It is not a T-shirt that the Red Sox will be selling in the souvenir store. Nor will Wally the Green Monster be wearing it in front of Boston’s young fans.

But the shirt was popular fashion in the Red Sox clubhouse this spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

The shirt is plain gray with four words clearly displayed on the front: “Turn The (expletive) Page.”

Not exactly in the “Win One for the Gipper” mold, but it gets the message across.

The 2013 World Series championship … that is so old news.

The Red Sox are not readjusting the rearview mirror; they’ve thrown it out the window and are shifting into drive.


“We want to be good today,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.

“Some of those words – defend, repeat – that looks back. Our mindset is: We have to go out and win. Whatever happens after that, if it ends up being something as unique as last year, so be it.

“But there is no focus or lost energy (on looking back).”

So, how will the Red Sox defen … err, win a championship?

Here’s a look: 

CHANGES: The temptation is to reminisce about the 2013 team and say they did it once, they can do it again.


“There may be examples of teams that, after you win, you are so attached to some of those players who have won for you, they are given a reward, so to speak,” Farrell said.

The Red Sox did not go that route.

“After the season is over, no matter how far you went in the postseason, there is objectivity when viewing at the roster,” Farrell said. “How do we put ourselves in the best position to win going forward?

“As we have seen, that requires making changes to the roster.”

Three free agents were not re-signed, so outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia a Marlin and shortstop Stephen Drew an outcast still looking for a team.

That subtracts 400 hits, 217 runs and some pretty good defense in short and center from the lineup.


Boston could do that because it has Xander Bogaerts at short, unexpected depth at center with Grady Sizemore now starting and Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in Triple-A, and veteran A.J. Pierzynski catching.

The reasoning seemed sound. Bogaerts is a potential All-Star, Ellsbury was going to be overpriced and Boston may actually have an upgrade in Sizemore. And Boston did not want to commit long-term to Saltalamacchia, so Pierzynski gets a one-year deal (holding the spot until Christian Vazquez and, eventually Blake Swihart, are ready to take over in coming years).

Boston also upgraded its bullpen, adding former Cardinals closer Edward Mujica.

STARTERS: Boston fared well last year with a 3.84 ERA among its starters, fourth-best in the American League. The Red Sox could actually do better in 2014.

Jon Lester (15-8), John Lackey (10-13) and Jake Peavy (4-1) return – Peavy now assuming the role of the retired Ryan Dempster (8-9).

And both Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront are back, looking for improvement in either health or consistency.


Buchholz shined with a 12-1 record and 1.74 ERA, but made fewer than half the starts (16) as Lester (33) because of injury.

Doubront (11-6) was up and down last year, but came into spring in much better shape, looking focused.

“We’ve got a pretty good rotation, for sure,” Lackey said. “We still have to go out there and perform.

“We need (Buchholz) to make it a full year because he can do some special stuff. With (Doubront), everyone is excited the way he came into camp, the look in his eye and the ways he’s been working. The other three of us have done a few things in the past.” 

SURPRISES: Koji Uehara became a pleasant and essential surprise for the Red Sox, going from set-up man to shutdown closer after two previous closers were hurt.

Who could come out of nowhere this season? Here are three names:


Brandon Workman made some stellar postseason appearances as a reliever. But the Red Sox maintain that they view Workman as a starter. Should a need arise in the rotation, he could establish himself quickly.

Vazquez, as noted, is a future major league starter. With two older veterans on the Boston roster, Vazquez may be needed soon.

Bradley was sent to Pawtucket, but neither Sizemore nor right fielder Shane Victorino have reputations for perfect health. Bradley could find himself in center or right field.

DEPTH: The Red Sox relied on several players (48 in fact) last year.

A strong farm system and General Manager Ben Cherington’s wisdom resulted in Boston filling holes as they came up, and moving on.

Will the Red Sox repeat? Don’t ask them. They are taking it one day at a time (boring, but effective).


Who knows if Boston will be celebrating in late October. This team should contend. The Red Sox have turned the gosh-darned page.

Chapter one of 2014 begins Monday.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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