Nate once helped fund an airplane to fly a banner to get the Miami Hurricanes head coach fired. He’s a football feen and loves all things Boston sports.
3-9. A mirage or a serious problem? Why not both?
Why it’s a mirage:
Sale, Price, Porcello, Eovaldi, E-Rod combined ERA of almost 9. As crappy as they’ve been, there’s no way in blue hell it will continue at that pace. Not just because they are better pitchers than that, but because literally no pitching staff has EVER been that bad.
BABIP/Hard Hit %
While the offense hasn’t been bad, it hasn’t been what it was last year just yet. Much of that is due to just bad luck. The team is hitting .276 on balls in play. Look at that versus even the last two seasons where the Sox as a team have hit over .300 on balls in play. Yes, I like saying BALLS in PLAY. Devers and Benintendi specifically are hitting the ball well at a higher rate than at any time in their career, yet have very little to show for it. These things even out as the season progresses.
Why there’s a deeper problem:
Let me go on record, I think the sox can still contend this year. However, I do believe the window of championship level is MAYBE one more year after this. Usually these doors slam faster than you expect…it wouldn’t shock me that this season is the last. Given that the Sox have won 4 World Series when most of my grandparents lived and died without ever seeing one indicates we’ve all been pretty lucky.
I believe some poor roster management/inevitable re-tooling is going to cause this to end.
Let’s get to the biggest concern, Chris Sale. Dombrowski just gave him 150 million dollars. Sale, a great pitcher who has had numerous health issues at the end of seasons throughout his career was guaranteed 30 mil/season. This is not meant as a criticism to Sale, who is a max effort player. But as the GM, before giving him this extension, how do you not make sure he’s good health-wise first? The start of this season, culminating in him leaving yesterday’s game after 76 pitches and 4 innings indicates SOMETHING is not right. That’s before we even get into the reduced velocity aspect. Say the medicals did come back okay, yet he’s still throwing like this…then that’s an even bigger issue. Irresponsible move on Dave D’s part. We are now committed to 30 million a year for the next 6 to Sale. We are also committed about 32 million a year to David Price through the 2022 season. That’s 62 million a year in aging arms.
But wait, Dave has done this before. Look at the Tigers. Victor Martinez? Irresponsible extension. Miguel Cabrera? Slightly less irresponsible extension but still not worth it. Verlander? Decent extension, but they were in such a crap spot in their rebuild they had to deal him for pennies on the dollar—which the Astros thank them for. The only different this time is that the Redsox have actually won a world series. The Tigers had to let their biggest prize, Max Scherzer, go because of DD’s decisions. Anyone else get the feeling that this time that part will be played by Mookie Betts? Dave is a one-trick pony who I don’t see as flexible enough to see through the team in the next few seasons.
With little help in the minor leagues aside from Michael Chavis and Darwinzon Hernandez (LHP) on the horizon, it’s hard to see where this team replenishes the talent with the upcoming holes at 1B, 2B, SP (Ricky P is gone after this year), and corner OF (when Mookie bounces after next season). If things went absolutely south this season, you would have had some ELITE pieces to deal away to help rebuild…but oops we extended Xander and Sale already.
The point is when you’ve cut down our minor league system to the point where it is now, you can’t sustain the run. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it when you win a world series, but it’s not a repeatable formula long term.
This great run has been the selective use of free agent $$ and the infusion of young, controllable talent flowing through our system. Very soon we won’t have the money to be able to pay free agent mercenaries with all our long term commitments…and we already don’t have the prospects.
Doom and gloom. Go Sox.