Most disappointing Red Sox in the first half -- No. 2: Corey Kluber
Look, the Corey Kluber signing was never going to give the Red Sox another ace. We were never going to get the Cy Young-winning version of Kluber that terrified the AL Central for years, that version of Corey Kluber got left behind in Cleveland. I think the Red Sox had hoped for a 2022 Michael Wacha-type season: a veteran coming into a rotation to be a solid middle-to-end of the rotation option that can surprise some teams with his effectiveness (man, I never thought I'd say I miss Michael Wacha, but boy do I miss him). And then, Kluber was announced as the Opening Day starter.
Based on his performance this year, and the development of the young arms coming into the rotation, I feel like it can be pretty confidently said that Kluber's 2024 team option will not be picked up by the Red Sox in the coming offseason. No matter whether Kluber has been in the starting rotation or used as a bullpen piece, nothing has worked for him this year. He currently stands with an ERA of 7.04 and a career-low ERA+ of 65 (counting full seasons in his career), and I genuinely don't see any team after this year's performance giving Kluber a look after this season.
Most disappointing Red Sox in the first half -- No. 3: Kaleb Ort
Let me preface this by saying Ort has actually improved from his 2022 season, with significant drops in opponent's hard hit percentage, opponent's batting average, and an improvement in ERA, ERA+, and his strikeout-walk ratio. I didn't expect to have anything positive to say about Kaleb Ort this season, but I'll give him that there are signs of some sort of improvement.
Yet Ort has still been an awful piece out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. He holds the worst ERA+ of Red Sox relievers who are consistently on the gameday roster, he never strikes confidence in anyone when he enters a game for the Red Sox, and he's reached the territory for me that Ryan Brasier reached before he was DFA'd, where no matter what he did during an appearance, I cursed Alex Cora for even bringing him into the game.
While the bullpen hasn't been apocalyptically bad like it was last season, it certainly hasn't been helped by Ort, which is disappointing to see, to say the absolute least.