Will the real Red Sox please stand up? I repeat, will the real Red Sox please stand up?

absintheofmalaise

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This was brought up in a recent gamethread, but the reason Vaz has been so awful at not blocking wild pitches might be due to Varitek's implementation of the one knee stance this offseason. I would like some serious rethinking of that stance.
Numerous catchers, Travis D'Arnaud and Salvador Perez are two, in MLB are using the one knee stance because it's supposed to help with framing lower pitches and with not having as many pitches in the dirt get away from them. Like with most things, it's not a one size fits all approach. Here are some articles on it.

https://www.nj.com/yankees/2021/02/while-yankees-gary-sanchez-failed-in-1-knee-stance-phillies-jt-realmuto-improved-in-all-areas-heres-why.html

https://www.startribune.com/mitch-garver-pain-catcher-minnesota-twins-foul-balls/600067627/

https://www.audacy.com/weei/sports/red-sox/explaining-why-red-sox-catchers-are-now-on-one-knee

https://baseballrebellion.com/articles/everything-else/news-hot-topics/new-catching-program-and-article-the-importance-of-the-stance/
 

OurF'ingCity

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I dunno. Certainly if a lack of reinforcements at the deadline causes the team to COLLAPSE completely, they aren't mentally tough enough. Though it's understandable if it is deflating and impacts play for a bit. Another way to think about, from a player perspective, could be, "shit, we're doing our part, why isn't the FO doing theirs?" It's a gut punch, I imagine, to see your competitors make aggressive moves while your organization does not ....
Isn't it equally possible that the players saw a lack of moves as actually a sign of faith in the team as currently constituted, i.e., a message of "we know you guys are really good already so we don't feel the need to get a ton of additional players"? Isn't it possible that if the Sox had emptied the farm system to get a half-season of Scherzer someone like EdRo might think to himself "shit, I guess they really don't think I'm good enough to be a top-2 pitcher on this team"?

Given the numerous quantifiable issues with this team that you lay out in your prior post I'm skeptical of assigning any portion of their issues to an amorphous "they think the front office doesn't believe in them" theory.
 

cantor44

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Isn't it equally possible that the players saw a lack of moves as actually a sign of faith in the team as currently constituted, i.e., a message of "we know you guys are really good already so we don't feel the need to get a ton of additional players"? Isn't it possible that if the Sox had emptied the farm system to get a half-season of Scherzer someone like EdRo might think to himself "shit, I guess they really don't think I'm good enough to be a top-2 pitcher on this team"?

Given the numerous quantifiable issues with this team that you lay out in your prior post I'm skeptical of assigning any portion of their issues to an amorphous "they think the front office doesn't believe in them" theory.
Well, we're beating a dead horse here, so maybe we leave this be, but indulge me as I reiterate that EITHER emptying the farm OR doing what the Sox did at the deadline is a false choice. There are many steps in between, too ...it's a wide continuum, not a binary, and Bloom fell on the conservative side of the continuum. If possible deadline moves were a dial that goes to 10, Bloom went to 2, and maybe he could have gone to, say, 5 instead. 10 was definitely out, given that the farm still isn't that deep if you subtract the 2021 draft class ...

As for the psychological impact of deadline moves, I've shared my opinion in other threads. It is indeed all speculation and is not in the data crunching wheelhouse of SoSH. Maybe a thread needs to be started: Relatively Intelligent Subjective Conjecture. But I do think we can fall back on our own experiences (I have some somewhat Venn Diagram overlaps, working in professional theater and TV I can draw from), common sense, and even things players say ... to draw some reasonable conclusions.

That said, I find it hard to believe that when an organization doesn't substantially bolster a team at the deadline that the players think "they believe in us!!" Especially for a team like the 2021 Red Sox, who clearly CLEARLY had holes to fill, but were in first place despite those holes. Do you think the players are any less aware of the talent around them than we are? Don't you think the players want to be on the field with the best collection of other players possible?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I mean, I guess that’s possible but I’ve never heard of a team making deals to improve their team at the deadline being seen as a vote of no confidence in the team. Would be a strange take.

That being said, any disappointment by the players over the trade deadline should be long gone by now. The Mariners were all mad when their GM traded away Graveman, even though it looks like a good set of moves, and while they struggled a bit after, they seem fine now.

I am a little confused though by the argument that the Sox were 1) not supposed to contend so we should be happy they did AND 2) we can’t consider this a punted season because they did contend.

