Jerry reviews the interesting season that was 2012 for the Boston Red Sox.
I thought a great deal about whether or not I should do a formal post mortem of this past season, mostly because the term implies that there was at one point or another, life. Whatever pulse this edition of the Sox had, was in my opinion, crushed last April by the now famous Dustin Perdroia response to Bobby V.’s preceived criticism of Kevin Youklis, when he said, “That’s not how we do thinks here. He’ll learn.” Because he was looked upon as one of the leaders of the Red Sox, those words, combined with a historical number of injuries and badly underperforming starting pitching, led to one of the worst Red Sox seasons since the days of my youth. The now departed Valentine often fanned the flames of his own demise with hard to follow responses to media questions that were often design to create controversy. Although a case for giving him a second year could have easily been made, it seemed unlikely for quite some time and was quickly dealt with once the season ended.
So I guess that would be my post season review in a nutshell. Trying to find new ways of saying that the Sox were difficult to like and often difficult to watch, is an exhausting prospect at this point, so I won’t do it. All I can say is I was right about one thing; they were entertaining, in a bad reality TV kind of way.
Okay, so what about next year? Will the “Great Salary Dump of 2012”, make this general manager any wiser than the last one? Is John Farrell the answer to all our managerial needs? Obviously only time can give us definitive answers to these burning questions, but I do think it’s reasonable to believe that the Sox could at least be in the hunt for a wild card spot, albeit from the back of the pack. At this point, they are probably the eighth “best” team in the AL behind New York, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Texas, LAA, and Oakland. (Not to mention a healthy Toronto.) So they have their work cut out for them.
The Sox would seem to be set for 2013 at third base with Will Middlebrooks, and second with Pedroia (who redeemed himself somewhat with hardnose play over the second half of the season). But, where else you ask? Mike Aviles was a pleasant surprise at shortstop, and will likely have to do for another season as Jose Iglesias, as slick as he is, doesn’t seem ready, and Pedro Ciriaco seems better in a utility role. I would expect them to re-sign Cody Ross to play left, and will at least start the season with Jacoby Ellsbury in center. (My guess is that Ellsbury will be the centerpiece in a big trade deadline deal next July.)
Look for Ryan Kalish and Ryan Sweeney to contend for spots, but GM Ben, will likely make a concerted effort to sign Nick Swisher to play right field, and possibly some first base. Other names of interest being bandy about at first are the Twins’ Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, although the sharing of contracts would probably be part of that happening.
As for the catching, it looks like Boston plans on going forward with Ryan Lavarnway handling the bulk of the duties, despite his rather tired effort this September. Talk around Jarrod Saltalamacchia has included trading him, (to the Twins?) using him at first, and/or DHing him. There’s also conversations around here about maybe getting Mike Napoli from Texas, in trade for one of the previous mentioned catchers, but that might be more dream than reality. As for the current DH, David Ortiz, given that he really has been absent the last two Septembers, it’s time to move on and let Mauro Gomez (International League MVP) take over.
On paper at least, the pitching doesn’t seem all that bad. (Although, where have I heard that before…) Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz may never be number ones, but they should be solid two and three starters. Felix Doubront had a very respectable season and, in addition, both John Lackey and Franklin Morales could help the back end of the rotation. I know there are those people out there who expect Boston to make a run at Hiroki Kuroda, but I’ve seen little that leads me to believe that would be a successful effort, so they will likely be looking to sign a possible front of the rotation guy like Jake Peavy. The bullpen, which wore out from overuse this year, will benefit from a healthy Andrew Bailey, with Junichi Tazawa as his set up man. I don’t expect Dice-K or Alfredo Aceves to be back, but stranger things have happened.
I realize that it’s a bit early to be talking about next year, especially with the flames of what was a wreck of a season still smoldering, but it was therapeutic for me. Of course, then I go and watch former Red Sox hurler Bronson Arroyo go out and throw seven innings of one hit ball, and I feel ill all over again. Tell me again why we can’t get guys like that…
Featured image courtesy of: Jared Wickersham/Getty Images
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