I sense a panic in the air. Its ok! Boston is was not the best team in the American League a week ago, and they are not the best team in the America League today, after acquiring Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.
The Red Sox won 89 games last season, 6 fewer than the Yankees. They lost their best player Adrian Beltre, who was worth 7.1 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs. They also lost their second best player Victor Martinez, who was worth 4 wins.
What does this mean? The Red Sox have a ton of ground to make up with any additions that they make before they even start to reach the level of the 2010 Yankees, Rays, and Rangers. Carl Crawford was with 7 wins last season, but that was the best season of his career. He’s hovered anywhere from 2.5 to 5.7 over the last few years. Adrian Gonzalez has been a 5-6 win player (WAR includes a ballpark adjustment) over the last two years,. but a 3-4 win player before that.
This means that Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez will have to play on the top of their games just to replace Beltre and Martinez. If the Red Sox are going to win more than 89 games, they will have to count on improvement from the rest of their team. Now, this is likely to happen. The Sox had a lot of injuries last year. The Red Sox will look for a better year out of John Lackey, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew, among others. But they’ll have to risk preciptious drops in production from David Ortiz and Clay Buchholtz at the same time. Can they make up 6 wins from this group? Yes, but I don’t think they are likely to.
The Red Sox are going to be a better team in 2011 than they were in 2010, but Carl Crawford doesn’t make them an unstoppable Juggernaut.
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