One of the toughest parts about watching the Red Sox in recent seasons has been their awful defense. Far too often, they botch routine plays and give their opponents extra outs, resulting in countless losses over the last few years.
Boston’s sloppy fielding was on display again on Monday during an ugly 9-4 loss to the Astros. The Sox committed two more errors, raising their season total to 87 — most in the majors.
Unfortunately for Boston fans, it was a movie they’ve been forced to watch far too frequently during Chaim Bloom’s tenure as Chief Baseball Officer.
There are several reasons for the consistently poor defense during the Bloom era. A big one is that he’s traded or let go many of the team’s best defenders, including Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vazquez, only to replace them with subpar fielders. Another is that Bloom’s bizarre roster-building strategy often asks players to play out of position, which makes players uncomfortable and is hardly a recipe for defensive success.
While Bloom (and to a lesser extent, Alex Cora) deserve much of the blame for all the lackluster glovework lately, the players on the field are the ones who ultimately make (or fail to make) the plays. That said, here are the three biggest culprits for the team’s shoddy defense this year.
3 Worst Red Sox Defenders
1. Enrique Hernandez
Hernandez isn’t even with the team anymore, but he’s already done more than his fair share of damage to the 2023 Red Sox. Not only was he one of the worst hitters in baseball before being traded back to the Dodgers (career-low 61 OPS+), but he was also absolutely abysmal at shortstop, committing a whopping 14 errors in 64 games there before mercifully being moved from the position.
To be fair, Hernandez is not really a shortstop and should have never been asked to play there. He’s primarily an outfielder and a second baseman, but Boston put him at short after a) losing Xander Bogaerts in free agency, b) losing Trevor Story until August due to modified Tommy John surgery, and c) not replacing either of them.
While Hernandez had appeared at shortstop sporadically throughout his career, he had never played every day there. The reason why quickly became apparent as he proved to be the worst defensive shortstop in MLB. The bulk of his errors were throwing, too, which made every ground ball hit to him an adventure.
Fortunately, Hernandez is no longer playing shortstop for the Red Sox, but he shouldn’t have been there in the first place.