Blog Entry

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:03 am
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BostonBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Boston Red Sox
Record: 90-72, 3rd place in AL East, 7 games back
Manager: Terry Francona
Best hitter: Jacoby Ellsbury -- .321/.376/.552, 46 2B, 32 HR, 39 SB
Best pitcher: Josh Beckett -- 13-7, 2.89 ERA, 193 IP, 52 BB, 175 K

2011 SEASON RECAP

Here's guessing you've heard plenty about the Red Sox's 2011 season, so let's be brief. After stumbling to a 2-10 start, the Sox rebounded to go 81-44 over a 122-game stretch, then things completely imploded in September as Boston fell out of the postseason entirely, losing the wild card on the final day of the regular season.

While clubhouse dysfunction has ruled the news lately, the Red Sox's problems went deeper than that, as lack of pitching was a major problem that completely fell apart in September. Daisuke Matsuzaka fell to Tommy John surgery early on, pressing Tim Wakefield into year-long duty. Injuries were also sustained by Josh Beckett and trade-deadline acquisition Erik Bedard. Kevin Youkilis played in just 10 games after August 17, and J.D. Drew was a vanishing act from July 20-Sept. 24.

2012 AUDIT

The Red Sox are a good team, chemistry issues aside. There isn't much wholesale changes to be done, although there are several items of importance the Red Sox will have to address. The club could be looking at vacancies in right field, shortstop, DH and closer, so Boston has its hands full. It will also have to address the back of the rotation. A busy offseason awaits, but the core of the team is intact.

FREE AGENTS

Erik Bedard, SP
J.D. Drew, RF
Conor Jackson, OF
Hideki Okajima, RP
David Ortiz, DH
Jonathan Papelbon
Trever Miller, RP
Marco Scutaro, SS ($5 million team option, $3 million player option)
Jason Varitek, C
Tim Wakefield, SP
Dan Wheeler, RP ($3 million team option).

OFFSEASON FOCUS
  • There's a ton of different directions the Red Sox could go, especially with a new GM and manager on the way, but one thing's for sure -- the Red Sox need to bring in a strong presence somewhere next year. Whether that's a new closer, a starting picher or right fielder, Boston can't afford to stay pat after the horrendous collapse it experienced in September. Some options include not signing Jonathan Papelbon and investing that money elsewhere, whether that be in C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish for the rotation, or signing Jose Reyes to play shortstop, although that's an avenue fraught with risk.
  • While Papelbon hasn't seemed terribly interested in staying with Boston in the past, the team needs to bring him back if they can. Papelbon has proven he can handle the ninth inning in Boston and is the type of ferocious competitor the team needs to emphasize in the wake of a dysfunctional clubhouse. A fallback would be Ryan Madson. Boston could also save money and promote Daniel Bard to closer, but then it needs to invest in a setup man, and it will be much easier to find a closer than it will be a setup man.
  • It will be difficult for Boston to play on the trade market because of a lack of upper-minors depth, but the club should be discussing John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin with the White Sox and try to find a fit for at least one of these players. In a perfect world, Danks would be a great fit for Boston and the White Sox may be more motivated to move him than Floyd given Danks is nearing free agency while Floyd has signed an extension.
  • If Quentin is a no-go, there aren't many right-field candidates on the free-agent market Boston might be interested in, but a flier on David DeJesus makes sense, thanks to having Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick as insurance. Kalish or Reddick should win the backup outfield job. If the Sox could pull it off, a trade of Andre Ethier would be a nice get, but that addresses Boston's strengths, not weaknesses. Shouldn't the team be worrying the most about its pitching? The Red Sox need to come away this winter with a starter capable of being called a No. 3, whether via free agency or the trade market.
  • Speaking of Ortiz, bring him back. Look, Kevin Youkilis probably best belongs as a first baseman or DH, no doubt. But a pairing of Ortiz at DH and Youk at 3B is way better than anything the team could get by moving Youk to DH and looking for a third baseman, of which there wouldn't be much available. The team simply has to gameplan for Youk to miss 25-40 starts and deal with it. The only way this would work is if Youkilis was sent out for that coveted starting pitcher. The Marlins are on the hunt for one -- perhaps Youk for ex-Sox farmhand Anibal Sanchez?
  • Pick up Marco Scutaro's option. Scoot was on fire down the stretch and easily earned his $5 million club option. He can return as a shortstop, allowing the team to use Jed Lowrie as trade bait or insurance for Youk. Mike Aviles is also hanging around.
  • Trade John Lackey. It almost doesn't matter where. He's been a massive disappointment in Boston and is not the same pitcher he once was. His constant bad attitude isn't helping the club and he needs to be considered a sunk cost. A popular trade is moving him to the Giants for Barry Zito, and while that would be a better alternative to keeping Lackey, there has to be another option for the Red Sox than having to take Zito, right? OK, maybe not.
  • Allow Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek to part. It will be tough for Wake and Sox fans alike not to have Wakefield around to try to get the all-time Red Sox record in wins, but Wakefield hasn't been a strong pitcher for sometime now and over the last few seasons has changed from a consummate team player to one who has increasingly gotten more selfish as retirement nears. Likewise, Varitek's impact on the team has dipped sharply. The two players departing would send a signal to the clubhouse that no one is safe and get more capable players in the fold. Wakefield's departure would also free up Alfredo Aceves to be the top option out of the bullpen to spot start.
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Comments

