By Joe Jacobs 1/23/18
BOSTON- The Boston Red Sox have failed to make a big splash in free agency this off-season, but they seem comfortable going with the guys they already have.
At the Boston Baseball Writer’s Dinner last week, new manager Alex Cora said he doesn’t think the team needs to land a free agent like J.D. Martinez for them to be successful. Cora pointed out much of his roster is filled with young talent.
“There’s a lot of guys in that clubhouse, they’re going to improve. And if they do that, this is a team that won 93 games, and people forget that,” said Cora. “One thing I’ve been telling people is this is a good team. We have a lot of talent. They’re athletic, and we’re going to help them out to put them in situations where they’re going to be successful.”
Cora has hired an almost completely new coaching staff, only promoting former manager John Farrell’s bullpen coach, Dana Levangie, to pitching coach. But the first-time manager will work to build an identity for a team that seemed to lack a leader in the clubhouse last summer.
Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who received the Red Sox Rookie of the Year Award Thursday night, told reporters that he believes he’s improved at the plate and is looking for a strong sophomore season. “There were too many slumps. More valleys than peaks, it seemed like — just being inconsistent,” he said. “I feel like every other month, it was a bad month.” The rookie did have hot and cold streaks, as his swing mechanics seemed to break down as pitchers figured out his tendencies. But he sat down with Cora to discuss expectations for this upcoming season, and has clearly put on some more muscle. The new skipper was impressed. “He’s a good player; stronger than I expected and put together. I think that the spots where we’re going to use him and how we’re going to use him, he’s going to improve. “
Cora will look to his second-year outfielder to anchor the two-hole, behind lead-off hitter Mookie Betts to help create offense early and often as Boston hopes to set up a deep playoff run this October.