It seems to cover the organization either way, and excuses any action or lack of action made. But based on the moves made prior to the season starting it seems clear that the Sox were certainly trying to contend, with the idea of not tying themselves up in any long term deals whenever possible. That approach, however, likely influenced the kind of players they had access to. You get a certain kind of player willing to take a one year deal (probably one not in high demand, likely coming off a bad year). The $$ surely influenced what the do at the deadline as well.

Ultimately a long winded way of saying that Bloom has dealt with a unique set of circumstances his first few years and it’s not clear (to me at least) how much those financial limitations have impacted the moves he’s been able to make and not able to make.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Well, the idea was that the Sox were going to be TB with $$$ and that Bloom was good at evaluating players. Why are the Sox paying Ottavino $7M when Tampa is paying less than half of that for Andrew Kittredge and Colin McHugh and getting 3x the production? Why give Richards $11M when Rich Hill has provided the same production at $3M? What specifically was appealing about Robles and Davis compared to other lesser profile relievers moved? They spent a lot of at bats on guys like Marwin Gonzalez, Fracnhy Cordero, and Danny Santana- why did they think they would be useful players when they hadn't been for years? Why have none of the AAA call ups been effective, at all? Were Downs and Winckowski the right guys to target in the Betts/Benintendi deals?
The only aspect of the above that has any relationship to the Sox's current struggles is the Robles and Davis acquisitions, and I agree those were perplexing at the time and still are (Davis, I guess, has been okay, but I struggle to understand why they didn't just promote from AAA instead).

The Sox's budget has nothing to do with anything this season - there is no indication they didn't trade for anyone due to salary implications - so I'm not sure what relevance that has to this thread. Spending a lot of at bats on guys like Marwin, Franchy, and Santana clearly isn't the issue because those at bats were almost entirety spent in the first half of the season, when the Sox were doing great. None of those guys are getting at-bats now, and the Sox suck.

As for AAA call-ups, who are you referring to? Duran is the only major call up, and he was drafted well before Bloom took over so not sure how that is on him either. Guys like Arauz and Munoz are quintessential quadruple-A types that are clearly on the team only due to the Covid issues. And I'm not sure how Downs and Winckowski have any relation to this year's struggles either, unless you are saying Bloom should have instead traded for more major-league ready guys, in which case you need to show your work and explain who he should have targeted instead and how he would have convinced the other team to give them up.
 

OurF'ingCity

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As for "well what were you expecting at the beginning of the season," that's a disingenuous question. In 2013 they were expected to be around .500 after the mess that was 2012; it's a damn good thing they didn't hold themselves to such a low standard that year. They played .604 ball in the first half of the season, they've played .465 ball in the second half. That's a massive collapse, and while you can say they weren't as good as 604 might indicate, playing .604 in the first place indicates they had more quality than assuming they were a .500 team. There's no earthly reason for them to be this bad.
But they do have more quality than a .500 team - they're currently a .560 team.

I think a lot of the disappointment with this year's team is due to sequencing - that is, they got off to a very hot start and then starting sucking all at once. But they are in the exact same place they would have been if they played consistent .560 ball all year and went something like 17-13 every month. And if that had happened, I don't think people here would have been particularly happy, but I don't think they would have been particularly surprised either. .560 over the course of the season corresponds to a 90-win team, and I think most people would have gladly taken that going into the season.

Put another way, last year the Sox played at a 65-win pace. If they end up somewhere around 90 wins this year, that's a huge improvement. I get that at the micro level, this season is disappointing because the first half showed us how good this team could be if everything went right, but at the macro level it seems kind of odd to suggest that a 25-game improvement from one year to another isn't a success all things considered (in fact, it would represent the best year-over-year improvement this team has ever seen in recent years other than 2013).
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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There is no earthly way seeing a team play .604 ball for an extended period of time only to then play .465 ball for a subsequent extended period of time can be considered anything but an immense disappointment. The first half showed what they were capable of. They then utterly collapsed.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I am a little confused though by the argument that the Sox were 1) not supposed to contend so we should be happy they did AND 2) we can’t consider this a punted season because they did contend.
I don't understand this argument either. The Red Sox have played five months of baseball, so we have five months of data to adjust our expectations. Like sure, if someone said on March 31, "On September 1, the Red Sox would be in sole possession of the second wild card." You'd be happy with that. But if someone said, "On September 1, the Red Sox would be in sole possession of the second wild card but only after they pissed away a division lead to the Rays and fell behind the Yankees, who they were once ahead of by NINE games." You'd feel a little differently, right?

Or put it this way, if two months ago someone would say, "hey on September 1, you're going to be a $10,000 richer!" you'd be pretty psyched. But if they said the same thing with the addendum, "you got that money because you left a $200 million lottery ticket in your jeans, it went through the wash and the Mass State Lottery commission felt bad for you, so they gave you the $10k", that colors things differently. The $10k is nice, but $200M would be better.