Since: Jun 23, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 9:52 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are a good team 

It was a tough year.

Go Red Sox
   




Since: Feb 5, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2011 11:46 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

i am not a red sox fan by any means. I am also not here to bash them for my wife would probably kill me. I think what happened in september was unreal. the red sox have always bashed the yankees for throwing money around and buying teams. the sox havnt done that until last year. lackey blows his good years are gone. papelbon isnt what he used to be. dice-k gotta go. boston cant let big papi off that team. i enjoyed waching them beat NY into the ground. i think it keeps NY fans in check. They fix the pitching they should be ok. But they proved a vaild point to me this year throwing money and big names doesnt mean there gonna help you win. they have also let some players go they shouldnt have. I hope they get it fixed. be nice to see them go to the playoffs. 



Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: October 15, 2011 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

Keep Ortiz and Scutaro.  Let all the other free agents go.  Bring up some "no names" from the farm system.  It would be better than what we have now.    I hope Tito goes to Chicago with Theo and they bring a World Series to Wrigley by 2013.



Since: Dec 23, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 9:43 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

It goes to show that without pitching you have a hard time winning championships. Two of the best batting teams are out in the American League (Red Sox,Yankees). Now Philly had the pitching but not the bats. They just ran into a pitcher just as good (Carpenter) anyone one they had.

No matter what the Red Sox do this off season I know they will be in the hunt like always. Down the stretch they pitching they did have fell apart. Both Boston and New York have to address the pitching or they both will fall short again next year.



Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 5:36 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

I agree on most of your insights; however, Lackey for Zito? LOL.  Better to get one or two pitching prospects than that stiff.



Since: Jul 31, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:37 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

pitching,pitching and ss. these are the places that the sox need to fix. yeah scutaro was hot down strretch but that was only part of a 162 game season. put together a nice little package and try working a trade for hanley ramirez. a great ss. there saying reyes....why? there is already team chemistry problems so were gonna sign someone who (bunting then pulling himself to protect avg) thinks of only themself!i wish the sox luck...i love the team!!!!! but they need some work. all i want for xmas is a number 3 pitcher.( haha dec when everything happens) thanks for listening fellow sox fans 




Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:02 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

It will be tough for Wake and Sox fans alike not to have Wakefield around to try to get the all-time Red Sox record in wins
Sarcasm, right?



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:27 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

PS - Thanks for giving thousands of Yankee fans a new icon to use with that tombstone for Boston. Great going buddy!



Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:20 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Boston Red Sox

BABE RUTH LIVES!!! GO YANKEES!!!



Since: Jun 23, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:39 am
 

Red Sox

Go Red Sox

Keep Josh Beckett
Re sign Papi and BullPen arms.


   
    


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