The Boston Red Sox have missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons. Their fans have every right to expect that the streak stops there.
Yes, the Red Sox are coming off their worst season in 47 years, a six-month nightmare in which the clubhouse turned toxic under the bungling Bobby Valentine. But the atmosphere will improve with the steady presence of John Farrell, and the roster should be healthier if only because a repeat of the 2012 scourge is inconceivable.
Thanks to the $250 million decamp to Dodger Stadium, the Red Sox have the money to address their weaknesses - and the mandate from New Englanders to do so immediately. The unique aspect of this offseason is that general manager Ben Cherington must spend time convincing players and agents that the Red Sox are really, truly trying to win in 2013 - the sort of thing that has been implicit since long before the Theo Epstein renaissance began.
"It's a fair question - and one we haven't had to answer most offseasons," Cheringt...