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2016 MLB roster outlook: Boston Red Sox


2016 MLB roster outlook: Boston Red Sox

2015 record: 78-84, 3rd place in AL East

Manager: John Farrell, 4th season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $198 million

Key additions: SP David Price, CL Craig Kimbrel, OF Chris Young

Key losses: SP Wade Miley, 1B Mike Napoli, RP Alexi Ogando

Projected lineup

RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Rusney Castillo
C Blake Swihart
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Projected rotation
LHP David Price
RHP Clay Bucholz
RHP Rick Porcello
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
RHP Joe Kelly

Top relievers
CL Craig Kimbrel
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Carson Smith

Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Can they pitch? The Red Sox made a serious effort this offseason to improve their pitching staff, which was one of the worst in baseball last year. They ranked 25th in team ERA (4.31) and 24th in rotation ERA (4.39). In comes David Price, who was signed to a record free agent deal, and Craig Kimbrel, who was acquired in a trade with the Padres. They added two of the best pitchers in baseball: arguably the best closer and one of the best starting pitchers in the game. They will surely help, but there remain several questions, mainly with their rotation depth.

2. Will Rick Porcello rebound from 2015? Speaking of pitching, one guy who could change Boston's entire dynamic is Rick Porcello. Porcello is due to make $20.1 million next season and is due $80.5 million total over the next four years. Last season Porcello was nowhere near worth that money with a 4.92 ERA through 28 starts (9-15). That looks a lot worse compared to his 2014 campaign when he went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA. If he can pitch like he did in 2014, the Red Sox will have a much better outlook at the top of their rotation.

3. Can Pablo Sandoval bounce back? The Red Sox had little trouble scoring in 2015 - they were 4th in baseball in runs - but their lineup could be even better if Sandoval can start living up to his contract. Signed as a free agent last winter, Sandoval hit just .245 with 10 homers and career-low .658 OPS last season. If he can get back up to his career averages and hit above .275 with an OPS north of .750, the Red Sox' lineup could be scary.

[Roster info via]

[RELATED: Top D.C. sports moments worse than #SnowTraffic]

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.