As the new year approaches, it’s time to look into the crystal ball and see what Boston’s sports teams will have in store for 2016.
Let’s start with the Boston Red Sox, who have bolstered their pitching staff by signing starter David Price and trading for closer Craig Kimbrel. Both acquisitions were huge upgrades to a team that had one of the worst ERA’s in the league in 2015. It remains to be seen if Dave Dombrowski is done making major moves this offseason. But if the Red Sox want to be a World Series contender in 2016, they’ll need another dominant starter before the July 31 trade deadline. Look for crazy rumors about pitchers like Sonny Gray and Chris Sale to swirl next summer. But one of those blockbuster trades won’t be made until the following offseason. The Red Sox will win the AL East, but will fall short of their ultimate goal in the postseason, losing to the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
Before that happens, we’ll have known the fate of both the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. Both teams will advance to the playoffs. Neither will win the ultimate prize.
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The Bruins won’t win their division, but they’ll be better than a Wild Card team, thanks to Tuukka Rask’s dominant second half of the regular season. The B’s will fall short of acquiring a much-needed top-four defenseman at the trade deadline, and that will be their ultimate downfall in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Expect the Bruins to win at least one round, but depending on their opponent after that, the B’s won’t be getting out of the Eastern Conference with the current cast of defensemen.
The Celtics will make a blockbuster trade before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. And yes, that acquisition will be in the form of DeMarcus Cousins. Suddenly in a winning environment, Cousins’ well-documented “issues” will be a thing of the past, as the C’s shine in the national spotlight. With Cousins aboard, the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But they won’t be getting by the Cleveland Cavaliers just yet. Still, it won’t be considered a failure, because everyone around the league will get to see how exciting the Celtics are going to be for years to come. And free agents will want to be a part of it.
Finally, expect the New England Patriots to be the only championship team in Boston in 2016. Yes, Tom Brady will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the second straight year. This time he’ll be doing it in the city of the team he grew up rooting for, San Francisco. Expect Deflategate to steal the headlines once again, in the following weeks, as the NFL’s appeal is heard. But Brady still won’t be suspended, and the Super Bowl 50 championship will be just another reminder of the Patriots’ revenge factor that was a product of Deflategate.
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