Red Sox Status Report – For the New Guy

Offense won’t be a problem. Pitching will be the problem. But only if offense is a problem. They need an ace. A number one. But Porcello is rising star. Miley threw 200 innings. Clay can be awesome. We have Uehara and Tazawa. Ross, Ogando can fit the bill.

So many things didn’t pan out for this team. Disappointments are everywhere, both individual and collective.

The organization took gambles. Usually if you take gambles, and have contingencies, and something pans out. Not this time. Right field was one. Shane Victorino – a true hero in 2013 was one. Back surgery last year, injuries hurt him even in 2013. Give him a tremendous amount of credit for being healthy. Stings on the DL this year limited his productivity and resulted in a trade to the Angels.

Rusney Castillo. A supremely talented player. But he disappointed at the beginning of the season after being injured early. Yes, he’s coming around now… hitting the ball well. But he or Victorino playing on a regular basis and playing well would have made a difference. But not by itself.

Pitching. Anyone in Red Sox Nation could probably write a book. Juan Nieves replaced as pitching coach. Insert Carl Willis. Joe Kelly going in the complete wrong direction and ending up in the minors. Miley had a slow start but shows flashes. Clay looked great for a stretch then on the DL… then shut down, his immediate future not known. Porcello, he of the $82.5 million extension through 2019. ERA? 5.81. Masterson? DL then DDA’d, then released. Enough said.

The bullpen – not good. Ogando has given up 12 homeruns to go with a 3.91 ERA. Ross has a similar ERA in 10 fewer appearances. Breslow – 4.44 ERA. Mujica, remember him? Former closer for the Cardinals – dda’d.

Ramirez… Hanley, not Manny. In many ways. Oh he can hit, but left field has become Adventureland. He should be more like Manny. Manny was an inventive left fielder. Learn to play the wall. Get the ball in to second base… fast. Hanley makes it look like he did none of that. Yes, he’s a poor infielder converted to an outfielder. But many have followed the same path to being an adequate outfielder. The other day, he was called a work in progress by his interim manager. How much work has been involved? I don’t profess to know… I can just ask the question.

David Ortiz – slow start, now as hot as the weather and signed for next year ($11 million and increasing). Pedroia – on the DL after beginning to look like himself at the plate. Pablo Sandoval – I still say he’s going to be fine. But he needs to understand “how we do things here.” No texting!

The biggest disappointment of this team is what made them such a good team in 2013. Anchors and leadership. They had anchors in the middle of the lineup. I’m talking real production. Anchors in the rotation, especially Lester and Lackey. Anchors in the outfield. Victorino, Nava, Gomes. Again, real production. The bullpen – it wasn’t stellar – Breslow, Workman, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, but with Tarawa and Uehara they got production out of this group. And Workman was ineffective last year and out with an injury this year.

So as we meander to the end of the 2015 season, Dave Dombrowski and company need to ask this question as they evaluate this current roster and ponder moves for 2016 – Who are the anchors for this team? Who do you put your trust in to set the example, both on the field and off. Who are you counting on to anchor the production (hitting and pitching). And who are you counting on to anchor the leadership of this team? Will the team acquire a veteran presence from outside the organization? The answers to those questions will determine the degree of success we’ll see in 2016.

I’m excited. The Hot Stove should burn bright. The more interest in the Red Sox during the winter, the better. But I’d rather look forward to another season after experiencing a successful one.

We welcome Dave Dombrowski and wish Ben Cherrington well.