With all the talk about Hanley Ramirez having a bounce-back year, what about Pablo Sandoval? What can we expect from him this season?
-- Kieran H., Melbourne, Australia
You are right. We've heard a lot about Hanley this offseason, but not as much about Sandoval. There is good news on that front. John Farrell recently visited with Sandoval and reports that he is 20-22 pounds lighter. Perhaps even more encouraging is that Sandoval told Farrell how personally he takes his lack of production last season and how determined he is to make up for it.
I was wondering what Jackie Bradley Jr.'s impact late last season had on the outfield market in free agency. Would the Red Sox have been interested in one of the big outfielders if not for Bradley showing promise offensively?
-- Mark T., Indianapolis
Excellent point. Bradley really did give Dave Dombrowski confidence with that torrid stretch he had in August and early September. I think that this is the year we will find out if Bradley can hit.
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Why is it that Travis Shaw gets no love? I thought he played really well when he got his chance.
-- Al T., Grasonvile, Md.
Not sure why you don't think Shaw gets love. I think a lot of people are excited about him after seeing the way he took advantage of his opportunity the final two months of last season. The problem for Shaw is there are no positions open for him at the moment. But Shaw should get his share of playing time backing up at first, third, designated hitter and perhaps even left field.
One of the most interesting moves of the offseason was Ruben Amaro Jr. making the move from the front office to the field. What do you think his impact will be on the 2016 Red Sox?
Video: Ruben Amaro Jr. phones in to Hot Stove
It's interesting that Amaro would make such a career switch after serving as general manager for the Phillies. Amaro is more than qualified for this job, considering that he was once a Major League outfielder and played all three positions. As far as his impact on the team, it will be based on how well he blends with the talented outfield trio of Rusney Castillo, Bradley and Mookie Betts. Much of this will be dependent on Amaro's ability to communicate and prepare -- two traits that were also quite necessary in his last job.
What are the chances that Henry Owens is in the starting rotation come April?
-- Mark V., Syracuse, N.Y.
The only way Owens will make it to the rotation in April is there is an injury. David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Joe Kelly have the five spots locked up. However, Owens will try to prove in Spring Training that he should be the first starter called up when the team needs somebody.
Do you think that David Ortiz's pending retirement adds to the team's expectations this upcoming season?
-- Tyler A., Tampa, Fla.
Considering the Red Sox have finished last the past two years, there is determination throughout the organization to play better. A lot of people have a rooting interest in Ortiz finishing his career with a deep postseason run, but I don't think his retirement adds more pressure to anyone. Owner John Henry did say recently it would be a "big disaster" and "terrible" if Ortiz's career ends without a trip to the postseason.
With the Red Sox retiring Wade Boggs number this season, what number will Brock Holt be wearing this season?
-- Phil C., Charlotte, N.C.
Holt switched to No. 12. Coincidentally, that was also the number Boggs wore with the Yankees.