Take this into consideration. It is almost impossible for the Red Sox to get worse. Clay Buchholz was injured for a ton of time, that would've seriously helped the team. Also this, nobody will be as bad as John Lackey was last year, his performance was the single reason why we did not make the playoffs last year. My personal WAR stat has him at -1.5. That means if we replaced him with some random minor leaguer, not a good minor leaguer like Felix Doubront or Junichi Tazawa, or Alex Wilson, but if we replaced himi with someone like Brandon Duckworth, we would win a and a half more games. That would put us in the playoffs. Third Carl Crawford is almost guaranteed to rebound, according to fangraphs, his WAR dropped 7.4. Let's just use a simple marcel projection of his last 4 years of WAR, it's 3.9. Improving 4 wins. Also Bard has a chance of being an ace, he could bust, but as I showed earlier, busting would not be nearly as bad as John Lackey last year. We also had Kyle Weiland and Tim Wakefield perform awfully along with Lackey, both of them are likely to be gone. I think Lavarnway will get called up mid season, and be much better than Tek was last year. Shoppach will also be better than tek. Also the right field situation, while the Sox did just trade Reddick, the Right fielders will still be much better than last year Kalish and Sweeny will easily top the horrible line the Red Sox right fielders put up in 2011 because of JD Drew's awful performance. And last but not least, luck. I did a test on excel using a random number generator, it was very complicated, but all you need to know, is that on average, one true talent 98 win team becomes a 90 win team per season, I believe we were the 98 win team because in Clay Davenport's advanced standings, the Red Sox have a schedule and pythag adjusted record of 98 and 64, the 2nd best adjusted record in the league, ahead of the Yankees. Also, coolstandings.com had the Red Sox at 99.9% playoff odds at one time. For that to happen is so unlikely, I know it was extremely frustrating for that to happen, but it was probably luck. it will definitely not happen again. I think the Red Sox have a very good shot at winning the division, and an even better shot at wild card with 2 wild cards in 2012.