Poor start by Boston Red Sox reinforces poor offseason

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Trevor Story #10 of the Boston Red Sox fields his position during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Thursday April 21, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Trevor Story #10 of the Boston Red Sox fields his position during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Thursday April 21, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox have begun the 2022 season In a not so glorious way sitting about five games under .500 after about 23 games. They are just a game ahead of the hapless cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles.

That’s not exactly the script Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom, Manager Alex Cora or Red Sox Nation would have written.

Yet, neither is it to be totally unexpected. Championship clubs are made in the offseason in any major sport. They then play the games and absent monumental injury scenarios, you usually are what your offseason said you would be.

For the Sox, the seeds of this early dip in fortune were not really to be unexpected after a controversial offseason. Let’s take a look at what happened.

The Boston Red Sox zigged when they should have zagged

The moves made by the Red Sox were controversial in some cases and not so controversial in others. Their major dip into free agency was to sign shortstop (the operative word) Trevor Story to a long-term contract. He’s playing second base.

Story is hitting a paltry .217 with no home runs and five RBIs, not exactly lighting it up after signing a mega-contract. Hopefully, he’ll snap out of this malaise or this could be a long, hot summer indeed at Fenway.

The Sox also brought back Jackie Bradley Jr. and is paying him about $12M. Bradley is batting an embarrassing .147 with no homers and 5 RBIs to date.

Together, Story and Bradley aren’t exactly painting a Rembrandt-style picture of the Red Sox’s two most significant offseason acquisitions.

In addition, big money, $10M, was paid to James Paxton, a pitcher who hasn’t suited up yet and may not until July or later. Paxton is coming off Tommy John surgery. A $10M gamble on injured goods can’t be helping Chaim Bloom sleep well these days.

On the plus side, lower-cost pitchers Michael Wacha and Rich Hill have performed well, each having logged 4 starts. So all is not gloom and doom in Beantown, yet.

Two big mistakes that have cost the Boston Red Sox

Compounding the poor performance of the biggest acquisitions, are two subtractions from the feared 2021 lineup that have depleted Boston’s offensive firepower.

One was the non-resigning of slugger Kyle Schwarber and the other was the ill-advised trade of Hunter Renfroe for the aforementioned Jackie Bradley Jr.

While this is a rehash of prior missives it remains relevant in light of the abysmal production or lack thereof of the Red Sox offense in the first nearly 25 games.

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Both players were an integral part of the late-season run that helped propel the unlikely Red Sox into the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Yet, in his two poorest moves of the offseason, Bloom traded the uber-productive Renfroe ostensibly for Bradley’s defense (couldn’t have been his hitting), and it hasn’t worked out.

Renfroe’s home run power is in Milwaukee where predictably, he has hit five home runs already this season.

As for Schwarber, it was a case of serious omission. Instead of allocating resources to re-signing the terrific mid-season trade addition, who helped fuel the run to the ALCS, Bloom whiffed and let Schwarber sign with Philadelphia.

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Admittedly, Schwarber’s price tag rose substantially after the National League adopted the designated hitter finally. But he’d have been well worth the extra cost on a shorter-term deal that he signed with the Phillies. He has seven home runs thus far for the Phillies.

Cost shouldn’t have deterred Mr. Bloom from signing a contract of reasonable length for more annual dollars for a player that player in his prime who had proven he could thrive in the very demanding confines of Fenway Park and Boston.

With those offseason moves or non-moves once again brought to the forefront, what is to be expected? Certainly, the Red Sox should be a better hitting team than they have been to date.

In addition, there is always the trade deadline at Mr. Bloom’s disposal to once again pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat and get the team back on track. That’s assuming it hasn’t already fallen too far out of the race to matter by then.

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Yet, the moral of the story remains, don’t count out a Red Sox team that is obviously more talented than it has shown thus far. And, as noted previously, never underestimate the resourcefulness of Chaim Bloom.

While things haven’t worked out as anticipated thus far, the season is still young and he can make the requisite moves to right the ship.

The only fear here is, will the team have fallen so far that the ship has already sunk? That we will have to wait to see. Just don’t count out the Red Sox just yet. After all, that’s why they play the games.