What Direction Should the Red Sox Go In?
It’s crazy to think but the Red Sox are already 20% done with their 2020 schedule in this shortened season. Obviously the team has fallen flat on the already very low expectations that they had entering the season, but with a record of 4-8 through the first two weeks, you have to question what direction this team is going to go in over the next few years. The pitching has been nothing short of horrendous as the staff currently carries in the 4th worst ERA in the entire MLB, which is actually an improvement as they had the highest ERA just a few days ago. The rotation is laugh out loud bad, with guys like Austin Brice, Matt Hall, Josh Osich, and Zack Godley rotating as the 4th and 5th options for Roenicke. The bullpen isn’t much better and it feels as if most of the guys pitching for this team are only going to be here for 1 year and will then never be heard from again, at least that’s what I’m hoping happens.
(Picture Credit: MassLive.com)
The Red Sox find themselves in a bit of a predicament, as the trade deadline is only 25 days away and there are many important decisions that need to be made during this time that could really affect the future of the team. There’s a lot to look at with the team right now, the first being do they want to make a push for the playoffs? I know, that sounds absolutely crazy, but as of right now the team is only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot in an A.L East division that has looked very weak besides the Yankees so far. Remember, the playoffs this year have been expanded to 16 teams, so the first AND second place teams in each division will reach the postseason, along with two additional wild card teams.
Do I think it would be smart for the Red Sox to try and push for the postseason this year? No, not really, but if the current roster is able to turn it around and put a close to .500 product on the field, I think it would be fun to watch this team in the playoffs, even though it would probably be pretty ugly. The team has been so bad so far that it really can’t get much worse, so I think we’ll see flashes of better play in the next few weeks. I’m not saying they’re going to have the best record in the American League, but when 3 of your best hitters (Martinez, Devers, and Benintendi) are heavily slumping and your pitching has been some of the worst in the and you’re still only 1.5 games out of the playoffs, then I believe there’s a chance you can sneak in.
(Picture Credit: Boston Herald)
Tanking in baseball is hard, very hard, and the first pick in the MLB draft doesn’t always secure you a superstar like it does in the other 3 major sports leagues. That’s why I feel like we shouldn’t be rooting for the Red Sox to lose every game this for a high draft pick, but should instead be rooting for the team to make moves that will better this team for 2021, 2022, and beyond. Yes, it’s tempting to make a move for a pitcher so this team can sneak into the playoffs this year, but if it hurts the team in the long run then it’s a bad decision. You have to remember that this expanded playoff format is only for this season so if cheap fix moves are made to sneak in as the 8th team in the A.L playoffs this year, it may hurt the team next year. I know it’s hard to say as a Red Sox fan, as they’ve had so much success over the past 15-20 years, but we need to look 2-3 years into the future at this point and start prioritizing what we want to do with this team.
Trading Mookie Betts was a clear giveaway that the owners and management want to go in a different direction with this team then they have in the past. Another giveaway of this was the hiring of Chaim Bloom, the new director of baseball operations for the organization. Bloom spent his entire career before his role with the Red Sox, with the Tampa Bay Rays, learning how to build a winning team from strong scouting and budget contracts. This is obviously what the owners want to do for the next few years as trading the 2nd best player in baseball to shed some salary says no other thing except, we want to save some money.
(Picture Credit: 98.5 The Sports Hub)
That’s fine if you can do that successfully but it’s going to take some time and 2020 is the year where you start assembling the pieces that you want for this rebuild. Is Andrew Benintendi the real deal or is he just an average outfielder with a below average bat? Which of our top pitching prospects in Pawtucket are viable options for this team's bullpen and rotation over the next few years? And which young players do you want to lock up for the next 5-6 years? (Vazquez, E-Rod, Devers) These are all questions that are going to need to be answered this year and I trust that Chaim Bloom and his team are taking a very close look at these things during this time. There’s a lot of variables with this team and I think that if trading a guy like Jackie Bradley Jr, Mitch Moreland, or Kevin Pillar, nets you some solid pitching prospects for the future, then I say go ahead and do it.
Sure, the team may get hot and go on an 8 game win streak at some point this year, that may propel them into the playoffs, but the roster that’s available right now is not a solid enough team to stay competitive going forward. At this point, I think decisions may be made on a game to game basis, but if the Red Sox receive an offer that betters them for the future, don’t be surprised if they take it, even if trading a guy like J.D Martinez. At this point nothings off the table for this team.
- Andrew Gardner, UNH '23