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Considering a best bet for the Boston Red Sox 2020 win total

The Red Sox offseason was a busy one but mainly for the wrong reasons. Can they overcome the loss of Mookie Betts and David Price?

Boston Red Sox left fielder J.D. Martinez at bat at Tropicana Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, the Red Sox were a highly competitive team in the American League East. This was a team that won the World Series in 2018 and only needed five games to dispose of the Dodgers, who came out of the National League West with 92 wins. Now, with an angry fan base and a less than stellar team to put on the field, 2020 is not looking all that promising.

Additions

SP Martin Perez
SP Chris Mazza
RP Austin Brice
RP Jose Osich
C Kevin Plawecki
SS Jose Peraza
OF Kevin Pillar
OF Alex Verdugo

Subtractions

SP David Price
SP Rick Porcello
C Sandy Leon
OF Mookie Betts

Offseason news

Of course, the biggest news was shipping Mookie Betts and David Price out of town to the Dodgers. The Dodgers were already in great shape to compete for the World Series, so adding Betts and Price only boosts their chances. As for the Red Sox, it accomplished what they were set out to do, save salary. When a team is looking to saving salary, it usually accompanies fewer wins, which is the thought process here for the Red Sox. The replacements for these guys come in the form of Alex Verdugo, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the trade and Martin Perez, who was signed to a one-year, $6 million deal.

The Red Sox did make some additions, although they’re completely overshadowed by the trade. Kevin Pillar came on a cheap, one-year, $4.2 million deal and provides a good mix of power and speed. Verdugo, who is likely to start the season on the shelf due to a stress fracture in his back, is only 23 years old and has shown some pop in his bat already in his young career. For the Red Sox, he’s a young, cheap asset that’ll be under team control for years to come. Perez is an interesting signing as he’s flashed potential on numerous occasions but eventually breaks down as the season progresses. Being a ground ball pitcher will help at Fenway Park.

To be fair, this club still boasts a lot of talent. J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogarts, Rafael Devers and Chris Sale will all be here in 2020. I think it’s fair to say this club underperformed last season when they posted an 84-78 record, which was good for only third in the American League East. Nonetheless, this team seems more focused on collecting cheap assets than being competitive. For the most part, they remained stagnant during the offseason and the additions were considered minimal at best. The only problem is, the AL East is going to be tough with the Yankees and Rays remaining as big players as well. With all the holes that could be poked in this roster last season, getting back mostly the same, minus their former MVP is going to be tough to overcome.

Let’s also not forget, this team is running out a new manager in Ron Roenicke. Alex Cora was dismissed under the pretense of his role as bench coach with the Astros when the team was stealing signs. Roenicke managed the Brewers for four seasons from 2011-2015, posting a 342-331 record and a 5-6 record in the postseason.

Best bet

As other teams in the AL East, specifically the Yankees and Rays improved, the Red Sox got worse. Even in a division that includes the Blue Jays and Orioles, two teams that combined to lose 203 games last season, the Red Sox were 35-41 in the division. It’s hard to see them doing much better this season with less of a team. The Yankees should be able to run away with this division with the Rays likely in the Wild Card mix. The Red Sox will likely tread water all throughout the season and quite frankly, I could see them being sellers at or even before the deadline if their record warrants it. With an over/under of 85.5 wins on DraftKings Sportsbook, the under feels like the play to make.

Boston Red Sox UNDER 85.5 wins

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