And that's how I feel about the Sox. The first half of the season was great, it got me back into this team, it ended my hiatus from this board, my friends and I were talking and texting about them again and now they're floundering. Which, hey .500 season and maybe the wildcard. But not all above .500 seasons are successful.

Right now, and for whatever reason, a lot of SoSH is looking at the first part of the news and ignoring the second half. Which is fine, I suppose, but it's not the full tale.

And honestly, with the bad taste left behind in a lot of people's mouths from last year, I can't understand why the Sox FO didn't make more of an effort to go for it. Just from a PR and a NESN ratings standpoint, it would have made a ton of sense. Now they've completely nosedived (which was sorta inevitable in the weeks prior to the trade deadline) and with the Pats starting up, they've become an afterthought in a town that they once owned*. And I've heard about Chaim's plan, but part of his job is adjusting that plan and I don't think he did a very good job of doing so.

* Which maybe they don't give a shit about. It's easy to make moves and rebuild when no one is paying attention. I just hope that they don't turn off the casual sporting public for too long.
 

E5 Yaz

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I don't know the answer to this, but which bullpen arms picked up atr the deadline have been stellar for their new teams? Overall, Kimbrell hasn't be good. Hand got released.

Graverman, maybe?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I don't know the answer to this, but which bullpen arms picked up atr the deadline have been stellar for their new teams? Overall, Kimbrell hasn't be good. Hand got released.

Graverman, maybe?
Not that I want to get in the habit of linking to Tomase, but he had a piece into his recently.

Chafin, Tepera, and Givens are three….

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/red-sox/chaim-bloom-added-bullpen-deadline-not-right-pieces

On another note, how much of the frustration towards the Sox is just anger at how things are going generally, in the country and the state of the world and our inability to do anything about it?

To me, the Sox were kind of symbolic and having them playing well and everything made it seemed like things were getting back to normal. The slide and now the COVID outbreak seems like a reality check.

I’ll stop playing amateur psychologist now.
 
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jon abbey

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Surprised no one traded for Raisel Iglesias, a FA this winter and a proven closer who has looked unhittable against NY while getting saves the last two nights.

Also TB wasn’t built in a day or a year or three years, it’s not easy to fill up your system with talent when everyone else is trying to do so. Personally I wouldn’t start judging Chaim until maybe this time next season, DD left him in a big hole talent-wise in a seriously loaded division.
 

grimshaw

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Richard Rodriguez (2er in 14 innings) is about the only guy with a significant positive impact.
-Soria has mostly been hurt.
-Diego Castillo has been so-so but also on the IL.

Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, the two Sox guys, and Maton have all been poor.
 

jon abbey

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Richard Rodriguez (2er in 14 innings) is about the only guy with a significant positive impact.
-Soria has mostly been hurt.
-Diego Castillo has been so-so but also on the IL.

Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, the two Sox guys, and Maton have all been poor.
Clay Holmes has been very good for NY.
 

OurF'ingCity

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And honestly, with the bad taste left behind in a lot of people's mouths from last year, I can't understand why the Sox FO didn't make more of an effort to go for it. Just from a PR and a NESN ratings standpoint, it would have made a ton of sense. Now they've completely nosedived (which was sorta inevitable in the weeks prior to the trade deadline) and with the Pats starting up, they've become an afterthought in a town that they once owned*. And I've heard about Chaim's plan, but part of his job is adjusting that plan and I don't think he did a very good job of doing so.
Honest question - what, in your mind, would have represented "more of an effort to go for it"?

Getting Rizzo or Bryant instead of Schwarber? Rizzo and Bryant have both hit worse than Schwarber since the deadline. Now to be fair, Schwarber's defense sucks and he was injured for some weeks after the deadline, but overall I'd call all three of those acquisitions roughly a wash.

Getting Gallo? The Yankees gave up 4 prospects for him. Granted, they were relatively young and not any of the Yanks' top guys, but the Sox farm system is still not nearly as full as the Yankees', and trading four decent prospects would have set the Sox system back significantly, if only insofar as it would limit trades the Sox could make in the offseason or in future years.

Getting Scherzer or Berrios? This would have required entirely stripping the Sox farm system (to the extent the Sox could put together any package to beat the prospects that were actually traded for those guys).

Getting Kimbrel or another bullpen guy? As posted above, basically every reliever traded at the deadline has been mediocre or worse (Kimbrel has been downright terrible). At best, we are talking about the difference of maybe a win or two - certainly there is room for debate there as to whether those marginal wins would have been worth whatever better prospects Bloom would have had to give up, but I wouldn't really call that "going for it" vs. "not going for it."

