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Article Teaser: Normally, if any team in the Majors lost three dependable players like Mark Loretta, Alex Gonzalez and Trot Nixon in the span of one offseason, thoughts of a dominating season would be the last thing you'd be hearing from the organization.

Keep reading below...

Despite Changes Red Sox Offense Still Dangerous

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

Normally, if any team in the Majors lost three dependable players like Mark Loretta, Alex Gonzalez and Trot Nixon in the span of one offseason, thoughts of a dominating season would be the last thing you'd be hearing from the organization.

However, since Theo Epstein has been the Red Sox GM, the team has always managed to acquire solid talent whenever a hole has appeared and this season is no different.

Signing J.D. Drew to fill the gap in right field and Julio Lugo to replace Gonzalez at shortstop, the Red Sox have managed to gain a player that can provide speed at the top of the lineup in Lugo and will have a solid five hitter in Drew, if he passes a team physical, who can provide protection to the three and four hitters Manny Ramirez and David "Big Papi" Ortiz, creating a devastating offensive attack.

While Lugo should score more than his share of runs this season, the real reason he was signed was because of his speed. Before the addition of Lugo to the Red Sox lineup, the only player who had any noticeable speed was Coco Crisp. Now with Lugo and Crisp at the top and bottom of the lineup, Boston now not only has enough speed to get by, they can now move former leadoff hitter and first-baseman Kevin Youkilis into the two hole and take advantage of both Lugo's speed and Youkilis's high on base percentage the same way Paul LoDuca and Jose Reyes are used in tandem on the Mets.

The signing of Drew also gives the Red Sox considerable depth in the outfield with Wily Mo Pena currently slotted to become the fourth outfielder. Considering the fact that Pena is relatively young and still has a high ceiling, it's doubtful the Red Sox will keep him to waste away on the bench.

"The best way for us to find out how good Wily Mo can be is to get [him] 550 at-bats. Finding out how to do that is another story," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told Scout.com. "I personally don't think Wily Mo is a guy that you just play once or twice a week and expect him to hit."

Given the situation, it's possible the Red Sox can use Pena as trade bait to either bolster their bullpen or gain another solid bench player to join Eric Hinske and Alex Cora on the team's bench.

While the team's offense for the most part looks as potent as ever, the only problem however, that may arise is the second baseman situation with Dustin Pedroia. Hitting .191 in 83 at-bats last season, Pedroia has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to put together a season like Mark Loretta had last year, but looks to be ready for the challenge.

Drafted 65th overall in the 2004 draft, Pedroia has been compared to another smaller infielder, one David Eckstein. Whether he lives up to the expectations or not is anyone's guess. However, Francona believes he can be successful if given an opportunity.

"I think we all expect him to probably be somewhat surprising to the opposition," Francona told MLB.com when Pedroia made his MLB debut in August. "They look at his stature; I think he's going to swing it a little firmer than they think. He's an interesting young man. I'm kind of looking forward to the chance of getting to know him a little better. I think we all feel like he fits in our future, just trying to figure out where and how and how much. There will be some interesting things to figure out with him."

Even with Pedroia's future success with the team unknown, the Red Sox still have added speed in their lineup with addition of Lugo and have a healthy Jason Varitek back to compliment the already dangerous combination of Ramirez and Ortiz. That alone gives them a huge chance in reaching the playoffs this season.


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Patrick Hickey Jr. writes as a freelancer for Boston Red Sox Tickets Website http://www.GetRedSoxTicket.com

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