The most obvious of all is the loss of Ortiz and management’s failure to replace Ortiz’s bat. Mitch Moreland was no Ortiz and I doubt any sane or semi-sane Red Sox fan expected Moreland to be a replacement. Moreland represented a one-year plug who would give you a nice 20 home run, 80 RBI season and Gold Glove-caliber defensive play.
Moreland did his part and will most certainly convert his fine season into a significant salary boost as he enters free agency. Moreland was part of a dual situation with Hanley Ramirez and that becomes a nice subset to this section since Hanley did little to impress. Was it his shoulder? Whatever it was his bat became a tissue paper wrap with just 23 home runs and 62 RBI – the same RBI total as Dustin Pedroia.
If the game plan was Hanley coming back with a 30/100 season it failed, but what about the player that should have been here? The player Ortiz proselytized for? The player that almost universally Red Sox fans wanted in Fenway Park. The player who has 17 home runs in 202 at-bats at Fenway.
Edwin Encarnacion hit 38 home runs for the Indians and drove in 107. Now Boston is on the hunt for doing what should have been done last offseason and get that power bat. Will it be J.D. Martinez? Will it be a trade for Giancarlo Stanton? Will it be another free agent or another trade?
Management screwed up big time. They know it. The media knows it. The fans know it and the players know it. A Red Sox team that finishes last in the American League on home runs? The world turned upside down.