The Boston Red Sox will be the missing the postseason this year despite there being eight spots available in the American League. The 2020 season was certainly one to forget, as they finished with a record of 24-36 and were bad enough to get the fourth pick in the MLB Draft.
The team announced before the final game of the season that Ron Roenicke was not going to be returning to manage the team in 2021 so just like the fans, the organization is looking to put this year in the rearview mirror.
But with that said, here a few takeaways from this unique 60-game season.
1. Pitching was a HUGE problem
The Red Sox entered Spring Training 1.0 with a pretty solid rotation despite losing two starters in the rotation, but then on Opening Day (in July) Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez were not available and Nathan Eovaldi was forced to take the mound as their best starter.
The rotation was mostly filled by Chris Mazza, Martin Perez, and a bunch of minor leaguers the majority of the year so there was no way the Red Sox were going to stay afloat when they had zero starting pitching depth.
The bullpen was arguably even worse. Brandon Workman was not the same reliever he was at the back end of 2019 before he was traded to the Phillies and Matt Barnes, their closer, finished with a 4.30 ERA.
2. The Betts deal might not be as bad as it seems
Yes, Mookie Betts was on track to being one of the best players in Red Sox history. He won the 2018 AL MVP over the best player this generation has seen and he was a big part of bringing another World Series title to Boston.
But the Red Sox were never going to sign him and while he is going to be in Los Angeles for 12 more years, Chaim Bloom looks better than he did at the time of the trade. Alex Verdugo was the centerpiece of the deal and he was Boston’s MVP this season–hitting .308 (higher BA than Betts) with a .844 OPS at the top of the order.
While there is some uncertainty about what the Red Sox outfield will look like next season–as Andrew Benintendi struggled mightily before he was hurt this year and Jackie Bradley Jr. is a free agent–it seems like Verdugo will be a star in Boston for years to come.
3. This year is not an indicator of what next year can bring
Yes, this year was bad…really, really bad. But Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez will be returning to the rotation. J.D. Martinez looks like he will opt-in to the remainder of his deal while Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts are still in the middle of the order.
An important thing to remember is ownership has now gotten back under the luxury tax, which was a big goal they wanted to reach this past winter, so now they have an opportunity to spend some money on bullpen and rotation help, as they also transition into a new manager (or a familiar one) at the helm in 2021.
There’s a lot to look forward to this off-season so make sure to keep it here for all updates and analysis.
(Photo: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)