While the 2014 Boston Red Sox were often a difficult team to watch, they were also a difficult team to write about. It was hard to find optimism in a team that was shut out 15 times, finished 11th in the league in runs and dealt away a fan favorite and their best pitcher (Jon Lester) at the deadline. Time after time, David Ortiz refused to let the news turn negative, as he kept the team afloat as long as he could with 35 homers and 104 RBI. For this reason and others, five out of eight BSI writers dubbed Big Papi the team MVP. Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia and Ben Cherington also received votes.
Who was the 2014 Red Sox team MVP?
Joe Meehan: David Ortiz. I’m not a big believer that you need to hit a lot of home runs to be successful, especially in today’s steroid-less game. But the Red Sox outfield combined to hit 26 home runs this season. Yes, you read that right. And the rest of the team wasn’t exactly bursting with power either. So that left all the heavy-hitting to Ortiz. He was the only guy that could knock in a few runs when the Sox needed them most and the only guy that might put one into the seats at the perfect moment instead of flying out ten feet in front of the wall. The Sox would’ve been beyond boring to watch at times without him. Let’s hope that he didn’t waste his last good season on this year’s team.
Drew Peabody: David Ortiz. He carried the team most of the season, at least until Yoenis Cespedes arrived. Without him, 100 losses would have been hard to avoid. Mike Napoli (55 RBI) was not providing him much protection. When the second-most RBI (Napoli) is 49 less than the team leader, you know you don’t have balance. After Cespedes’ (33 RBI in two months) arrival, Ortiz hit .342/.442/.592 for August. He tailed off in September as a bothersome wrist caught up with him, but it leaves some hope of what the lineup could look like next season.
Rick McNair: David Ortiz. When a player produces 17% of the team’s runs and leads in home runs and RBI it is a simple choice. During the season, when that rare big hit was delivered, it was Ortiz. Tack on the fact that Ortiz appeared to provide council for the younger players in that cauldron known as Boston sports, and that brings forward leadership, one of those intangibles no metric can define. What Ortiz accomplished in a season that was burning away could well pay dividends in a decade down the road as younger players mature and use Ortiz as an example of how you handle adversity.
Conor Duffy: David Ortiz. He’s only a designated hitter, but regardless, Ortiz was once again the key cog in the Red Sox offense. His average dropped down to .263 this season but his power numbers were as good as ever, as he smashed 35 home runs and drove in 104 runs while slugging .517. It wasn’t his finest season but in a dismal year for the Red Sox offense, there’s really no competition.
Sean Sylver: David Ortiz. The Red Sox finished 11th in the Junior Circuit in runs a year after leading the Majors. The only player from 2013 who showed up this year was Big Papi, and oh, what a season he had at age 38. Ortiz provided the few joyful moments of the six month campaign with his tape-measure shots and walk-off bombs. He deserved more out of his teammates and the front office.
Matthew Loper: Brock Holt. The Red Sox MVP undoubtedly goes to the player who wasn’t on anyone’s radar going into the season – the versatile Brock Holt. Holt’s ability to play virtually any position on the field (other than pitcher and catcher) proved crucial in keeping Boston alive mid-season. He finished the season batting .281 in 449 at-bats in a lineup that offered next to zero protection around him. His consistent approach at the plate was a breath of fresh air among an offense that looked lost at times. For a stretch in July, Holt’s play alone made the Red Sox watchable, and he may have single-handedly won a few games for them right before the downward spiral began.
Ryan Hathaway: Ben Cherington. While the legend of Brock Holt captivated the hearts and minds of millions, a red hot summer does not an MVP make. No, my selection for MVP is quite unorthodox, as I will not actually be awarding a player at all. The Most Valuable member of the 2014 Boston Red Sox organization in my mind is none other than the General Manager Ben Cherington. In a year filled with disappointment, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, Ben Cherington brought in two offensive powerhouses to insert into our 2015 lineup. This team desperately lacked speed and power, skill sets that typically come from the leadoff and cleanup slots in the lineup. In Rusney Castillo and Yoenis Cespedes, Cherington has filled that speed and power deficit superbly.
Michele Pettis: Dustin Pedroia. He missed playing time because of injuries. His numbers weren’t what they had been in years past. But there was still something about watching him play that was intriguing. He had fun, and made watching a bad team fun. His heart shows in everything he does and that was a much appreciated ray of sunshine during a very bleak season.