It's certainly defensible to argue significantly downgrading the farm system by trading for one or more of Gallo, Scherzer, Berrios, or the like would have been worth it this year given where the Sox were at the deadline. But then you have to be willing to deal with the aftereffects of that, which would almost certainly be less flexibility to make moves this offseason and going forward. Making those kinds of moves would basically put us back to square one in terms of the farm system, which Bloom was brought in more or less explicitly to address. If the Sox wanted to go all-out in these types of situations, they should have just kept Dombrowksi.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Richard Rodriguez (2er in 14 innings) is about the only guy with a significant positive impact.
-Soria has mostly been hurt.
-Diego Castillo has been so-so but also on the IL.

Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, the two Sox guys, and Maton have all been poor.
Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Mychal Givens, and Holmes have all been excellent too.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Honest question - what, in your mind, would have represented "more of an effort to go for it"?
Good question. The Red Sox needed (in order) 1. first baseman 2. bullpen help and 3. starting pitching. Up until about a week ago Dalbec has been a disaster all year. It wasn't just him. Anyone at first was a complete disaster. Bryant* would have been a nice pickup. By the end of July, their bullpen was running on fumes. If it was obvious to me, it should have been obvious to Bloom (which it probably was). Rodriguez* from Pittsburgh would have been a decent pickup, though TBH anyone aside from Robles and Davis would have been preferable.

* These are just names. Would other players have been better? IDK. But all I know is that letting first base and the bullpen fester was a mistake. It's practically cost them the season.

I agree that mortgaging the farm for Gallo (who doesn't play first) or Scherzer or Berrios would not have been smart. The Sox aren't that close. But I think that an effort, would have been nice. Call me a pink hat, but I do think that the Sox as a team were looking at the trading deadline as a day where they were going to get some help. When they didn't, they went into a funk. Should they have been more mentally tough than that? I guess. Probably. Put it this way, in 2003 Theo Epstein trades a future three-time All-Star and batting champion for Brandon Lyon and Jeff Suppan. Both guys weren't great, but Epstein took a big swing and the Sox made it to the ALCS. Has anyone bemoaned the loss of Freddy Sanchez in 2003?

Prospects are great and it's wonderful to have a system flush with them, but they're not Apple stock or gold. You have to trade them to bolster your parent team, otherwise they become worthless. Not only that but new prospects come around literally every single year. This is not a finite commodity. You send out guys this year, you draft their replacements next year. I think people put way too much stock and optimism in prospects and how well they're going to perform. I really do.

At best, we are talking about the difference of maybe a win or two - certainly there is room for debate there as to whether those marginal wins would have been worth whatever better prospects Bloom would have had to give up, but I wouldn't really call that "going for it" vs. "not going for it."
This season's post season chances may come down to a win or two. Is this year's version of Lars Anderson or Blake Swihart worth it?
 

Diamond Don Aase

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Richard Rodriguez (2er in 14 innings) is about the only guy with a significant positive impact.
-Soria has mostly been hurt.
-Diego Castillo has been so-so but also on the IL.

Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, the two Sox guys, and Maton have all been poor.
Phil Maton has pitched to a 3.83 FIP since being traded. Translating FIP to runs allowed in front of the Red Sox’ defense can be a precarious task but Maton does not deserve to be lumped in with the likes of Terrobles.

Other traded relievers that have been effective for their new teams:

Luis Cessa
Andrew Chafin
J.T. Chargois
John Gant
Mychal Givens
Kendall Graveman
Clay Holmes
Rafael Montero
Austin Pruitt
Joely Rodriguez
Joe Smith
Joakim Soria
Ryan Tepera
Tony Watson
Trevor Williams
Justin Wilson

If the scope is broadened to simply “better than Robles,” there is at least another handful of traded relievers.
 

