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Forecasting the 2013 Boston Red Sox Rotation

In 2012 the Red Sox suffered their first losing season in 15 years and fired manager Bobby Valentine just one year into his tenure with the organization. 

Injuries, poor play, and attitude problems have plagued the Red Sox since September 2011, when they suffered an epic collapse, going from being the best team in baseball to missing the playoffs entirely. 

The turmoil surrounding the team manifested itself in several ways, but nothing was more noticeable than the underachieving starting pitching staff which combined for a 5.19 ERA in 2012, ranking 27th in league. 

That ultimately led to the departure of former ace Josh Beckett in a blockbuster deal including Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Entering this year Boston will attempt to rectify the shortcomings of last year’s pitchers. 

Let’s take a look at what the new season has in store for the 2013 version of the Red Sox starting rotation. 

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Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver Dies

Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver died earlier today — he was 82. According to reports, he was on a cruise in the Caribbean when he suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at about 2 a.m. this morning.

Weaver spent his entire 17-year career as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and became a beloved figure within the organization as well as the community.

“What a great, great baseball man and a legend in Baltimore,” said Orioles GM Dan Duquette (via “He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles and we’re so thankful to have him with the Orioles and grateful for his contributions. Sad to go, but he has a legacy which will live on.”

Legendary short stop/third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. added (also from, “Earl will be missed, but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”

Weaver was known for his fiery personality, getting into numerous confrontations with players as well as umpires – he was ejected 98 times during his big-league career. However his combative nature was heavily outweighed by his on-field accomplishments.

He led the Orioles to six AL East titles (including five 100-win seasons), four American League pennants and a World Series championship over the Cincinnati Reds in 1970. He registered nearly 1,500 wins in his career with a .583 winning percentage.

Weaver revolutionized the game, introducing radar guns to clock pitchers during 1975 Spring Training.

He was also known for his staunch disbelief in bunting an manufacturing runs through steals and hit-and-runs. His philosophy included just three things: pitching, defense, and the three-run homer.

ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian referred to Weaver as one of the three greatest managers of all-time on this morning’s edition of Sportscenter.

“[Weaver] won 90 or more games 11 times, he won 100 games three years in a row, 1969 through ’79 he averaged 106 games won per year,” said Kurkjian.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in by the Veterans Committee in 1996.

Earl Weaver was small in stature, but what he lacked in size he made up for with heart and leadership. He left an indelible impression on coaches, players and fans and will truly be missed.

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Terry Francona Rips Boston Red Sox Ownership

Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has a new book entitled Francona: The Red Sox Years, and it hits shelves on January 22.

Co-authored by Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, the book sheds light on a number of topics, including the circumstances leading to Francona’s departure from Boston in 2011.

Francona makes several bold assertions, stating in an excerpt released to the public that the Red Sox owners were not passionate about the game of baseball. The front office has also been criticized by fans over the years for being more concerned with marketability and expanding revenue streams rather than running a successful franchise.

“I think they like baseball,” writes Francona. “It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners … and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them.”

While Francona recognizes baseball is a business and must be treated as such, the front office said and did some things that rubbed him the wrong way during his tenure in Boston.

He recalls almost walking out of a lunch meeting with principal owner John Henry, CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner in 2010. Werner complained about dwindling television ratings, claiming the Red Sox needed to start winning in a more “exciting fashion.”  

In an ESPN E:60 interview with Jeremy Schaap, Francona said, “I definitely think [the Red Sox front office] wanted to win and they also wanted to sell the product.”

In order to sell their product, the owners allegedly devoted $100,000 toward a marketing project directed at enhancing the female demographic. According to the book, the results showed that women “are definitely more drawn to the ‘soap opera’ and ‘reality-TV’ aspects of the game. … They are interested in good-looking stars and sex symbols.”

Former Red Sox VP/general manager Theo Epstein explains in the memoir that he was told by ownership to build a “sexier team.”

“[Ownership] told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle,” he said. “Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.”

That offseason, the Red Sox traded for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and signed outfielder Carl Crawford to a megadeal worth $142 million over seven years.

It should come as no surprise that the image-crazy front office continues to perpetuate a fraudulent home sellout streak that should have ended years ago. The fans and media are not dumb, nor are they blind. They can see the hundreds of empty seats at Red Sox home games over the last two-and-a-half seasons.

Let’s not forget the flurry of celebrations during Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, amidst yet another tumultuous season with Bobby Valentine at the helm.

By the way, have you bought your commemorative brick yet?

Terry Francona’s book will offer a breath of fresh air. It will expose the Red Sox front office for what it really is: greedy, money-grubbing, enterprising businessmen who care more about the team’s image and sex appeal than wins and losses.  

If winning baseball games is no longer a priority for John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner, then their decade-long stay in Boston has run its course. 

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