Revisionist History Stinks
This is what happens when the Red Sox go through a stretch of lousy baseball. Everyone gets very short memories. One of the things I like about the blog, is when I make a statement, it's here, unaltered, later. I get to see (like everyone else) what I got right, what I got wrong, etc. Whether it's the Sox or Real Estate, my triumphs and failures are here for public consumption.
Not so with radio in this town, and print is scarcely better.
Driving around today, I had to listen to the fact that the Red Sox's outfield was "broken", "worst in baseball", and more. Which it is. But they then starting carping about that it was management's failure in the offseason.I'm thinking to myself, "hmmm, I don't remember anyone complaining out their outfield last year.". Do you? They are killing JBJ, who is not hitting, but even I knew he was a ninth hitter on this team, long before the Sox got their rings. His offensive numbers were acceptable in AAA, but hardly stellar, so what really was the expectation here? As for managment, what?
Sure the Sox have problems this year - but
I'm not sure they were "Avoidable".
What were they supposed to do? Sign Jacoby Ellsbury? Everyone agrees that contract was stupid. Cut Victorino? After last year, even I was convinced he was worth every penny. Am I going to blame the Red Sox because he played through pain last year, delivered a championship, and can't get his body right because of it? I don't think so. Should blame be place on the Sox putting JBJ in center? Not at all. Sure, he's hit below expectations, but he's a work in progress, and not a thumper.
Let's be clear, you were losing a top player in Ellsbury - but you were hoping to replace him with a significant player in Boegarts. Sound crazy? It wasn't.
So far this year we have Boegarts slash line: .297/.389/.842
compared to Ellsbury last year: .298/.355/.781
Guess what? Mission accomplished. The player who leads Boston in OWAR? Boegarts. And defensively you are better too - Ellsbury/Drew vs. Bradley/Boegarts? Drew is better than Boegarts, but Bradley is awfully good in center, and I think he's got the nod there.
What about left field?
Oh, yes, left field. Last year, the platoon at the position, Nava and Gomes produced : .278 /.356 / .790, with a note here that Nava produced most of the numbers, but Gomes had some big ABs and RBIs, just like this year, with more unimpressive stats. Even so, they combined to be top 10 in MLB at the position, which could be improved, but hey, it was hardly a position of NEED. NO ONE was saying, "hey, get rid of Nava, he's a stiff" after the World Series. NO ONE predicted he would flat out forget how to hit. So they left it the position the same. Sure, in hindsight, you could have traded Nava. But who trades a guy with his numbers? (Note: He'll remember how to hit again. You don't hit .300 with a .389 OBP by accident). But that's what happened. So you had one injury, one offensive swap and one guy get lost at the plate. There's no mistake there by management. Some bad luck, maybe. Some evidence that you were a little thin offensively. But no obvious mistake.
As to Sizemore, he was a not supposed to be the "solution" at CF. JBJ was the solution, and Sizemore was part-time insurance. Expectations that he could play 500 AB's were never expressed by the club, and frankly were unreasonable by any measure. Your outfield was solid: Nava/Gomes in Left, JBJ in center, and Victorino in RF. You had Sizemore as a fifth outfielder!!!!!!!! How good was he supposed to be??
What Really Happened
You needed Middlebrooks to improve and Napoli to stay healthy -neither happened. So your issues were first, third, and left field, and you were breaking in two rookies. Hey, you're going to lose some games that way. That's OK, stick it out, and we'll see where we are at the end of July. The mistake the Sox made was signing Drew. What for? You need offense. He's a marginal upgrade offensively AT BEST. And now we risk losing Boegarts at short-stop, where he was a premium player. He might never come back from third. I don't get it. I mean, Drew hit .253/.333/.777 . He was BRUTAL in the playoffs, and had stretches in the regular season where he was just as bad. He was BAD. He had some hot streaks, and the rest of the time was BAD. It's that simple. But the revisionists will tell he was really good against righties, so he's a good player. He's an average to below average player. That's it. Leave Boegarts at SS, and solve your thrid base problems later in the season - if they don't fix themselves.
Well, I'm too late on the Drew advice, but to my mind, that was the first mistake that the Sox Brass made this year.