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MLB win totals 2020: Red Sox among five teams that will go under projection

MLB win totals 2020: Red Sox among five teams that will go under projection

With spring training workouts underway, it's time to peer into our Major League Baseball crystal ball for 2020.

Boston Red Sox fans may not like what they see.

Westgate Superbook updated its projected win totals for all 30 clubs last Monday after the Red Sox (finally) traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Alex Verdugo and prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.

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Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom admitted this trade makes his team worse in 2020, and Westgate's win totals reflect that: Boston now is projected to win 85.5 games, down from 87.5 prior to the Betts deal.

But can the Red Sox even reach that lowered bar? And which other teams are trending down, as well? Below are Westgate's win totals for five MLB teams, and why we're taking the UNDER on each total.

Boston Red Sox: UNDER 85.5

The Red Sox won 84 games last season with Betts and Price on the roster. Pitching was the primary source of their struggles, and they've done nothing to alleviate those concerns after losing Price and Rick Porcello, who combined to make 54 starts last season. The rotation will be thin even if Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi all stay healthy. If anyone gets hurt, we could be in for some long games at Fenway Park -- because Boston's 18th-ranked bullpen from 2019 remains virtually unchanged, as well.

Tampa Bay Rays: UNDER 89.5

As usual, the Rays project to be a Wild Card contender with strong pitching and a decent lineup of scrappy overachievers. But there's a lot riding on the health of top arms Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, who both dealt with arm injuries last season. If those issues crop up in 2020, Tampa Bay could have difficulty competing against the Red Sox and loaded New York Yankees in the AL East.

Washington Nationals: UNDER 90.5

I'm buying into the World Series hangover storyline, especially for a Nationals team playing in a sneaky competitive National League East, where the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets all are projected to win north of 85 games. Losing Anthony Rendon also doesn't help Washington's cause. The defending champs finish just over .500 while battling the Mets and Phillies for a Wild Card spot.

Texas Rangers: UNDER 79.5

Corey Kluber's addition helped boost Texas' win total, but the 33-year-old threw just 35 2/3 innings last season and isn't a sure bet to return to All-Star form. I'm also not convinced 34-year-old Todd Frazier will improve an offense that ranked 17th in the majors in batting average (.248) last season. Texas will make some early-season noise before fading to the middle of the AL pack.

Pittsburgh Pirates: UNDER 69.5

Pittsburgh's hire of ex-Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington signals a full-on rebuild for a club that won 69 games last season. There's little talent on this roster outside slugger Josh Bell and pitchers Chris Archer and Jamie Musgrove, and there's a very good chance the Pirates finish in the NL cellar.

MLB Rumors: Ex-Red GM Ben Cherington accepts Pirates general manager job

MLB Rumors: Ex-Red GM Ben Cherington accepts Pirates general manager job

Ben Cherington has moved on from the American League East.

The former Boston Red Sox general manager has accepted the Pittsburgh Pirates' offer to be their next GM, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.

Cherington takes over for former Pirates GM Neal Huntington, who was fired in October.

The New Hampshire native and Amherst College alum rose to prominence in Boston, taking the Red Sox GM job in 2011 and helping the club win a World Series title in 2013.

Cherington resigned amid Boston's second consecutive losing season in August 2015, shortly after the team hired Dave Dombrowski to run its baseball operations.

The 45-year-old executive spent the last two seasons as the Toronto Blue Jays' vice president of baseball operations, and now will be tasked with rebuilding a Pirates team that won just 69 games in 2019.

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Report: Ex-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington in running for Pirates position

Report: Ex-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington in running for Pirates position

Former Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington could be heading to the National League to run another major league club.

Cherington, who served as Sox GM from 2011 to 2015, is in the running to be the next president of baseball operations for the Pittsburgh Pirates according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Pirates fired GM Neal Huntington in October, and Cherington replacing him certainly would make sense for Pittsburgh as it continues its front office overhaul. Cherington helped build a World Series roster for the Red Sox in 2013.

The Red Sox are in the midst of their own rebuild in the front office as they recently hired Chaim Bloom to replace Dave Dombrowski as Chief Baseball Officer.

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