The pain and suffering that we as sox fans went through was flat out dreadful. I would have been more satisfied with them losing 100 games rather than them staying consistanly 4-6 games out of first place stringing us along, but i digress.....
Going into this Spring Training it is tough to feel overly excited about the club Robin Ventura will trot out on Opening Day. Without miracle comeback seasons from Peavy, Dunn, Rios, and Beckham then there is a diminutive chance this team can compete for the AL central crown. But we have all heard this same pessimism on multiple sites, radio shows, and in newspapers. I want to talk about how this team could have a rebound year like the Arizona Diamondbacks did under a similarly unexperienced manager in Kirk Gibson.
Beside the fact that it would be extremely hard to have as bad a year as Rios, Dunn, and Peavy, there are multiple reasons to believe this team could be improved this year in some areas. I can't help but smile when thinking about Dayan Viciedo swinging out of shoes and putting baseballs into orbit at the Cell. If healthy I would be shocked if he doesn't club at least 25-30 homers. Another reason to be excited is our young pitchers. Addison Reed looks like he could be a big time closer in the game for years. I believe that is why Kenny was so quick to pull the trigger on the Santos deal. Zach Stewart interests me as well because his fastball has a nice sink on it that plays well at the cell.
Trading Gavin Floyd could benefit the Sox greatly as well. I feel the team has plenty of pitching depth to be able to pull of a trade and I certainly wouldn't mind landing a nice 2nd base or CF prospect. Expect Tyler Kuhn to get some looks in the future as well after tearing up double a pitching last year at Birmingham. Axelrod Steward and Molina are all viable rotation options should Kenny decide to trade Floyd. I am extremely excited to see De Aza, Viciedo, Reed, Flowers, and Lillibridge all get considerably more playing time. This is the reason for my cautious optimism.