GB5

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To answer the question posed to me earlier, truthfully I had no idea what to expect of this team this year. Last year, even modified, was appalling. I have watched some bad Red sox teams, and stayed with it. Last year was unwatchable. essentially the last month plus they were trying to lose, and better off for doing it. They were pitching guys with very little chance of winning the game. However, honestly, I checked out for chunks of the end of the season, but I dont recall them playing as many obscenely horrible and offensive games as they have in the last month. Last years team had way less talent than this years, but I dont recall watching many games and saying this is an embarrassment to the way that baseball should be played. I dont recall holding my breath on any ball hit to the left side of the infield. I dont recall having a first baseman who looks like he was introduced to a glove about 30 seconds prior. I dont recall having a catcher, who in his mind thinks he is Johnny Bench, but the only bench associated with him, should be the one should be stapled to next to Cora. I dont recall complete inattention to opponents stealing bases. I dont recall a constant and repetitive disregard for how many outs there are in an inning. I dont recall batters just giving bats away with two string swings, on pitches way outside the zone. I dont recall so many runners refusing to run out a ground ball to first. I dont recall a defensive interference on a winning run in a key game. I dont recall a player pumping his fist when tagging a guy out down 8-1 in the 8th inning. This team started out phenomenally and surely played above expectations. I thought that the regression would come from the pitching staff, as the peripheral numbers did not support the continued good results from certainly Perez, Richards, and to a bit of a lesser extent Pivetta. I liked him better than the other two, but mainly because he had no previous sustained success in MLB, and had been acquired for a very modest return. I was a partially correct, but mostly wrong.

Losing well played games, and having this August swoon certainly would have bothered me. I generally dont take Red sox losing well, no matter what the form. Last years team stunk, so I didnt expect anything from them. This team played 4 months of .600+ ball, which included mostly not shooting themselves in the foot, multiple times per night. The way this team has self destructed, without change for over a month, has what has led to such dissatisfaction. This team showed four straight months that they were above this. How does a team almost across the board show 4 months of solid complimentary baseball, and then one solid month of an inability to do basic baseball related activities. This isnt the pitching staff hitting a slump, and all of a sudden giving up a ton of gopher balls. This isnt the hitters, all going in a team wide slump. Most all of this feels self inflicted. That is why I lay a lot of this at the leadership. Night after night of careless mistakes, requires the leader to take charge, make changes, make people uncomfortable. Change the order, pull guys for running on fly balls to the outfield with one out. I know you cant show veteran players up, but when you lose 2/3 games for a month in a pennant race, the way they have, you have to go outside the norm. If Cora sat Vazquez for a few nights, would it signal to the other veterans, that if Cora will do that to him, then I need to be locked in, because I could be next? Who knows, I know one thing, we wont know, because apparently it isnt going to happen.

If this season flames out short of the playoffs, I sense a whisper campaign from the very public relations conscious owners who will try to lay the meltdown at the hands of Covid. What could we do, we didnt expect three weeks of Munoz? It wasnt out plan for Arrauz to get 100 at bats in the biggest 4 week stretch of the season. We had no intention of Stephen Gonzalves or Brad Peacock to be pitching critical innings, but Covid. This isnt about Covid. The end may be, but the train was well down the tracks with your regular squad before Covid overran your roster. Pre-Covid the Sox did everything wrong to compromise the team to the point of collapse. Covid was the cold that pushed the team from Critical condition to the morgue.
 

Archer1979

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So Chaim claims the team is mentally strong because they were doubted but notes they collapsed as soon as X left the game last night.

For a smart man he says a lot of really dumb things.
I've typed this a few times and each time wiped it away, but this year really feels like 2006. The Sox went great guns through July and ran into a wall in August with various injuries, Ortiz's cardiac episode, and Jon Lester's cancer diagnosis. X leaving is analogous to when Ortiz had to sit.

I think you hit on it earlier when you said the team wasn't that deep. Once one or two key injuries took place, the tapestry unraveled. If this team makes the playoffs, it will be a miracle. A month ago, I though they would be favorites in every game after Sept. 13th.
 

OurF'ingCity

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This season's post season chances may come down to a win or two. Is this year's version of Lars Anderson or Blake Swihart worth it?
I agree with this, and I think this is where Bloom should deservedly get criticism - not so much that he didn't go "all in" or whatever and get a big name, but that it seems like he should have been able to pick up a reliever or two better than Robles (who is terrible) and Davis (who is just slightly better than terrible) without really giving up much more of value. I can't tell if this is a case of Bloom just being so prospect-focused that he couldn't bear to part with a few additional C- or D-level prospects, or a case of Bloom having smartest-guy-in-the-room syndrome where he just thought his talent evaluation was so good that Robles and Davis would blossom into solid relievers when they came to the Sox. Either way, I think it's a clear screw-up.
 

joe dokes

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This frustrates me. Of course Cora knows they are making stupid mistakes. But nothing ever changes, nothing ever improves, and tomorrow he'll be saying the same thing. Cora is in charge, he needs to address this in some way that improves the play on the field.
What should change (from Cora's side of things). I'll give you "bench Vazquez for a few games." But, and I mean this sincerely, what can a manager do that constitutes "addressing it in some way that improves the play on the field"?
 

cantor44

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Not that I want to get in the habit of linking to Tomase, but he had a piece into his recently.

