With the firing of Bobby Valentine yesterday, the Red Sox finished up 2012 with their worst record since I’ve been a fan of the team (or since my birth). Any it really felt as bad as you might think. It was a hopeless, miserable season and it really felt like that from day one.

I’d like to take credit in predicting the outcome of the 2012 season when Bobby V was hired, but that was really a lay-up. Seriously, he wore a mustache made of eye-black strips in a dugout, seriously.

Given the Punto trade this summer, providing the Red Sox with great salary flexibility, and having no manager, the Red Sox are a tabula rasa. GM Ben Cherington has his hands full given that the 2 best free agents are both highly dubious choices for Boston in Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton. So the farm system and creative trades will probably be the primary source of a re-load.

Here’s my 2012 opening day line-up:

cf – Ellsbury
2b – Pedroia
3b – Middlebrooks
dh – Ortiz
1b – Mike Napoli
rf – Ross
lf – Kalish
c – Lavarnway
ss – Iglasias

Not a great line-up by any means but probably the best we can expect next year. I fully expect both Ortiz and Ross to be re-signed and the Red Sox might just take a flier on a mid to high level FA in Napoli. Why Napoli? He has a 1.075 OPS against the Red Sox, so taking him off the opposition’s team is a good first step. Secondly, he has a 1.107 OPS at Fenway. Just a guess though.

More important is the progress of the minor leaguers. It would be nice to think that Jackie Bradley Jr. might make a late season appearance and perhaps even Bryce Brentz.

The Rotation is also in need of major help, what with Matsuzaka a free agent (thankfully) and the Punto trade relieving us of Beckett. 2013 might look like this: Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Morales and, and…

Of course there is the issue of the next manager. John Farrell is the leading candidate but he only won a few more games than did the Red Sox, so why is he the best choice? I’m not saying he isn’t, I’d just like to hear why they think he is.

More to come.