Mike Napoli could sign with the Boston Red Sox this offseason.
Mike Napoli will likely be the Red Sox cleanup hitter in 2013. Reuters

In 2013, the Boston Red Sox will look to bounce back from one of the worst seasons in team history.

Last year, the club finished in last place in the American League East with just 69 wins. It was Boston's worst regular season since 1965.

Heading into their opening day game against the New York Yankees, Boston looks much different from the club that started 2012. The Red Sox traded away over-priced stars Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.

Replacing the castoffs from last year’s team, players like Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino will look to improve the Red Sox offense. Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes will also look to contribute to an improved season.

Boston’s biggest issue was their pitching staff. Only the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins had a worse team ERA in the AL.

The Red Sox will be relying on starters who have produced in the past, but didn’t do much in 2012. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will be at the front of the rotation. They both under-achieved last season, as they pitched to a 4.82 and 4.56 ERA, respectively.

Ryan Dempster came to Boston as a free agent after a strong 2013 campaign. He will be joined in the rotation by Felix Doubront and John Lackey.

Lackey may be the x-factor of the Red Sox pitching staff. The right-hander signed an expensive contract with the team in 2010, but has been colossal disappointment. He had a 6.41 ERA in 2011 and missed all of 2012 with an injury.

Bobby Valentine was fired after one season and replaced with new manager John Farrell. The Red Sox are hoping the change brings about more chemistry in the clubhouse and a better year-end result.

It will be hard for Boston to be as bad as they were last year, but it will be hard for them to compete in, probably, the most competitive division in the MLB. The online betting Web site Bovada lists their World Series odds at 30/1, tied with the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics for 14th in the league.

Projected Opening Day Lineup

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

2B Dustin Pedroia

DH David Ortiz

1B Mike Napoli

3B Will Middlebrooks

LF Jonny Gomes

RF Shane Victorino

SS Stephen Drew

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

2013 Season Prediction

75 wins, fifth place in AL East