Boston’s recent run — three last-place finishes in four seasons — isn’t sitting well with many, even with the team’s 2013 World Series triumph taken into consideration. The Red Sox are expected to be perennial contenders, and everyone on the roster will need to chip in this season to avoid another campaign without playoff baseball.
That said, some players are under more pressure to succeed than others. The Red Sox have several big contracts on their payroll, multiple players who failed to live up to expectations in 2015 and others who haven’t quite developed the way the organization probably envisioned.
This season will be David Ortiz’s last hurrah — the Red Sox designated hitter plans to retire after 20 seasons (14 with Boston) — and the following five players, including Ortiz’s good friend, Hanley Ramirez, will need to step up to ensure Big Papi goes out in style.
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