…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!
So, that London series was fun, eh?!
29 runs given up, 21 by that vaunted bullpen that we’ve already covered ad nauseam…sweet. Well, the Boston Red Sox DID score 21 themselves. Of course, after they got down big in both games. Then couldn’t get a key hit to actually come all the way back in either.
Where does this leave the team? I say it’s time to sell off parts.
84 games in and now 11 games behind the division leading New York Yankees. Sure, they are only 2 games out of the second wild card (4 out of the top spot). But does this feel like a team that can make some noise come playoff time?
No F’n way. Not to me anyway. And I think to most of us.
We are not even at the All-Star break quite yet, why am I so ready to throw in the towel?
It’s pretty easy to understand actually. I mean, you have seen how listless they have appeared for most of the year, right?
The players (and the manager, and the front office, and the rest of the organization…) will undoubtedly blame the long 2018 season for the way they came out of the gate for this current season…and how they have kind of sleepwalked since then. And maybe that is a factor…though it really should be a small one.
The Red Sox brought 21 of the 25 guys back who were on the World Series roster last season. And one of the departed, Drew Pomeranz, doesn’t even count since he didn’t even pitch for several weeks down the stretch, including the playoffs. Ian Kinsler, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel were essentially the only departures. Most of the guys on the current roster were here last year as well, although not active for the World Series, or the playoffs for that matter. But here nonetheless.
Really, when you think about it, the only two players that have played more than a minor role on this years’ team that was not involved in any way last year at all are Michael Chavis and Colton Brewer. I’ll give you Marcus Walden too if you like. Since he pitched a few innings early in the year and then was never to be heard from again.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that is not enough player turnover. You need new blood every year, but especially after winning it all. Keeps the fire burning and everyone is presumably still hungry.
Add this to the fact that Manager Alex Cora simply did not have the team ready to go right out of Spring Training, another colossal mistake. “We did the same thing last year…” he liked to say in April. Welp, every year is different, so they need to be treated differently. Even I know that.
With this, the wretched bullpen that is like FOUR arms away from being useful, four arms that aren’t anywhere near the organization at this time and everything else, my recommendation is that they make some deals at the trade deadline. Sending guys out that is.
The team has already made it clear that they do not want to go over the luxury tax limit. So where are they going to acquire good bullpen arms, to start? They have no real prospects to give up, ones that other teams want anyway. So how do they fix things?
Since the farm system is so barren, maybe it’s time to see what some of these players can get you? Granted, most of these guys won’t fetch much. But you never know.
There is one trade deadline this year, on July 31st. No more “waiver” deadline on August 31st. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. At first blush, I say no. Some decent deals can happen in August. There are two full months to go after the deadline as it stands this year. That is a long time. Still a lot of clubs that think they have a chance. That number dwindles in August and makes things ripe for more deals. I don’t think I like it, but let’s see how it plays out this first year in existence.
So if the Sox are going to make moves, they have to happen sooner rather than later. And, as stated above, how can one be confident in this team as currently constituted going forward?
Not to mention that stretch in late July/early August with the 14 games in 15 days against only the Yanks and Tampa Bay. 8 of them against the Yankees, what is that 2-6 maybe?
So this will never happen at all, I will guarantee it. The Sox have spent too much money and there is too much talent on the roster for the organization to wave the white flag. They all will think they can turn that proverbial switch when it matters too. But let’s take a quick look below at specific things I would do, or at least consider doing, before July 31st, by positional group:
Catcher: No need to do anything here. Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are good enough. But maybe they can get Blake Swihart back? (I may never give this up!). Although Blake has been even more atrocious in Arizona than he was in Boston. That’s what happens when you play once every 10-15 days or so I guess.
Infield: Mitch Moreland and Steven Pearce seemed like a GREAT idea to platoon at first base for the 2019 season when it started. Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Both of these contracts will expire at seasons end and it seems that Chavis has kind of locked in that first base role at this point anyway. If healthy, both Moreland and Pearce can provide some value to a (real) contending team. They won’t fetch a ton, but it should be considered.
Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez also are up at the end of the season. These guys won’t get you anything so I guess I probably wouldn’t bother. I don’t think I don’t want either of these dudes back next year, so maybe they can explore it. I’d actually take Holt back, but he may be up for a decent raise…and he can never stay healthy either. And I don’t want to see him every day at second base next year anyway.
Outfield: Here’s the big one. To start, let’s ship Jackie Bradley Jr. out of town as soon as possible. He hit .315 with 5 homers and 14 RBIs in June. .992 OPS. There is his hot month. He is making 8.5 mil this year, with one more year of arbitration next year. Probably get 10-12 mil or so. For 5 bad months and one good one. Let’s sell high now and hope some team is dumb enough to give them something good for him.
The elephant in the room? Mookie Betts. I am not in favor of moving him just to move him. But if he is really not going to sign here long term, then the reality is the Sox need to shop him. I have no idea if he wants to re-sign here. But it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. And that is the popular opinion. The Red Sox HAVE to know how he feels, way better then Joe Fan does. If he is truly a flight risk, the Sox need to take action. Don’t be rash, but it has to be a real option. Although I will take a proven Major League player over prospects 100 times out of a 100, this may be an opportunity to do some replenishing on the farm.
J.D. Martinez has to be a consideration to move too. I believe there is a pretty good chance he opts out after this year and tries to secure that one last guaranteed contract…for more than he is supposed to get the next three years. Again, the team has to have a better idea of his feelings on opting in or out after the season. If the sense is that he will opt out, trades would have to be explored here.
Pitching staff: I don’t have the stomach to split out the bullpen and no one wants any of those guys anyway. The one starter that should have some value is Rick Porcello. Seeing he’s up after this year and the signing of Nathan Eovaldi basically ensured the Sox wouldn’t re-sign him, Porcello should be shopped. Sure, he’s not the “Cy Young Rick Porcello” this season, but he can eat innings and contribute to a contender. No doubt about it.
Once again, none of this will happen. Then the Sox will squeak into the playoffs and lose in the first round.
But think about it, even if the Sox were able to unload most of the players with expiring contracts (or close to it) talked about above, they would still have a nice core of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Chris Sale, David Price, Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez (I guess), Vazquez, Chavis and I suppose a couple of bullpen arms that can work the 6th and 7th. Maybe some decent major league players coming back in trades. Perhaps a top (real) prospect or three. And all of a sudden some money to spend, being not right up against the luxury tax anyway.
A World Series winning team? Unlikely. But making the best of a bad situation? Perhaps…It COULD be an interesting few weeks for the Red Sox. If they want it to be…