Boston Red Sox 2019 season should now be considered over
The Boston Red Sox are not officially dead in the playoff race, but with Chris Sale now-departed it is time for a eulogy on the 2019 season.
The five stages of baseball grief regarding the dismal and disappointing 2019 season has now culminated with stage five – acceptance. Maybe a few will linger waiting for the inevitable mathematical eventuality where the last numbers officially cancel out 2019 for the Boston Red Sox.
Red Sox Nation is quite fortunate in that with the adversity mention we have collectively been on that journey before. Each previous championship this century has been followed by varying degrees of disappointment, including a horrific last-place finish. If there is any positive to dredge from the negative then historically we will have another championship a few years down the road.
The eulogy for this past season – I am now speaking in terms of it being over – is easy for even a baseball novice to dissect – pitching. As Earl Weaver – a noted baseball philosopher/manager stated: “Everything revolves around that little bump in the middle of the diamond.”
The pitching was a collective effort as both the bullpen and rotation displayed a level of cooperation to see just what ingenious ways they could devise to blow up a game. If you needed pallbearers for the season I would certainly round-up the staff to haul the casket to the end of season cemetery – based, of course, on arms being healthy enough to handle the chore.
Is manager Alex Cora blameless regarding the pitching? I would say everyone involved in player procurement to coaching has a level of compliance, but Cora would be down on that ladder. My finger would point at the president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski as patient zero in my quest to assign goat horns. Dombo is not alone.
Dana LeVangie is one half of the pitching coach operation and the other half is Brian Bannister who has a rather convoluted corporate title of Vice President, Pitching Development/Assistant Pitching Coach. Does that fit on his office door? Bannister is a noted practitioner of metrics and I am sure the numbers he crunches is as disappointing as what opposition bats have crunched during the season.
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Late in the season, Dombrowski made a rather introspective statement regarding his nothing bullpen that it is “basically has been fine.” I would be sorely tempted to say that ludicrous statement is reason enough for expulsion from any position of responsibility.
The Red Sox are now in the unenviable position of attempting to get back on track as in making a serious run for redemption (playoffs) for 2020. The obvious starting point is usually what it always is in baseball – pitching. The Red Sox already have potentially four starters – worth about $100 MM – ready to go – health and temperament is the key.
What the Red Sox also have is money and maybe a willingness to spend. This is a team that has no issue shedding exorbitant contracts (Pablo Sandoval) or paying punitive bonus money to sign Yoan Moncada. This is not Kansas City or Cincinnati or less generous teams.
The Red Sox also have talent that can be jettisoned to get needed arms. Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are zeroing in on free agency and the rumor mill – especially with Betts – is grinding out possible trade scenarios. My only concern is the Red Sox end up trading a wooden bat for a wooded and not rubber arm.
The reality is the blame game does little to reverse our angst. If anger is your method of eventually accomplishing acceptance than join me, but my focus is now clear on this season. This team is just a giant dust bunny and the real game starts now and that is contemplating a revival. Just how to do it?