After a disastrous season in which the front office’s plan to employ closer-by-committee backfired, the Red Sox appear to be selling off assets to invest in a rebuild. They traded superstar OF Mookie Betts and 2018 World Series MVP David Price to the Dodgers for a couple of young prospects and let invaluable utility player Brock Holt walk in free agency. Yet new GM Chaim Bloom has proven that he knows how to win with less during his time in Tampa Bay and he replaced some of those departed assets with savvy moves.
Last season, Boston went 35-41 against AL East opponents and just 38-43 at home. They finished at 84-78 and didn’t sniff the playoffs for the first time in years. Boston’s bullpen was a major liability with a collective 4.40 ERA (16th in MLB) and 31 blown saves last year. Brandon Workman converted 16 of his 22 appearances and will likely supplant Matt Barnes as the primary closer this season.
The Red Sox are being given a little more respect in the American League market with +1300 odds to win the pennant. That’s tied with the Athletics for the sixth-best odds behind the Yankees, Astros, Rays, and Twins.
Playing 40 games in the brutal AL East won’t help the Red Sox make the playoffs, and they’re listed as +800 underdogs to win their division.
Oddsmakers at DK have set the Red Sox projected win total at 31.5 with -109 odds for the Over and -114 odds for the Under. That means a $20 bet on Boston to win 31 games or fewer would pay out $37.54 if successful.
The leading MVP candidate for the Red Sox, according to DK, is Xander Bogaerts (+3000) with teammates J.D. Martinez (+4000) and Rafael Devers (+4000) not far behind. Eduardo Rodriguez was an AL CY Young candidate with ace Chris Sale injured, but Rodriguez recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will likely miss the first few weeks of the season.
Red Sox odds 2020
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
Red Sox betting breakdown
2019 Record: 84-78
Key Losses: RF Mookie Betts (Dodgers), RP Andrew Cashner (FA), RP Jhoulys Chacin (Twins), IF Brock Holt (Brewers), IF Eduardo Nunez (Mets), C Sandy Leon (Indians), RP Rick Porcello (Mets), LP David Price (Dodgers)
Injured: P Chris Sale (Tommy John)
Key Additions: C Jonathan Lucroy, OF Alex Verdugo, LP Martin Perez, IF Jose Peraza, CF Kevin Pillar, C Kevin Plawecki, LP Jeffrey Springs
1. LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
2. SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3. 3B Rafael Devers (L)
4. DH JD Martinez (R)
5. RF Kevin Pillar / Alex Verdugo (L) – INJ*
6. C Christian Vazquez (R)
7. 1B Mitch Moreland (L)
8. CF Jackie Bradley Jr (L)
9. 2B Jose Peraza (R)
Projected Rotation: LP Eduardo Rodriguez, RP Nathan Eovaldi, LP Martin Perez, RP Ryan Weber, LP Brian Johnson
Projected Closer: RP Brandon Workman
Bullpen Strengths: Brandon Workman will be the set closer and established himself as a force in relief last season. Workman posted a 1.88 ERA & 1.033 WHIP in 73 games with 16 saves and 104 Ks. Workman also only allowed one home run in his 71.2 Innings Pitched. Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor were bright spots as rookies in 2019 and will look to work in to bigger roles this season.
Bullpen Weaknesses: The Red Sox have a closer and not much else set in stone. They could use as many as nine arms. Matt Barnes was a bit inconsistent in 2019 with 13 wild pitches and 38 walks in 64.1 IP but posted a 3.78 ERA, 110 strikeouts, 51 hits and 8 home runs allowed last season.
Key Stats from 2019
- Red Sox will have to replace Mookie Betts and all of his production from 2019: League-high 135 runs, .295 BA, .915 OPS, 29 HR, 8- RBI. 16 SB.
- Betts led the team in runs, triples, stolen bases, BB, OBP.
- Michael Chavis hit 10 home runs in his first month then hit .242 in his last 66 games with 93 Ks.