Winning a division title was a pretty good achievement for a team that was last in home runs, had no twenty game winners and not one position player hitting 30 home runs. I do think the East was the worst division in the American League this year. Baltimore, Toronto, and Tampa Bay had terrible pitching most of the season. The Yankees came on in the second half but fell short the last few days of the season.
With all that behind us now, what did we learn from the season and postseason and where do the Red Sox go from here?
Hire or fire Manager John Farrell before or right after the World Series. He’s been criticized by fans and the media relentlessly for his in-game decisions or lack of them. All managers make mistakes during ball games but decisions for bringing in relief pitchers are critical to a team’s chances of winning. Make the decision and stand by it.
Sign one or two of the free agents who can hit home runs and knock in runs. Of the players available I would definitely go after outfielder JD Martinez and first baseman Eric Hosmer. Sox need a right-handed power hitter and Hosmer, a left handed hitter with power, is also the leader type you need in the clubhouse. I want both of them but will the Red Sox ownership be willing to spend the money or do they want to continue to stay under the luxury tax? Everyone wants Stanton but I’m not sure the Red Sox have enough prospects to trade for him?
Every team can use more pitching and the Red Sox are no exceptions. Trade for another starter and some more bullpen help. Hopefully Price will be healthy in 2018 and will be able to give the team twenty five starts. Keep Kimbrel and Kelly and others but look for another good left hander for the bullpen.
I would keep Vasquez and trade Leon but Sale likes to throw to Leon so he may stay. Can Vasquez catch 130 games a year and be effective? In my opinion, no. Two catchers are needed on this team to share the load. I like how the Sox used both catchers but Leon is slowing down.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the young position players and veterans on this team. We all like him but Brock has to go. He’s just not the same player he was before his head injury. Moreland had a nice year and I would keep him if the status of Hanley Ramirez remains the same. With JD Martinez in the lineup Hanley may produce more RBI as DH. If Sox can get Hosmer, Moreland might have to go.
Devers will be the third baseman but I would work him at first base in spring training, maybe for the future. Betts and Benintendi are keepers but I would trade JBJ and Bogaerts if the right deal comes up. You can put JD Martinez in left, Benintendi in center and Betts in right. Get a switch-hitting utility outfielder if possible who can play all three outfield positions to give regulars a day off here and there.
I’ll say it again, the Red Sox need two power hitters, not just one. Two will make Devers, Benny, and Betts better hitters. One will help if Hanley produces big but it’s unlikely. It’s all speculation on my part but management has to make some moves to get this team on par with the other ball clubs who rely on power hitting to put runs on the board. In case you missed it, the Yankees are good again.