months, they should be fine.

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