Chafin, Tepera, and Givens are three….

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/red-sox/chaim-bloom-added-bullpen-deadline-not-right-pieces

On another note, how much of the frustration towards the Sox is just anger at how things are going generally, in the country and the state of the world and our inability to do anything about it?

To me, the Sox were kind of symbolic and having them playing well and everything made it seemed like things were getting back to normal. The slide and now the COVID outbreak seems like a reality check.

I’ll stop playing amateur psychologist now.
That's less psychologist and more theologian. As the Elizabethan Theory of Correspondences asserted, "As above, so below."
 

cantor44

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Forgive me for the game-thready nature of this comment, but:

Garrett Whitlock is the BOMB. I mean holy christ in a chicken basket, this guy is a rule 5 pick and he's arguably the team's MVP. The season would be lost without him. He is astonishingly excellent and I'm flabbergasted the Yankees didn't protect him.

So ... if nothing else, 2021 produced Whitlock.
 

Rovin Romine

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Another way to think about, from a player perspective, could be, "shit, we're doing our part, why isn't the FO doing theirs?" It's a gut punch, I imagine, to see your competitors make aggressive moves while your organization does not ....
You're like the truffle hunting pig of SADZ.

As recently as 2019 -- the last normal year -- Gonzalez put up a 94 OPS+, which would be fine for a guy whose biggest skill is playing multiple positions at least competently, and Santana was at 112. I assume that had something to do with the "why they thought those players would be useful"?
2020 was a bad year for any number of people, so "the last normal year" has some weight to it.

For Santana, 2019 was his age 28 season, so maybe he figured something out. He had a history of suck before that which stretched for years back to a Semi Sam Hornsian call up year. However, that age 28 season had no red flags, beyond a home/road split. . .and even then his road performance would have been great for a 4th OF on a squad; a guy who could HR every so often and had a lot of speed when he did get on base. So, a decent risk for a 4th OF/bench guy who maybe gets hot.

But he regressed to his baseline during 2020. He's 30 now, and he's played at that baseline or below. He still has some speed. So he may be better than DeShields might have been. Still, if Cora tries to get him ABs so he can "figure out" his swing. . .well, I have no more hair to lose, so that's a plus.

Marwin reeks of a Cora/Astros pickup. The dude literally peaked with a 2017 age 28 season for the garbage-can team. We signed him as an intended sem-regular for his age 32 year after 3 years of gentle decline. If there was a renaissance/best shape of his life in the offing, it never materialized, and absent some lid banging, his ceiling was always league-average. Again, not a bad player as depth, but not a quasi-starter who needs to be in there every day.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Forgive me for the game-thready nature of this comment, but:

Garrett Whitlock is the BOMB. I mean holy christ in a chicken basket, this guy is a rule 5 pick and he's arguably the team's MVP. The season would be lost without him. He is astonishingly excellent and I'm flabbergasted the Yankees didn't protect him.

So ... if nothing else, 2021 produced Whitlock.
His emergence has truly shocked me. Rule V picks are usually not much of anything, but this guy....holy smokes. It's unbelievable what he's done. 3.0 WAR per B-ref over 65 IP.
 

mauf

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I certainly would have. I think 85 wins was the bare minimum that should have been expected before the year began. And certainly after the season began they number would have been considered a failure after the first half they had.
How many times in the past decade has a team made a year-over-year improvement of 20 wins or more? If that was the “bare minimum” expectation for this year’s Sox, then surely you can point out several teams in the recent past that have made a similar leap.

There’s a good discussion to be had about who’s to blame for the state of the franchise this time last year, and the degree to which it was the aftermath of valid GFIN decisions versus flat-out mistakes. But expecting the team to dig out of that in a single offseason where the GM was operating under financial constraints betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of how professional baseball works. (If you want to argue that Henry, et al., are bad owners because of said financial constraints, feel free. I think they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, to put it mildly.)

