2024 Boston Red Sox Season Preview: Win Total Odds and Prediction

Can the Red Sox climb their way out of the AL East basement?

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Six years ago the Boston Red Sox entered Spring Training with nothing but optimism. Alex Cora was entering his first year as the team’s manager, they had a lineup littered with young and potential generational talents, and a rotation filled with past CY Young winners, All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.

That optimism and absolutely loaded roster would result in a 108-win regular season and a World Series championship. The most wins by a World Series champion since the 1998 New York Yankees.

It is worth mentioning that the World Series wasn’t the only trophy that Boston earned that season. The aforementioned roster sent five players to the All-Star Game, had three Gold Glove winners, two Silver Sluggers, a batting champion, an RBI champion, the Comeback Player of the Year and the American League MVP to put a bow on what might be the greatest season in Red Sox history.

What looked to be the start of a potential dynasty that could rival those Yankees from the late 90’s quickly evaporated. With only one player remaining from that 2018 championship team, there isn’t a feeling of optimism in Boston this Spring Training, there are only questions of how bad is this season going to be.

Well I am here to tell everyone exactly how bad of a season I believe it will be and also share an opportunity for great value in what could be a very long summer in Boston.

Boston Red Sox Win Total for the 2024 Season

Odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

As of the time of this writing the win total for the Red Sox is 77.5 and when you look at how their roster is constructed it is very easy to see why.

You would think when an organization is coming off of their second straight last place finish in their division, that they would look to make significant changes during the offseason to avoid making last place finishes a trend.

If you’re are the Boston Red Sox however, you do the opposite and become a living depiction of the meme with the dog sitting in a house that is on fire saying to yourself “This is fine.”

If you think I am being too harsh, allow me to break down the offseason activity that in many cases has already backfired before the season has even started.

The first domino to fall in Boston was the trade that sent former All-Star ace Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves for second base prospect Vaughn Grissom. An interesting trade, Sale an aging arm but still the best arm in Boston sent off for a prospect that will try and fill the hole at second base that has been empty since the days of Dustin Pedroia.

In theory it sounds like a wise move in an attempt to bring in younger talent and plan for the future, but that plan has been put on pause after Grissom suffered a groin strain in Spring Training, and is projected to be unavailable for the start of the season until the injury has subsided and he returns from rehab.

Traded away the best pitcher in the rotation and the second base hole will remain vacant at the start of the season. Great!

Now, in order to replace Chris Sale you must hit the free agent market, which Boston did in signing former All-Star Lucas Giolito who during his time with the Chicago White Sox he turned in a 59-52 career record with a 4.20 ERA.

Not the splash move Red Sox fans were hoping for, but it is a much needed signing nonetheless, the question of who would start on Opening Day and be the team’s number one ace had been answered.

That was until Giolito suffered a partial UCL tear, which will most likely result in him missing the entire season. Great!

The Red Sox also realized that their bullpen has been a major weakness for many years now, which is why they signed Giolito’s former teammate from the White Sox, Liam Hendricks, he himself is a three time All-Star, who won’t be ready to pitch until the 2025 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

It is believed that the Red Sox front office was aware of his rehab when signing him but that has not stopped their fans from asking the question. Why?

There is one final free agent signing that needs to be discussed, and that is the acquisition of outfielder Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill brings the potential for a much needed power boost to the Red Sox lineup if he can return to his 2021 form where he hit 34 home runs and earned himself down ballot votes for the National League MVP award.

There is also the concern that the Red Sox may be getting the O’Neill that was exiled from St. Louis after there were serious questions about his in-game efforts.

An early indication from Spring Training shows that the hustle and power are certainly there as in six games O’Neill is batting .286 with a home run. The regular season will be the real indicator if this was a move worth making.

What about the rest of the team you may ask?

With Giolito sidelined the Red Sox don’t have a defined number one starting pitcher. Both Brayan Bello and Kutter Crawford have shown flashes to be potential rotation mainstays, but both of them had ERAs over 4.00 in 2023. Nick Pivetta is still in the rotation, but his best work came when pitching out of the bullpen during the middle innings of the game.

Unless there is a move to sign any of the free agent pitchers still on the market there could be many games where we see the Red Sox bullpen work the majority of the game.

Speaking of the bullpen. The Hendricks signing confused many seeing as Kenley Jansen is still a member of the Red Sox, and he was an All-Star last season. Well that may not be for long as Jansen has openly stated during Spring Training that he is hoping to be traded to a contender.

A rotation with no defined number one starter and the possibility of not having a closer. That isn’t a recipe for winning baseball games.

What about the lineup? The lineup has potential, but there are a lot of questions.

Rafael Devers is the engine that gets the lineup started. Coming off of another 30 homerun and 100 RBI season, Devers will look to build off of his second Silver Slugger award and try and keep the Red Sox in contention for a winning season.

Where is the help going to come from?

Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida are looking to take the momentum from their strong rookie campaigns where they both earned votes for the Rookie of the Year award. While Jarren Duran has found himself in the leadoff spot, and while many in the organization believe he has All-Star potential, his health is becoming a concern as he continues to battle the injury bug.

I already discussed the potential that Tyler O’Neill can bring, or will Trevor Story make an impact on the lineup.

Yes, in case you had forgotten, Trevor Story is still a member of the Red Sox. Story is entering year three of the six-year $140M contract that he was awarded after hitting 158 home runs and earning two All-Star appearances in six seasons in Colorado.

Well, during his first two seasons in Boston, Story has played in only 42% of the Red Sox games, all while hitting 19 homeruns and posting a .227 batting average.

Too bad there wasn’t a durable shortstop in Boston who was great with both the bat and the glove that was looking for a similar contract. But perhaps this is the year where Story breaks out in Boston.

Taking all of this into account. The uncertainty regarding the rotation and the bullpen are the biggest reason why I am fading the Red Sox and taking the under on their win total for the season.

The late great Hall of Fame manager for the Baltimore Orioles Earl Weaver once said “Momentum? Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.”

With respect to the Red Sox, I don’t see any momentum this season. But at least Boston still has the Bruins and Celtics to distract this summer.

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.