David Ortiz 100 percent right about current Red Sox lineup

Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

All-time great Boston Red Sox David Ortiz has called out the team for not getting protection in the lineup for its number one player, Rafael Devers. Big Papi is absolutely correct for pointing out the diminution of the once-feared Red Sox lineup into a whole host of question marks.

Who would know better than Ortiz what a lineup needs to help make its best hitter, that’s Devers, all that he can be? In Red Sox Nation, probably no one.

There are major flaws in the Boston Red Sox’s overall strategy (assuming there is one) to assemble a competitive team this offseason. It’s been more of the same stumbling and bumbling that plagued the club after last offseason’s debacle.

Let’s again point out what’s wrong but first cite Ortiz’s comments about Devers to provide further validation that the Boston Red Sox management has lost focus on what really counts, winning and winning now.

Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz points out the problem

Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz
Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Recently, David Ortiz made clear what he feels is a major problem with the Boston Red Sox lineup. Boston.com’s Conor Ryan cites Ortiz in his own words,

"“If I’m facing him, I’m pitching around him,” David Ortiz told WEEI.com of Devers’ role in Boston’s lineup. “No doubt about it. You’re talking about one of the most feared hitters in baseball right now. I have been there before, and if you had no one behind me, they won’t pitch to me. You know that.“Now you have to find a way [to] consistently protect him so he can continue to keep seeing pitches.”"

After summarily dispatching several players who were intrinsic to the team’s 2021 Cinderella run, there’s not much left to provide cover for Devers.

Gone are Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and two other component stars of the run to the ALCS Championship series, Kyle Schwarber, and Hunter Renfroe.

Rather than building upon that lineup after that wonderful and magical season, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom likely mandated or “strongly suggested” by his absentee penurious ownership, has essentially dismantled it instead. Ergo, there’s little help for Devers.

This is a strategic error that sent the ALCS participants crashing back to the bottom of the AL East for the second time in three years. One more drop with a thud like that, and the ownership, seeking to cast the blame elsewhere, will probably send the baseball management group out the door in a hurry.

Where the ultimate responsibility lies is subject to conjecture. But the simple fact is, the team was on an upward trajectory and it was then summarily torn asunder last offseason by Chaim Bloom.

Two gross examples were trading the very productive Renfroe for weak-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. and two prospects (almost never a good idea) and not re-signing the very valuable slugger Schwarber. Combined they hit 75 home runs last season.

2023 Boston Red Sox are a shadow of the 2021 team

Now with Bogaerts and Martinez’s departures, little is left of that ALCS-challenging team. And to compound the problem, they’ve been replaced by question marks all over the lineup.

Adam Duvall is coming off wrist surgery. Justin Turner is 38 years old. Masataka Yoshida is coming over from Japan and has no MLB experience. Adalberto Mondesi is coming off an ACL injury while last season’s “big signing”, Trevor Story is out for months with arm surgery.

All of this adds up to one thing, an organization that has lost its way. The Boston Red Sox is a team totally composed of “ifs and maybes”, not sure things around Devers.

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When for whatever reason you de-construct what worked brilliantly previously to try to rebuild what didn’t need rebuilding but only enhancements, your chances of success as we painfully saw in 2022 are unlikely.

Maybe all these disparate parts and question marks will come together again as they did in 2021 and the Sox will have a glorious playoff run. After all, that’s why they play the games. But don’t bet the farm on it.

Rolling with the Renfroes and Schwarbers whom you knew worked great in Boston would have been a far more prudent course. Unfortunately, now we are left with the very real prospect of another last-place finish.

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That would indicate a complete reversal of the halcyon days of ownership’s 2019 scapegoat, former President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski. That’s the call here and it’s a real shame.

Hope to be wrong. But sometimes, you don’t know how good you’ve had it until it’s gone. This is one of those instances.