What a year 2016 was for sports. Many sports icons hung up their cleats/sneakers, Sidney Crosby added to his resume with another Cup title, and let's not forget about those 3-1 choke jobs. But perhaps the moment that summed up 2016 the most was when Kris Bryant fielded the final out of the World Series, handing the Cubs their first World Series since 1908.
Now a lot of these moments from 2016 weren't expected, many were considered long shots (bold predictions). So for the purpose of this RoundTable, we are going to hone in on Boston sports in general and make our own bold predictions for each sports team in the City.
Jordan: Not a move that I think will help the Celtics much, if at all, but I see Danny Ainge going out and making a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for... wait for it... Paul Pierce. Pierce has already come out and said that this is going to be his last year most likely, and he's getting very limited minutes with the Clippers. On top of that, Pierce is still a fan favorite in the hearts of Celtics fans everywhere for all he's done. Moreover, he's cheap. Pierce finishes his career where he belongs: in Boston.
Pete: With all of this drama between Jae Crowder and Gordon Hayward, I believe the Celtics use this to bring in an even better player. I think these rumors and the fans cheering Hayward will light a fire under Crowder's ass, and he will play out of his mind. Some team will see this and his very manageable contract and make a big trade with the Celtics. In the offseason, Hayward reunites with his college coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics finally have a star.
Will: For an in-season prediction, I see the Celtics making a nice run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 games. Nonetheless, it provides much-needed hope and playoff experience to a young, on-the-rise team. This leads me to my second bold prediction: the Celtics don't swing a big offseason trade in the upcoming offseason. Instead, they keep their two Nets picks for the time being, the first of which (2017) ends up at No. 2 overall, landing the Celtics star Kansas SG/SF Josh Jackson.
Jordan: The Bruins completely blow it up and build around David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano, Brad Marchand, and Brandon Carlo. As much as I love Bergeron and Rask, their value is just too high for a Bruins team not going anywhere. I would hate for this to happen, but I've accepted that the Bruins won't be good for a while unless they start over. Thanks Chiarelli.
Pete: Tuukka Rask is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year and wills the Bruins into the playoffs. The defense isn't very good, the offense isn't very good, but the goalie is playing out of his mind right now. The only reason the Bruins are still in the playoff picture is because of Tuukka.
Will: Much like the last 2 seasons, a woefully mediocre Bruins team finds themselves on the cusp of the playoffs entering the final week. This time, however, they do make the playoffs...only to lose in 6 games in the opening round. Claude Julien finally gets the axe and the focus turns to the Bruins' top prospects, headlined by the team's 11 Round 1 and 2 selections over the past 3 drafts.
Boston Red Sox
Jordan: Mitch Moreland does a horrendous job replacing David Ortiz... Oh wait, this was supposed to be bold. Moreland does so bad that it forces the Sox to explore the trade market for a thumper in the middle of the order. Names that consistently appear in the rumor mill are Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, and Matt Kemp. Given the fact that they're going to need a lefty to replace Papi, I say it's CarGo.
Pete: David Price has a massive bounce-back year and is a finalist for the Cy Young award. With Chris Sale in the rotation, David Price is not expected to be the best pitcher in the starting rotation. Hell, right now, he may be slated as the Red Sox' third pitcher in the roation. I think he bounces back in a big way and returns to ace-like form.
Will: The offense doesn't meet last year's ludicrous production overall, but the dropoff is minimal at best due to two positional upgrades. Pablo Sandoval strengthens the hot corner both offensively and defensively (it's not hard to replace Travis Shaw). Likewise, Blake Swihart takes the catching job from Christian Vazquez and provides another positional offensive boost. The Red Sox lead the MLB in batting average and runs scored.
New England Patriots
Jordan: With the exception of Chris Hogan, the Patriots really haven't had a vertical threat since Randy Moss. This upcoming offseason, they address that and add DeSean Jackson. Obviously Jackson has a pretty suspect background, which is probably the biggest reason Philly was so willing to let him go, but there is no questioning the talent he possesses. Both as a pass catcher and as a kick returner, Jackson could provide a fantastic weapon for Brady in co for the next 2 or so years.
Pete: The Patriots at least explore the possibilty of moving on from Rob Gronkowski. Considering his value is at an all-time low, the Patriots would be foolish to trade Gronk now, unless a team is willing to offer you an early first-round pick in this year's draft. I think the Patriots will look to extend Marty Bennett and draft a tight end this year to start preparing for life after Gronk. The chances of Gronk wearing a different uniform next season are slim to none, but I believe the process has already begun.
Will: This offseason mirrors 2014 more than 2015-2016, in that Belichick makes several important free agency acquisitions. No player matches the caliber of Darrelle Revis, but I see them signing someone from the trio of Calais Campbell, John Cyprien and Jason Pierre-Paul. Of course, this is after they retain Dont'a Hightower and Malcolm Butler.