From worst, to first, back to worst. The 2014 season has not been very exciting for the Boston Red Sox. With just 12 games left in the season, the Sox have no chance of postseason play. Boston is currently in last place in the AL Eastern Division, a solid 24 games behind the first place team, the Baltimore Orioles.
As the current World Series champions, Boston has little to boast for this season. It is clear the Sox have accepted their defeat this season, and instead started looking towards the 2015 season. Many changes have already been made, especially in the pitching lineup. Towards the end of July, Boston traded many players who all took part in winning last year’s World Series. John Lackey, Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and Stephen Drew were all sent off before the MLB’s final trade deadline. Gomes and Lester travelled to Oakland together, in exchange for two-time Home Run Derby winner, Yoenis Cespedes. Right-hander Lackey was sent off to the St. Louis Cardinals, giving the Sox right-hander Joe Kelly, and outfielder Allen Craig. Shortstop Stephen Drew made a big leap, as he was traded to the New York Yankees (along with cash) for infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson. Though it’s common for teams to make changes during the season, these trades were drastic and came fast for Sox Nation. Fans and experts began decoding Boston’s real means for these trades, speculating a Lester return next season.
So with virtually no chance of postseason play for Boston this season, fans must ask, what next? Boston scouts are already looking around the country, and internationally for potential trades and free agents for the upcoming season (Boston Globe). Though the Sox may secretly be plotting to retrieve Lester, at the moment, the team is in dire need of two more starting pitchers.
Scouts have been watching Hiroshima Carp right-hander Kenta Maeda. The 26-year-old Japanese pitcher has played seven seasons in Japan, holding a career 2.45 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 3.72 (CBS Sports). Detroit Tiger’s right-hander Max Scherzer would also be a good candidate for the Sox. Scherzer will become a free agent in the open market after this season. Boston won’t grab all of these prospective players of course, but the 2015 season is looking more promising than the current.
“I wouldn’t say that we have limitless money, but we’ve got a lot of money to spend and we’re determined to go into the free agent market and improve the team,” said Werner (WEEI).
As for the standing of current Sox players, the team is abundant with infield players. Arguably, some players haven’t been playing to their potential. When Allen Craig was acquired in the Lackey trade, Sox fans were excited to see the fearless hitter at the plate. So far, Craig has done nothing but disappoint. The outfielder suffered a foot injury last season, which he reinjured during the World Series last year. When Craig debuted with the Sox on August 1st, he again tweaked his ankle. He ruled out surgery and has told managers and players that it feels fine. If Craig’s poor performance so far with the Sox can’t be blamed on his previous injury, what is his excuse?
Much like Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr. has not been playing to his potential. Since being sent down to Pawtucket, Bradley had a .212 hitting average, with 18 strikeouts. He was recalled in early September, and entered Sunday’s game 0-15. Bradley still considers himself a major league player, and hopes to continue his career with the Sox.
Though this season has been the ultimate test for Boston fans, you have to put your trust in Manager John Farrell and Chairman Werner that next season will be better. Worst to first, back to worst, and now hopefully back to first.