The 2021 Boston Red Sox shocked many people with a surprise playoff run that nearly got them to the World Series. It was unexpected, but a pleasant surprise for sure. Coming off that stellar run, expectations were high heading into the offseason.
Instead of capitalizing on that deep run however, Boston squandered a perfect opportunity. The team SHOULD have built on their success, fortifying their position as a contender in the AL.
Instead, the Sox failed to patch up really any of the major holes in the team. As good as the 2021 team was, there were some glaring weaknesses. Chief among them was pitching, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Boston was carried largely by their offense in 2021. Had they possessed better pitching, they could have won the whole thing. They made very little quality additions to their pitching staff.
To make matters worse, they allowed key offensive pieces like Kyle Schwarber and Hunter Renfroe to leave the team. They then replaced said offensive pieces with subpar players in Bobby Dalbec and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Fast forward to today, and you’re seeing the ripple affects of a mismanaged offseason. The Sox currently sit at 54-55 on the season. If the playoffs started today, Boston would not be apart of them. Not exactly where a team two wins away from the World Series was supposed to be.
The team has been an absolute mess of late. Since July 1st, the team has gone just 11-22. A team once poised for the playoffs now sits dead last in the AL East. This was always bound to happen, it was only a matter of time. The shoddy patch job done by Chaim Bloom finally gave.
To be fair to Bloom, injuries have played a pretty large role in the team’s demise. Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Trevor Story, Kike Hernandez, and Rafael Devers have all missed large chunks of time this season.
The injuries however cannot serve as the lone scapegoat for Boston’s failures in 2022. Rather, they are a simply an added catalyst for this team’s dissapointment.
The reality is even without the injuries, this team is greatly flawed. The pitching was the largest concern coming into the season. Bloom’s answer was to slap together a rag tag group of vets to “fix” the problem. For a while, it sustained, especially during the month of June.
However, guys like Michael Wacha and Rich Hill were never sustainable solutions. Granted, nobody could have seen Eovaldi missing most of the year. Chris Sale getting re-injured (again) didn’t help things either. The injuries simply highlighted the fact that Bloom failed to truly strengthen the rotation.
The bullpen has been much of the same story. Thankfully for Boston, unlikely hero John Schreiber has stepped up for the Sox. Outside of him though, the bullpen has been a mess. The team relied on the likes of Hansel Robles and Jake Diekman in large roles. Neither of those two are still on the team as I write this.
Above all this though, the most egregious mistakes created by Bloom were the Schwarber and Renfroe situations. Understandably, you can’t pay everyone. However, letting Schwarber walk AND trading away Renfroe was unforgivable.
Boston got rid of two solid producing hitters, and replaced them with subpar successors. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been a notoriously bad hitter his entire career. Bradley Jr. has a career .228 average, and was batting just .210 this season in Boston. That was of course until the Red Sox released him this week.
The guy he replaced? Hunter Renfroe is batting .245 with 19 homeruns on the season in Milwaukee. Bradley Jr. had only 3 homeruns all season.
Hunter Renfroe benches 525 for reps, but we already knew that. pic.twitter.com/eABg5iLcXh— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 30, 2022
It’s a similar story with Kyle Schwarber in Philadelphia. Schwarber made his second consecutive All-Star appearance this season. Although he is only hitting .202 on the year, he has hit 34 homeruns. That 34 homerun total currently leads the NL. Dalbec meanwhile is hitting about the same with a .205 average, but just 11 homeruns on the year.
The Schwarber/Renfroe pairing possess a +39 homerun differential over the Bradley Jr./Dalbec pairing. The Red Sox rank just 18th in baseball for home runs with 105 on the year. That 39 homerun differential would bump them all the way up to 5th in the Majors.
The reality is, Boston’s offense has just not been as potent as it was last year. Again, injuries have played a hand in that. Yet, the loss of guys like Schwarber and Renfroe have definitely hurt the offense. Last season Boston ranked in the top five in runs scored. This season they are currently ranked just 11th.
Although the season isn’t over, and anything can happen, it’s needless to say this season was not at all what Boston fans were expecting. Thanks to poor offseason decisions by Chaim Bloom, we’ll never know just how good this team could have been.
Featured Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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