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baseball 2021 | the preview

Read the Globe’s 2021 Red Sox season preview

For Alex Cora and the Red Sox, there's no where to go but up.
For Alex Cora and the Red Sox, there's no where to go but up.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Brick by brick, the Red Sox are trying to rebuild — don’t say that out loud — and stay competitive as they upgrade their player development system.

The cover of the Globe's Red Sox season preview section.
The cover of the Globe's Red Sox season preview section.Globe Staff

The stunning trade of Mookie Betts in 2020 was the first step in a process that could take a few years, but it ideally will allow them to achieve sustainability.

Read the Globe’s Red Sox season preview section below, and check out the print edition in Sunday’s paper.

The plan

No one wants to say it, but it sure looks like the Red Sox are ... rebuilding

Their oft-stated goal is “sustainability” — fielding an elite team while maintaining a fertile farm system — but just how quickly can that be achieved? By Alex Speier

The glossary

A glossary of terms to help you understand the state of your baseball team

Do you know the subtle differences among “rebuilding,” “tanking,” and “a bridge year”? We can help. By Alex Speier

The season

For the 2021 Red Sox, there truly is nowhere to go but up

The Sox finished last in the division in 2020, and rehired manager Alex Cora asserts, “We will be better than last year. Let’s get that one out of the way.” By Julian McWilliams

The risk

The Red Sox believe better days are ahead. But how much longer will fans ride the roller-coaster of highs and lows?

For years, fans have waffled between joy (the 2018 World Series) and sadness (trading away Mookie Betts) so quickly that it’s easy to see why they’re getting frustrated. Winning cures everything, but for how long? By Michael Silverman

Dan Shaughnessy

Red Sox will be better this year, but irrelevance awaits if they don’t start quickly

The Red Sox will hit — they always do — and though the rotation is better than last year’s, it is still shaky and thin.

Tara Sullivan

This season, Red Sox manager Alex Cora has to make up not just for 2020, but for 2019 as well

Two years ago, his defending champs fell flat on their faces, missing the playoffs, and there are lessons to be taken from that.

The model

The blueprint: Dodgers’ balanced approach in team-building is exactly what the Red Sox aspire to

With financial might at the major league level and a productive farm system, LA has made the playoffs eight straight years and the World Series three of the last four. By Peter Abraham

The core

The Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts didn’t expect to be part of a rebuild in his prime. He hopes patience pays off

Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120 million extension just months after the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series. He hasn’t been back to the postseason since. By Peter Abraham

The future

Triston Casas. Tanner Houck. Jarren Duran. With the Red Sox’ prospects, there’s hope on the horizon

Bryan Mata and Bobby Dalbec, the latter of which will likely open the season in the big leagues, are among a number of players who excelled this spring, giving Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora faith that this team can contend for years. By Julian McWillliams

Sports media

NESN’s Red Sox booth was revealing in an otherwise awful 2020 season. What’s on deck for 2021?

With Dave O’Brien on the call, analysts Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley have thrived as candid players-turned-broadcasters. By Chad Finn

The predictions

Who will win it all in 2021? Here are the Globe staff predictions for the new baseball season

The Dodgers are are a popular pick to repeat as World Series champions, but our writers have a few surprises in store for you as well.

The roster

Introducing the 2021 Red Sox roster

Alex Cora returns as manager, and the Sox brass believes the team can be competitive. Here are the players who will lead that charge. By Julian McWilliams

The schedule

See the Red Sox’ 2021 schedule

The season opens April 1, and fans will be in attendance for the first time in more than a year.

The newsletter

Sign up for 108 Stitches, our Red Sox newsletter

Get the latest Red Sox analysis, opinion, and news straight to your inbox on weekdays during the season. This way, you’ll never miss a thing. By the Globe staff