Boston, MA - The most exciting moment in all of baseball is obviously winning the World Series, followed by a close second with the start of spring training. Bryce Harper may still be a free agent, but Manny Machado just signed with the San Diego Padres, bringing baseball that much closer to transitioning from the off-season to spring training, and the Red Sox are already getting ready for the 2019 season. Here’s what’s been going on.

Picture Day took place recently with a series of portraits of the members of the 2019 Boston Red Sox roster, and they were able to pose with a World Series trophy this year! One of the most fun photoshoot sessions came when Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez posed together. The team also gathered in the clubhouse with the trophy to hear speeches from manager Alex Cora and members of the ownership group, namely Tom Warner.

As the routine of spring training gains momentum, the Red Sox are gearing up for the chance to repeat their 2018 World Series victory. While many baseball insiders give them a slim chance of even winning the division, Boston is no stranger to subverting expectations, so don’t expect them to listen to the noise. The Red Sox are preparing like everything is business as usual (but the World Series title sure does help set the tone for 2019 and onward!).

And while the biggest story might be the fact that Craig Kimbrel, the team’s closer, remains unsigned, the only one that Boston members can comment on, for now, is the fact that Dustin Pedroia is back on the field. And he’s all smiles. Pedroia has been taking grounders and he said he is feeling up to the task of getting his knee ready for the season. He aims to play a solid 80 percent of games in 2019. But you can bet he wants to be out there for every single one. On a recent interview with Section 10, Brock Holt said Pedroia FaceTimes him frequently and is very pumped for the 2019 campaign.

In sadder news, though, longtime baseball reporter Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe passed away suddenly while attending spring training events on Thursday February 21st. He was 62. Our thoughts go out to his family. The Red Sox commented that they will honor Cafardo at the appropriate time.