How did the Red Sox fail in 2022?
Coming into this season, the Boston Red Sox were a bit of a question mark.
In theory, the front office had added to a team that defied the odds and went deep into the postseason in 2021. CEO Sam Kennedy says they added, anyway. There was more pitching; not exactly great pitching, but more pitching. But they’d also lost two sluggers in Kyle Schwarber and Hunter Renfroe, and signing Trevor Story didn’t exactly make up for that.
By now, it’s clear that the theory did not actualize on the field. The Sox are careening towards mathematical elimination from the Wild Card race. Injuries decimated the roster all summer, especially in the pitching department. Chris Sale began the season on the Injured List and returned to it almost immediately. Some of their best hitters have seriously underperformed. As the kids say, the vibes are bad.
And as the organization’s Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom shoulders a significant portion – if not the majority – of the blame for these decisions. While ownership can veto his decisions, he leads the charge on ideating and constructing a contending roster, and failed to do so.
Here are the three biggest mistakes of the year:
The Jackie Bradley Jr. trade and release
In theory, the Jackie Bradley Jr. trade made sense. The Sox could sell high on Hunter Renfroe after his great 2021 season and get prospects and a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder with postseason experience in return. Taking on the remainder of Bradley’s contract was a pricy decision, but if it panned out the way they planned, it would be a great homecoming for the homegrown talent.
Unfortunately, their strategy of only using Bradley in the most optimal pitching matchups fell apart almost immediately when his teammates started getting injured. Losing Kiké Hernández, in particular, forced the Sox to make Bradley an everyday starter again. He hit well at Fenway Park and continued to be a plus-defender, but his struggles in virtually every other ballpark hurt the team.
The Sox made a bad situation even worse right after the trade deadline when they DFA’ed and released Bradley while still under obligation to pay the remainder of his salary. Instead of optioning Jarren Duran to Triple-A – which they ended up doing two weeks later – they got rid of Bradley, a better defender by a marathon’s length. The Toronto Blue Jays quickly snatched him up, and he returned to torment the Sox at Fenway last week. Worst of all, the Sox paid him to play against them.