Win or lose, the Boston Red Sox will remain a team to watch.
The Red Sox will enter the 2020 Major League Baseball as the subject of some of the big-leagues’ most-compelling storylines. After all, the winds of change blew through Boston during the offseason, with the Red Sox altering their on- and off-field leadership and traded two of its biggest stars less than two years after winning the 2018 World Series in dominant fashion. And all this is without determining what disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the team. To say 2020 will be an interesting season is an understatement.
Here are six Red Sox storylines to follow in 2020.
Many MLB observers believe the Red Sox will struggle, following the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, Xander Bogaerts is among those who believe the Red Sox have more than enough talent to contend not only for the top spot in the American League East and perhaps even the AL pennant.
2. Chaim Bloom era begins
Boston’s chief baseball officer will shoulder the responsibility of restocking the farm system while maintaining the competitiveness of the big-league club. Such a task might sound daunting, but ownership’s faith in his ability to forge a winning future is why he was hired for one of sports’ most prestigious jobs. Starting in 2020, the team’s results will help fans determine whether he has succeeded.
3. New manager Ron Roenicke
The Red Sox parted ways with Alex Cora as manager earlier this year and replaced him with bench coach Roenicke, who must make the big calls that are essential to Boston winning on a daily basis. Every Red Sox manager faces intense scrutiny, and how Roenicke handles himself in the spotlight will set the tone for the campaign.
4. Starting questions
Ace Chris Sale will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery. Eduardo Rodriguez tested positive for COVID-19 last week. How Roenicke fashions his rotation, which likely will include an opener among other innovations, will be a major talking point of the season.
5. Rafael Devers in full flower
The Red Sox third baseman was Boston’s breakout star last season. If he builds on his impressive 2019 campaign, he’ll cement himself on the hot corner and as one of Boston’s franchise cornerstone
6. Short season
The 2020 season will be just 60 games, with the Red Sox AL East rivals and the five NL East teams comprising Boston’s scheduled opponents. With two-thirds of the games taking place against divisional foes, the majority of outings will feature the unique competitiveness of divisional play. Don’t be surprised if that intensity boils over early and often.