After losing All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees in the winter following their 2013 World Series victory, the Red Sox outfield faced many questions.
Returning was the platoon pairing of Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava as well as Shane Victorino, all of whom exceeded expectations in 2013, and the plan was to use top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. as a replacement for Ellsbury in center field. Despite the questions regarding a regression from Nava and Gomes, Victorino’s health and Bradley’s offensive readiness, the team only went as far as taking a flyer on Grady Sizemore as an insurance policy.
The entire dynamic imploded as Victorino quickly went down, Bradley and Sizemore struggled, and Nava and Gomes both regressed en route to one of the worst offenses in baseball.
As the Red Sox floundered to a first-to-worst finish in 2014, the team quickly made moves to rectify the situation. The team added A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig at the deadline, dealing away the one-two punch of their World Series winning rotation in Jon Lester and John Lackey.
They signed Cuban star Rusney Castillo in August, and he was followed closely by the call-up of top prospect Mookie Betts, and then the off-season signing of Hanley Ramirez capped off their outfield overhaul. Cespedes has since been dealt but the remaining question surrounding this year’s outfield is who will play on Opening Day?
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