No. 21: 2012 Red Sox (69-93)
The 2012 Red Sox were set up to fail before the season’s first pitch was even thrown. The clubhouse was still fractured after the previous season’s September collapse, and management was in disarray after the resignation of manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein.
Unfortunately, Boston picked the worst person to replace Francona in Bobby Valentine. Valentine butted heads with many of the Red Sox top players, including franchise cornerstones Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, and the team’s under-performance only heightened the tensions.
Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Josh Beckett all had career-worst seasons on the mound, and the bullpen was in shambles after the loss of All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies. Meanwhile, injuries to David Ortiz (90 games), Jacoby Ellsbury (74), and breakout rookie Will Middlebrooks (75) suppressed the offense.
The Red Sox were an uninspired 62-67 in late August before they dumped high-priced veterans Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford (not to mention Nick Punto) to the Dodgers. The September 2012 Red Sox were as unrecognizable as any team in recent memory, as over-the-hill veterans paired with unproven youngsters who would never amount to anything to go just 7-22 in the month.