…wrapping things up…
The gasoline club: Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: I’d normally say Bryan Mata (#4), perhaps with a cup of coffee to give him a brief taste, but with the state of the world, the uncertain status of the season and the fact that he is not on the 40-man roster at the current time, the chances are probably slim. No other prospects will be up this year. Even if you are rooting for Jay Groome (#7) to make it up. Sorry.
Additional flotsam likely to make an appearance or twenty this season: Check this list out: Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Chris Mazza, Josh Osich, Mike Shawaryn, Jeffrey Springs, Phillips Valdez, Trevor Hildenberger, Mike Kickham, Bobby Poyner…and just about anyone else off the scrap heap. Luminaries.
Comments: It would be one thing entering the season with a rotation like they are if they had a bunch of good bullpen arms.
But guess what? No can do with that.
Who in the world expects Workman to duplicate last season? Or even approach it? Barnes is useful, especially if not overworked. But what are the chances that doesn’t happen again with this motley crew? Plus, he’s nowhere near a closer. So if Workman returns to Earth, who’s next? Brasier? We’ve seen that movie before. There’s simply no one else capable of closing on the staff.
Hernandez should be in the rotation, as referred to in the starters’ analysis, despite being fairly electric out of the ‘pen last season in his stint with the club. Of course, he walked way too many guys, so there’s still some work to be done. Perhaps he should be starting games in Pawtucket this year instead of pitching the 5th-6th inning once a week in Boston. Maybe he can close? But again…the walks…
Walden had a nice run until late last year. There are reasons why guys like him and Brasier spend a decade in the minors. We are likely to see why with Marcus this year. And started to late last season. Hembree is a great 4th-6th inning guy. Taylor was a surprise and I’d like to see more. But I said that about Travis Lakins too…and Lakins is long gone. Brice? Whatever.
The last group of names starting with Brewer? Yuck. But they will all pitch innings for the big club this year. Provided there is some sort of length to the season. Actually, even with a half a season they all should make an appearance.
That should excite no one.
This entire staff is kind of putrid. And any kind of injury to one or two of the “better” arms would be an even bigger nightmare. The team is not going to trade any prospects to get better arms, so forget about that. Not sure I want them doing that anyway.
So what you see is what you will get. Once again, brace yourself…
Unquestioned starters: Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), Kevin Pillar (RF), J.D. Martinez (DH)
DL: Alex Verdugo (LF/CF/RF)
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: Marcus Wilson (#21)
Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season: None
Comments: Yup, no Mookie Betts here…so I guess it is official. I suppose it truly won’t be official until we see Pillar in his spot on Opening Day. But still…and I guess by then it could still be Verdugo in right instead. Methinks that with Alex’s back injury and he being young and a big part of the Mookie deal, that the Sox will be overly cautious with him, maybe even throughout the entire season. Especially with MLB likely trying to stuff as many games as they can on the schedule.
My bigger hope is that we see Pillar in center and Verdugo in right on Opening Day, with Bradley being on a completely different team. But that’s been my hope for several years now, the latter part anyway. With any luck, he will start off hot, and at some point in the middle of that, before the trading deadline (whenever that will be), the Sox can pawn him off for something useful. Probably wishful thinking there as well. I’m still at the very least praying that the Sox let him leave when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.
Ok, enough about JBJ.
But speaking of the trading deadline, don’t be shocked if J.D. is moved then. I don’t believe the Sox wanted him to opt-in to his contract this past offseason. No one believes the team wanted him to opt-in. And that’s even if they were “able to keep” Mookie by cutting Martinez’ costs.
I think the Sox wanted both of them gone. For “payroll flexibility”. Along with David Price. And maybe even Nathan Eovaldi.
That’s how I see it anyway.
As for J.D., let’s hope he is able to start the year out well. I mean, he made a big deal about not being able to see video between each at bat. Does that really matter? Can’t he watch tape AFTER every game to analyze? Doesn’t matter if we think it matters. HE thinks it matters. So let’s just hope that this doesn’t get into his head and he sucks this year. Don’t ever rule this kind of stuff out with the way professional athletes are so fragile these days.
As for the actual on field product, it’s not horrible. Especially if Verdugo can pan out. Not to mention if Benintendi can actually get back on the upward trajectory again. Pillar was a great signing for the cost, positional flexibility, speed and defense. JBJ has his moments. And honestly, J.D should be fine.
Yeah, there will be no Mookie. And none of these guys will be him either. Nor will Marcus Wilson, if you were wondering. Or any other prospects…this season anyway.
With all the salary paring, will this be the year Rusney Castillo makes it back to the majors? Unlikely. Unfortunately, while he made a ton of dough on the deal, he likely cost himself a major league career at the same time.
Sure, he gets to play baseball every day for a living, albeit in the minors. But wouldn’t he have preferred to take a little less to actually see time in the majors?
Maybe he wasn’t good enough for the majors. But with the amount of stiffs floating around the major leagues, my guess is that he could have been a 4th outfielder somewhere. For some time anyway. Maybe he gets a starting gig on a bad team.
But we will never know. And for all we know, he is just counting his money and doesn’t give a rat’s arse.
There doesn’t appear to be anyone else that should see time in the outfield for the Sox this season, unless they come from outside the organization.
So if you were hoping to see #8 prospect Jarren Duran (Colby??!), you’ll have to wait at least another year or two.
Even without Mookie and with JBJ, I am not going to lose a whole lot of sleep over the outfield, or even the offense in general. It’s the pitchers that scare the bejesus out of me. Either way, here’s hoping the season will get off the ground in the first place…and soon!
…a month ago. The Boston Red Sox should have sold at the trading deadline. Even spelled out specific names that should go.
