The New And Not So Improved Red Sox

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The Boston Red Sox have won three World Series Championships since 2004, but they’ve still managed to be somewhat of an enigma. After winning 89 games and failing to make the postseason in 2010, the Red Sox spent heavily that off-season in order to improve their chances. The Red Sox would win 90 games in 2011, but a late season collapse saw them miss the postseason once again which led to wholesale changes as general manager Theo Epstein left to join the Chicago Cubs while manager Terry Francona stepped down as well. And after going 69-93 in 2012, the Red Sox would rebound in 2013 to win the World Series. But after winning their last World Series Title, the Red Sox would get old rather quickly as they finished in the basement of the American League East in 2014 for the second time in three years.

This past winter, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval to a five-year contract worth $100 million along with outfielder Hanley Ramirez to a four-year deal for $88 million in order to add depth to the Boston lineup. But in spite of the signings, the Red Sox possess one of the most putrid offenses in the American League.

Pablo Sandoval

This season the Red Sox are 12th in the American League in runs scored and since the beginning of May, they have scored two runs or less in a game 21 times. Sandoval is batting a career low .241 this season, but Ramirez is leading the Red Sox in home runs this season with 13. At 39-years of age, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is on pace for his worst statistical season since 2000 when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins as the thunderous bat of one of the best players in franchise history appears to be slowing down. Overall the Red Sox lineup is a mess as there is no cohesion in the outfield while it isn’t any better behind the plate where Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart have split time at catcher. After an injury filled 2014, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has returned and he is in the process of having one of the best seasons of his career as he is batting .312 with a .376 on-base percentage. But Pedroia alone isn’t enough to get the Red Sox lineup out of its prolonged funk.

The Red Sox pitching hasn’t fared that much better as their 4.26 earned run average is 14th in the American League this season. And just like the Red Sox lineup, the starting pitching has either been really good or extremely bad. This season no Red Sox starting pitcher has a winning record and starting pitcher Wade Miley has the lowest earned run average out of the bunch at 4.67 which hasn’t made the job of manager John Farrell or pitching coach Carl Willis any easier as each man has burned up a few pairs of shoes walking back and forth to the mound this season.

When you put all off this together you have a team in the Red Sox that own a record of 27-33 which has them in last place in the American League East. The Red Sox have not won more than three games in a row all season long as each time that they appear ready to turn the corner and get on a roll, they stumble backwards. At this point, the best way to describe the Red Sox is that they’ve been consistently inconsistent. And as weak as the AL East has been this season, the Red Sox might only be 6.5 games behind the first place New York Yankees, but at some point they are going to have to improve their play if they truly want to be a contender. But at some point the Red Sox front office must realize that spending in free agency hasn’t gotten them anywhere but onto the back pages of the newspapers in Boston as they’ve become a lightning rod for criticism.

Instead of going for the quick fix, the Red Sox should focus on building a consistent winner for the future. The Red Sox have one of the best minor league systems in Major League Baseball and they should just stick to their system that has produced the likes of Pedroia and Ramirez. Plugging holes with spit and glue will get you the quick fix, but the proper overhaul is the only thing that can provide them with long-term stability.

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