Why Kiké Hernández Believes Red Sox Can ‘Shock A Lot Of People’

'Everybody's counting us out'

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January 25

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Kiké Hernández knows that not many prognosticators will peg the Boston Red Sox as World Series contenders this season.

Hernández is fine with that because it gives the Red Sox an opportunity to prove those wrong about the state of the ball club.

“We might not look up there with some of the other teams in terms of superstar talent or whatever, but at the end of the day, I feel good about my guys,” Hernández said at Red Sox Winter Weekend this past Saturday. “I think that we have the potential to shock a lot of people. The team’s going to look a lot different. We’re going to have a different identity as a team. We might not have as much pop in the lineup as we used to, but we have some guys that can put the ball in play and grind out at-bats.

“If we grind out at-bats for nine innings, we play the game hard, we catch the ball, we run the bases well, we’re going to have a chance to win ball games.”

Hernández is right, the Red Sox look almost completely unrecognizable compared to last season. Yes, they resigned Rafael Devers but lost several notable players, including Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi, in free agency.

Boston has made several moves on the open market to offset those losses, but largely have brought in veteran players on short-term deals who will never be mistaken for superstars.

But Hernández is just looking for the Red Sox to get off to a solid start and be in the thick of things come the trade deadline. And if they can do that, Hernández hopes Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will invest in the team with an acquisition or two.

“We just got stay afloat, stay in the battle,” Hernández said. “I like to be positive and optimistic and I think we’re going to get Trevor (Story) back at some point in the middle of the season, and we get a healthy Trevor Story, I think he’s a game-changer. He’s a catalyst. … Come Aug. 2, if we’re still in the fight, hopefully, we do the moves necessary to bring in the reinforcements that we have to. It’s all about getting in the playoffs. It’s a little easier now to get in with the two extra wild-card spots. Once we get in, anything can happen.”

The last time the Red Sox finished in the basement of the American League East in 2020, they followed it up by making a run to the ALCS the very next season.

Hernández isn’t saying that will happen again, but he has a feeling the doubters are beginning to fuel the 2023 Red Sox.

“We surprised a lot of people about ourselves (in 2021), and I think we’re in a position to be able to do the same this year,” Hernández said. “Everybody’s counting us out. It’s almost like we have nothing to lose. I believe there’s a lot of guys in that locker room that are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder. When you have a lot of guys like that, things can get fun and we can become a dangerous team.”

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Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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