That 5-2 run in that first half of the 14 game stretch against the Tampa Bay Rays & New York Yankees that wrapped around the deadline? Had a lot of people jumping back on board. Not me. But I admit, I was teetering. And I wrote about that too. Based on the talent factor of this team, perhaps a few bullpen moves at the deadline would springboard this team going forward?
Listen, the Sox are my team. As much as they had underachieved from the beginning of the season until the trade deadline, I truly did not want them to sell off parts and kind of give up on the season. I mean, I want this team competing for a World Series every single year. They have the resources (and allegedly the front office and coaching talent) to put together a great team every year. And they actually SHOULD have a great team this year, closer or no closer.
Watching them play listlessly from April through June led me to believe the best business decision would be to sell at the deadline. In my head, I still felt that was the best move at the end of July. But my heart had me holding onto hope after that 5-2 run (of course this was right after losing 2 of 3 to the wretched Baltimore Orioles, so how rational was even I at that point?).
Boy were all the optimists wrong. And the semi-optimists like myself were also wrong. This team simply quit after the deadline. 0-7 in the last seven against the Rays and Yanks. Even had trouble hanging on in the first game last night against the pathetic Kansas City Royals.
Popular opinion seems to be that the team has kind of quit because the front office kind of quit by not acquiring help at the deadline.
True, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski did zero on July 31st. He only added Andrew Cashner beforehand.
But honestly, do you blame him??
Realistically, Dombrowski should have sold off the parts at the deadline. Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, Rick Porcello, perhaps even Brock Holt are going to be free agents after the season and I would say are unlikely to be back. Jackie Bradley Jr. stinks but will still get over 10 mil in arbitration next year. No one thinks Mookie Betts wants to be here after 2020, so perhaps he could get a haul. J.D. Martinez may opt-out after 2019 (though his numbers are down and injuries are up, so maybe not?). The minor league system is bare. The bullpen is putrid, would an arm or two really help?
As bad as the bullpen has been, the gazillion dollar rotation has been just short of a disaster. Chris Sale has been a colossal disappointment. David Price had pitched well for most of the season, but ever since he went after announcer and former Red Sox Dennis Eckersley kind of needlessly, he has gone in the tank. Nathan Eovaldi has been hurt and now is in the bullpen. Porcello has been atrocious. Eduardo Rodriguez has been pretty good for a while, but he also started out bad.
Maybe the bullpen would be better if the starters could go more than 4-5 innings a game? And we wouldn’t have had to see Colton Brewer, Josh A. Smith, Ryan Weber, Mike Shawaryn, et al, as much as we have?
It’s hard to repeat. And this team did not have “IT” this year for whatever reason. Blame Cora and his approach this spring. Blame Dombrowski for not getting a closer. Blame the players’ attitudes. Blame the schedule…no, not that…nor the umps. And don’t blame John Henry, believe it or not. He spent plenty of money on this team. I don’t blame him for not wanting to go over the luxury tax either. In other years, I may have blamed him. Not this year.
Also, look at the landscape. The Yankees have 100 guys on the DL, yet they still keep trucking along. Need to look no further than Sunday night when they rolled out their AAA lineup and still pummeled Price and the Sox. The Houston Astros are a juggernaut. The Minnesota Twins are having a great year and Tampa and Oakland are up there as well. People are waiting for all three to go away. But they aren’t. Not to mention the Cleveland Indians have heated up and are squarely in the mix.
Based on all of the above, if you were Henry or Dombrowski, would you have emptied the cupboard for an arm or two or some other “help”?
Dombrowski’s press conference may have rankled some fans. But the more I thought about it, the more I was on board with him.
He said stuff like “if we were better in the standings, we would have been more aggressive”. “We like the guys we have”. “This team should be better”. Paraphrasing, but I think we all got the gist.
The Sox are on target to play in the one game wild card tilt if of course they even get there. When your starters have been so bad, what if they get to that game and one of them gets shelled and then the team is done? Was it worth making trades at the deadline?
Most would say “yes”. I may even say “yes” in most years.
But not this year. It’s just a different feel.
I do understand completely also how the team didn’t sell off parts at the deadline as well. Dombrowski and Henry would have been SKEWERED by the fans if they had done so. Plus, this team should be in the mix as currently constructed, closer or no closer.
The offense has a ton of talent, even with Betts, J.D. and Andrew Benintendi slightly underachieving. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez have blossomed. Brock Holt is capable at 2nd. Michael Chavis has emerged. You can live with Bradley if all these guys are going.
The rotation should be one of the better ones around. Contrary to popular belief, there are a few useful arms in that bullpen.
This team should have still been able to make some noise, even without any additions at the deadline.
Dombrowski was in a little bit of a tough spot.
I know I wasn’t in love with the available closer options. Does anyone think that journeyman Shane Greene is really any better than, say, Brandon Workman? I personally don’t think so. But emptying the farm for Greene or Kirby Yates or Kenny Giles? I am ok with not doing that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe they should have re-signed Craig Kimbrel last offseason. Even though he was shaky in the postseason, he’s still elite in the regular season. His contract demands were insane though. Of course, they could have spent other peoples money (Pearce, Eovaldi, others) on Kimbrel. But then again, NO ONE gave Kimbrel what he wanted. Initially anyway. So who knows?
One thing we do know, the Sox will get hot again against some weaker competition in the next few weeks. With this team, you can almost set your watch to it.
Does that mean they will be back in the race? Well, they are only 5.5 games out of the wild card, so I guess we can’t rule that out. There are 47 games left after all.
And yes, I do expect them to tease us once again.
But I am not expecting much more than that. A tease.
I think it’s actually time to get ready for the “Dustin Pedroia Farewell Tour” when rosters expand in September. Sad to say…not that I will be looking forward to it. But Sox fans will eat that up, guaranteed…and it’s sure to sell some tickets anyway…