The Red Sox finished in last place for the second year in a row in 2015, but they have a new boss in Dave Dombrowski, a new ace in David Price, and promising performances from the youthful parts of their roster that could carry over into the new year. There are potential holes in the roster, and questions in the rotation that could linger, but the Red Sox are potentially as good as anyone else in the AL. Whether that shows up in the results is another thing entirely.
David Price completely changes the way the rotation looks, as it allows the Sox to survive if Clay Buchholz is injured or if Joe Kelly fails to make it as a starter. Price is the big arm they needed after trading Jon Lester in 2014, and he could end up being the difference in the AL East.
All additions: David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Roenis Elias, Chris Young
The Red Sox traded Wade Miley to the Mariners for Carson Smith, because the dirty secret of 2015's failure was that the bullpen was far worse than the rotation.
All departures: Wade Miley, Craig Breslow, Rich Hill
Clay Buchholz is both healthy and effective, Joe Kelly sticks as a starter, and David Price is David Price. Hanley Ramirez's transition to first base goes like Boston hoped his transition to left would, instead of how it actually turned out, and Jackie Bradley Jr. shows he has not just the glove but also the bat needed to stay in the bigs. If all of this goes down in Boston's favor, it'll be difficult to top them in the East.
Buchholz misses too much of 2016, and while the Sox have pitching depth, none of it can make up for the loss. All three of Rusney Castillo, Pablo Sandoval, and Bradley disappoint during a key season for their job security, and there are just too many holes in both the rotation and lineup for the Sox to keep up with the Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees.
Lineup: Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr.
Rotation: David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez