Last season the Boston Red Sox won 90 games and did not make the playoffs. They have undergone much change in this off season, with a new GM and manager, along with an overturned roster. If a baseball team can win 95 games, they should be able to make the playoffs. If the Red Sox can collect five more wins, they will be a playoff team.
Now it comes down to, can the Red Sox win five more games this season? The Red Sox had a WAR of 39.5 last season. Can they get five more wins, and get to a 44.5 WAR, or stay around that mark? It was the best WAR in baseball this past season, and if not for the collapse, they were an elite team. This off season has been rather uneventful from the acquisition side, so I would say they need to improve WAR by maybe one.
The Red Sox have lost two impact players this off season, Marco Scutaro and Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon had a WAR of 3, and Scutaro one of 2.9. That is 5.9 wins that need to be replaced. Last season, Mike Aviles had a WAR of 0.3and Nick Punto of 1.9. That is 2.5 wins from the shortstop position, a -0.4 from the season before. If that is replaced in other areas, it could be ok.
Meanwhile, Andrew Bailey had 1.9 and Mark Melancon 0.8. That is -0.2. So they need to replace now 0.6 wins. We will get back to that, but now we look to the right field position. JD Drew had a WAR of -0.3 and Josh Reddick had 1.9. So they need to get a WAR of about 1.9 to make up for Reddick, seeing that Drew was a non factor.
Follow the jump to find out how.
Cody Ross had a WAR of 1.9 last season and a 0.1 for Ryan Sweeney. That is still not quite at Reddick's 1.9, therefore the wins they need to buy are now at 1.5. In left field, Carl Crawford had a WAR of 0, and will be missing some time this season. That should be doable with any average replacement player, and Crawford could still be ready for opening day.
They need to find a way to replace the 1.5 wins. Jason Varitek adds to that with a 0.5 WAR, but Kelly Shoppach has a 1.1 WAR, so that means that the WAR needed goes down to 0.9. The starting rotation this season could play into a lot too. John Lackey, believe it or not, had a 1.5 WAR last season, but he will be out this entire season. Daniel Bard last season had a WAR of 1.8 in the bullpen. If he ends up a starter, does that go up to the point where he can replace Lackey?
There are a lot of unknowns for the rotation. Other than Beckett, Lester and Buchholz, we don't really know who is next. Bard? Carlos Silva? John Maine? Clayton Mortenson? That is where most of these wins will come into play. All of those pitchers were minus WAR players last season, but so was Bartolo Colon before he signed with the Yankees last year.
As of now, the Red Sox need about 2.0 WAR to get back to where they were last season, and that easily can be replaced by good decisions in the starting rotation. To get five more wins, they will need players like Carl Crawford to step up and be the player he is. He was a 7.6 WAR player before last season, and if he can do that, then that will easily get the Red Sox into the playoffs.