The 2022 season for the Boston Red Sox has been disappointing to say the least. The team, which reached the 2021 ALCS, is currently three games below .500, nine games behind in the wild card race and sits fifth in the competitive AL East division.
While reaching the playoffs is still mathematically possible, it is growing increasingly unlikely by the day. A consolation prize could be finishing above .500 for the season, but Red Sox nation is not known to settle for consolation prizes.
So, what can the Red Sox do to maintain fan interest? This is certainly a challenge that any non-playoff team must deal with in the waning stages of the season. Why would anyone cough up the dough for the most expensive game day experience in MLB?
Boston Red Sox have to continue to create some hype
The key here is hype. Two of the most exciting days of the season were the debuts of Brayan Bello and Tristan Casas, both of whom are highly touted rookies that are supposed to prove how rebuilding the farm system is the correct move.
Another examples would be the trade deadline moves, which saw a mix of re-tooling and rebuilding that could benefit the team in the future as well.
What this shows is that the fanbase has not given up on this team, despite the fact that the season is likely to be over soon. Anything to be excited about is embraced by the fans, but that feeling of devotion can turn to frustration if the fans do not get what they want.
Next Steps for the Boston Red Sox
Fans want something to happen with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. The former is expected to utilize his opt-out clause and become a free agent at the end of the year while the latter has one additional year of arbitration left before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
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In a perfect world, which is what the fans want, the team will be able to bring back both players on contracts that are worthy of their services to the franchise. This is likely to be quite a bit of money, but it would satisfy the fans for sure. At the very least, having some finality on these situations and being ready to adapt is necessary and will be vital to keeping up appearances for the front office.
The next step is to fully embrace the emergence of Bello and Casas. The team has shown a commitment to the future and throwing full faith into the youngsters will be crucial. The leash should be basically nonexistent for the month of September with them and the two should be considered a lock for the opening day roster in 2023. If either of these scenarios are not met, the fanbase will feel jaded.
Finally, the Red Sox should make a splash. Signing Trevor Story in the 2022 offseason was solid, but more is needed. Bringing back catcher Christian Vazquez or perhaps splurging on Willson Contreras could do this, but making a run at pitching would also be a step in the right direction.
Whether this is done through free agency or a trade, a splash needs to be made and the Boston Red Sox need to be full of hype and excitement heading into 2023.