I think a season like last year where they have some hope for a good portion of the season and then fade away is my reasonable expectation. I do feel better about the team than I did earlier in the offseason, where they hadn't done a ton, had a ton of holes and felt destined to lose Xander. They've done a few things to improve the team (most notably the bullpen) but there are still question marks all over the place and even the absolute best case scenario feels like maybe 90 wins, and that might have them finishing fourth in the division.
They lost Bogaerts and JD and we will see what happens with Story. But this was a lineup anchored by the heart of the order and that is missing. You still have Raffy, which is good. Yoshida has potential which is good but obviously unproven. Justin Turner is in and he's a high-floor/low-ceiling guy, as long as he doesn't fall off a cliff at Age 38.
The rest of the lineup is pretty uninspiring. Verdugo is a spectacularly average player, which is fine and useful, but it's hard to envision him being significantly better than he was last year. Kike had a career year in 2021 and then crashed back to earth as a hitter in 2022, he's probably not going to be quite as terrible, but he's not going to be 2021 Kike at the plate. 1B to me isn't really solved until we see Casas hit at the major league level, his potential offers for more optimism than Dalbec/Franchy/Hosmer, but it's hard for me to get that excited for this season until we see him start mashing a bit. Mondesi's career history tells us he is likely to be extremely bad and then get hurt.
I think losing JD does hurt. Not necessarily in that they should have kept him, but from a downgrade from last year. He stunk in the second half of last season, but he had an .849 OPS in the first half and was very good for this team when they still had some hope. I suppose Turner could be more consistent than JD, but hot JD carried this team for portions of last season and I'm not sure if Turner has that ceiling, but they will need him to especially with Story out and X no longer in town.
One guy I think could breakout this year is Reese McGuire, who quietly hit .337 after being traded to Boston. He could have a very good season at the plate and that would be a big boost. Duvall is also old and inconsistent but at least offers a significantly higher upside at the plate than Jackie did.
Pitching is just full of suspects. Sale and Paxton are major health risks. Whitlock has talent, but we've never seen him be a consistent starter for a full season so it's hard to pencil him in as a rock in the rotation. Pivetta seems durable, which stands out in this rotation, but is a very mediocre pitcher. Kluber showed last year he could pitch a full season's worth innings, but is four years removed from his last actually good season (which was a great season, of course) but it's hard to rely on him. A lot feels like it is riding on Bello's FIP numbers being the real deal, because having an exciting, young pitcher that is healthy would go a long way in terms of optimism. But there isn't a sure thing among the six starters outside of maybe Pivetta, but he's simply not very good.
The bullpen should be much improved; the underlying stats on Kenley Jansen have suggested he is about to totally implode for a number of years as his velocity declines, but he always seems to make it work. Chris Martin was very good last season, I do wonder about the jump from Dodger Stadium to Fenway though. I wish they kept Barnes over some of the other riff-raff, but this should be a better unit. If they got decent health (massive IF) from the starters, it would go a long way in aiding the bullpen as that was part of the issue last year.