What this team did in the first half was remarkable. The second half has been disappointing, and there’s some blame to be parceled out for that, but even the most rudimentary analytical approach — looking at runs scored and runs allowed —shows that the majority of the drop-off is simple regression to the mean. This never was a 90+ win team talent-wise, and the results are finally coming in line with the talent level. Yes, Matt Barnes turned into a pumpkin right after he signed that extension, and there has been time lost to COVID that shouldn’t have been, but those things are a comparatively small part of the story.
 

lexrageorge

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Also consider that Bloom's biggest and most important accomplishment so far, a successful draft, is not something we as fans will notice for at least 3-4 seasons from now. But he was brought on board with that goal in mind, so blaming Bloom for following ownership edicts is unlikely to be satisfying.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Also consider that Bloom's biggest and most important accomplishment so far, a successful draft, is not something we as fans will notice for at least 3-4 seasons from now. But he was brought on board with that goal in mind, so blaming Bloom for following ownership edicts is unlikely to be satisfying.
Isn't it a bit too early to declare the draft a success? And even if it is, how much is Bloom's doing versus the reward for last year's suck combined with the good fortune that the teams ahead of them let Mayer go to the Bosox? And doesn't losing our 2nd round pick (even knowing that we get another pick next year) count for something?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Isn't it a bit too early to declare the draft a success? And even if it is, how much is Bloom's doing versus the reward for last year's suck combined with the good fortune that the teams ahead of them let Mayer go to the Bosox? And doesn't losing our 2nd round pick (even knowing that we get another pick next year) count for something?
Co-sign. It's waaaaaaaaaaay too early to label the draft. have we learned nothing over the years?

And not signing the 2nd rounder takes a lot of the shine off the promise they drafted.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It’s better to have a good system than not, but we always look at these guys with rose colored glasses (like hyping up .179 hitting Jeter Downs and 5+ ERA Jay Groome). It also has to be put into context with major league talent under control as well as that of our competitors. The Sox are going to need an influx of talent because they really don’t have a ton of major league talent controlled long term. Obviously it’s a balance between the two, but the Sox are kind of barely in the top ten for big league record and minor league talent. Seems like next years team will clearly be looking up at Tampa and NY, and if you are in to run differential, the Jays. So if we should be happy with an 85 win team and realize this team wasn’t a true contender, shouldn’t you be ready for similar next year?
 

Mugsy's Jock

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To me, a team comprised of professional athletes should react to a perceived lack of front office support with a "We'll show them" attitude, as opposed to "They don't believe in us so we must suck." I honestly can't comprehend that "We'll show them" is the second most likely emotional response for the players, narrowly trailing "Okay, whatever."

I won't deny I HAVE watched Major League about a jillion times, but the point still holds.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Isn't it a bit too early to declare the draft a success? And even if it is, how much is Bloom's doing versus the reward for last year's suck combined with the good fortune that the teams ahead of them let Mayer go to the Bosox? And doesn't losing our 2nd round pick (even knowing that we get another pick next year) count for something?
This was my thought too, especially since two months ago Duran was destroying AAA pitching and everyone was comparing him to the second coming of Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury. He gets into the bigs and looks like a mess. That obviously doesn't mean he's going to Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury, but let's pump the breaks on the "success" of the last two drafts. Especially since, like PJF and SJH said, their highly regarded second round pick told the Sox that he'd rather spend another year in Gainesville.
 

lexrageorge

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The team took a calculated gamble on drafting Fabian. Even though they failed to sign him, it's hardly a disaster because they get to roll the pick forward to a year when there will be more reliable scouting information on next year's prospects. Sometimes you have to take a big swing, and sometimes those swings will miss. If there was a time to do that in the 2nd round, it was this year's draft.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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To me, a team comprised of professional athletes should react to a perceived lack of front office support with a "We'll show them" attitude, as opposed to "They don't believe in us so we must suck." I honestly can't comprehend that "We'll show them" is the second most likely emotional response for the players, narrowly trailing "Okay, whatever."

I won't deny I HAVE watched Major League about a jillion times, but the point still holds.
Ideally, you're right. But the players are humans and it's also not unreasonable to think they'd be a bit deflated if the front office doesn't show them the support they were hoping to get.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It’s better to have a good system than not, but we always look at these guys with rose colored glasses (like hyping up .179 hitting Jeter Downs and 5+ ERA Jay Groome). It also has to be put into context with major league talent under control as well as that of our competitors. The Sox are going to need an influx of talent because they really don’t have a ton of major league talent controlled long term. Obviously it’s a balance between the two, but the Sox are kind of barely in the top ten for big league record and minor league talent. Seems like next years team will clearly be looking up at Tampa and NY, and if you are in to run differential, the Jays. So if we should be happy with an 85 win team and realize this team wasn’t a true contender, shouldn’t you be ready for similar next year?
Um, yes?

We can't pretend that the Rays, Yankees, and Jays don't exist. They can't build a juggernaut in one off-season that is going to effectively make those other organizations look like the Orioles. If the Red Sox continue to improve, the younger players get better, the vets don't fall off a cliff, and they spend any freed up salary wisely, having a team that is expected to contend but not necessarily dominate from start to finish isn't something to be upset about.

