Former Red Sox stars reunite in Hollywood at the All-Star Game
The All-Star Break is always a point in the season that I look forward to. When I was a kid, this week would always match up with when we’d go on our family vacations so I have fond memories of watching the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby from places all over the country. As an adult, it gives me, and I’m sure plenty of others in Red Sox Nation, a chance to take a breath and relax from the usual stress of the season.
This break is no different, while I may not be on vacation, this 2022 season has given us more than enough stress to feel like we need one. The Red Sox have been crushed by injuries as of late so a few extra days off is more than needed for the squad to get healthy. I was checking out all of the media and pomp and circumstance surrounding the week when I stumbled on a photo last night.
J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts were taking part in a photo op when they were reunited with former Red Sox stars Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. The five all played roles in delivering Boston its ninth World Series crown back in 2018 and while their journeys have taken different paths, they’re all still close.
Seeing the five of them together again put a massive smile on my face. In my opinion, that group should’ve never been broken up, and while some of the returns have made a degree of impact, it still feels like a missed opportunity. We all know how well Julio, Xander, and Raffy are doing in 2022, but let’s check in with Benny and Mookie.
Benintendi started the season as a man on a mission and he has yet to lift his foot off of the gas pedal. In the early goings of the 2022 campaign, he was one of the hottest hitters in the game and had many in Red Sox Nation ready to chock the trade up as a massive loss. He had a big bounceback season in 2021 but what he’s done up to this point has made even that effort look minuscule.
The Gold Glove outfielder is raking to the tune of a .317/.386/.401 slash with 14 doubles, 3 homers, and 37 RBI. While Kansas City is firmly in the basement of the AL Central they do have a few bright spots in their lineup on a nightly basis, Benny being a big one. He’ll be a free agent after this season and at just 28 years old he has plenty of baseball left in him. I don’t know what his future holds, but he’ll be the youngest in the left-field free agent market next winter and his resume could earn him a nice deal somewhere competitive.
And now for a guy who won’t be a free agent for a long time, it’s Mookie time. Betts is doing exactly what he’s always done and is loving life in Hollywood. Since the trade that sent him to Los Angeles, he’s gotten married, added a few more individual honors, and oh yeah another World Series ring. While he isn’t quite on the trajectory of his AL MVP season he’s still crushing it with the Dodgers and deserves to be honored in front of his home crowd fans.
Mookie has a .265/.340/.523 line while smashing 20 bombs and having 47 RBI. He’s a part of one of the most star-studded lineups in the league and has proven on many occasions that he deserves to be in that group. This is his sixth trip to the Midsummer Classic and I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be his last. If he can keep healthy and keep his production near where it is he’ll have quite a few more awards for the mantle.
It was awesome seeing these five back together and if you’re like me then you instantly went into the “what-if” scenarios. As sports fans, we’re always thinking about hypotheticals and when you look at that 2018 club it’s hard to not be bummed that they only won one title. They should’ve been far more competitive in 2019 and by the time that season ended it was too late. Ownership started shaking up not just the roster but the front office. Again, what if?
Speaking of shake-ups, the Red Sox are about to look a whole lot different after this season. Boston has a large list of potential free agents soon to hit the market including J.D., as well as, the impending opt-out of Bogey. Xander has made it clear he doesn’t want to leave but simply wants to be paid more competitively in regards to the other shortstops in the league. Martinez has also said on multiple occasions that he wants to retire in Boston, but now that the Universal DH exists, he has options.
I hate thinking about more pieces from that 2018 championship team playing elsewhere and in other jerseys but at the end of the day, it’s nothing personal and strictly business. None of us know where this team will go in the second half and beyond so we have to take in as many of these moments while we still can. This picture is more than just some old friends getting back together to catch up, it could be a look at what’s to come for the Red Sox when the offseason hits.