Maybe I'm mellowing as I get older, but I just can't muster the energy to be angry if the Red Sox aren't clearly the best team in their division and running away with pennants and trophies every season. I don't want them to perpetually be an 85-win team, but they also don't have to be a 108 win juggernaut to satisfy me as a fan.
 

E5 Yaz

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Maybe I'm mellowing as I get older, but I just can't muster the energy to be angry if the Red Sox aren't clearly the best team in their division and running away with pennants and trophies every season. I don't want them to perpetually be an 85-win team, but they also don't have to be a 108 win juggernaut to satisfy me as a fan.
Thank you
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah that’s totally fair, it’s more just a realization that the Sox relative position this season isn’t likely to change dramatically in the near term future. It’s easy to think that the team will be better in a few years, but most fans and teams think that.
 

BaseballJones

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Ideally, you're right. But the players are humans and it's also not unreasonable to think they'd be a bit deflated if the front office doesn't show them the support they were hoping to get.
Since we're playing armchair psychiatrist, what has this done for Dalbec? Maybe it's given him a huge boost of confidence. Instead of "you suck and we need to replace you", it's "we believe in you".

At the trade deadline, he was hitting: 84 g, 26 r, 10 hr, 38 rbi, .215/.260/.391/.651

Since then he's gone: 25 g, 13 r, 8 hr, 23 rbi, .333/.421/.788/1.209

So the Sox "replaced" a .215/.260/.391/.651 hitter with a .333/.421/.788/1.209 hitter. Not bad.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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While I don't discount his taking the lack of a trade as a sign of faith for him, it's equally as likely just more experience at work for him. Maybe it's has helped his hitting.

It certainly has not helped his fielding at all. Ye gods he's terrible there. He's still at -0.3 WAR for the season, but his defensive WAR is -1.3.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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While I don't discount his taking the lack of a trade as a sign of faith for him, it's equally as likely just more experience at work for him. Maybe it's has helped his hitting.

It certainly has not helped his fielding at all. Ye gods he's terrible there. He's still at -0.3 WAR for the season, but his defensive WAR is -1.3.
The point is that we can talk about what kind of impact the deadline choices Boston made had on the players, and we can talk about the guys that have played worse since then, but we also need to talk about the guys who played better. Especially the one who was most affected by the move/non-move - Bobby Dalbec. He's mashed since the trade deadline. Defense not so good but offensively he's been killing it.

I think the bigger point is: We have NO IDEA what kind of impact the Sox' moves/non-moves have had on the team psychologically. None.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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That did not require, however, a response
In context of the season, the trade deadline is a big deal. I don't think that you can talk about the season as a whole, which includes this collapse, without bringing up one of--not THE--cause of said collapse. Yes, maybe the Red Sox were playing out of thier asses for four months and they were going to regress. But the regression hasn't been steady, it's been a complete nosedive. Would better players acquired on July 31 have leveled the dive? It's arguable, but I'd say yes.

Putting your fingers in your ears and screaming "CHAIM HAS A PLAN!!!!!" is about as useful as saying "CHAIM HAS NO CLUE!!!!!" When fans are in the middle of this and want answers, it's okay to look at the players, manager, front office and ownership to divvy up the blame pie. Like I've said a couple of times already, I look at prospects as a pretty fungible resource--every year you get a chance to find the next Mike Trout and if your scouts do a relatively good job, while you won't get Trouts across the board, but you can find players that will help you--and I'd have traded pretty much anyone to get a decent first baseman and some solid relievers. Bloom did not share that philosophy, which is fine, he's the boss. But for fuck's sake, this is a message board where people talk about Red Sox minutia; it's probably going to come up more than a few times.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Since we're playing armchair psychiatrist, what has this done for Dalbec? Maybe it's given him a huge boost of confidence. Instead of "you suck and we need to replace you", it's "we believe in you".

At the trade deadline, he was hitting: 84 g, 26 r, 10 hr, 38 rbi, .215/.260/.391/.651

Since then he's gone: 25 g, 13 r, 8 hr, 23 rbi, .333/.421/.788/1.209

So the Sox "replaced" a .215/.260/.391/.651 hitter with a .333/.421/.788/1.209 hitter. Not bad.
The Major Leagues is not a place where ball players go to play until they get confident. If he couldn't do the job (and through mid-August, it was apparent that he really couldn't), he shouldn't have been there. He honestly should have been back in Worcester to get his confidence up, but the Sox didn't have anyone better, so they stuck him there.

And I'm one who likes that Cora gives his players long leashes until they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can't cut the mustard. I think that it pays off more often than not. But Dalbec was complete mess for a vast majority of the year.