Looking Ahead With 2020 Vision

After Mookie Betts slid into home at Fenway Park last Sunday night, the Red Sox season was over in walk off fashion. After losing two games to the Orioles, the Red Sox walked it off on Sunday in what might have been the final game for many of its players. Now, the Red Sox looking ahead to the 2020 season. After this year’s World Series, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. First, they need to find a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. Then, they need to figure out who’s staying, coming, going, and coming back.

Many fans know how an offseason like this begins and ends. We’ve seen it in the past. Bylooking ahead the time 2020 rolls around, the Red Sox will be ready to go. The question is though, what will the roster look like? Will players like Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland resign with the Red Sox? Will they trade Mookie Betts? And what does the future hold for J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox will be looking ahead to next season, and will try and build for the future at the same time this offseason.

Looking Ahead With 2020 In Sight

After making it to the postseason for the past three seasons, the Red Sox fell short in 2019. Now, they are looking ahead to 2020. The first thing that needs to be done is getting a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. During the loss to the Yankees on September 8th, the Red Sox fired Dombrowski in a move that shocked fans. It was only a matter of time, but the timing was, and still is, questionable.

Many Red Sox players may have played their final games last week. Rick Porcello, Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland are all free agents this offseason. Steve Pearce is a free agent as well, but is contemplating retirement. Another name to look out for is J.D. Martinez. When he signed his five year contract prior to the 2018 season, there were opt-out clauses placed in there. One of those is for this offseason.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox would probably like to keep all those guys mentioned above. They also need to work on rebuilding their farm system as well. Sadly, this may come in the form of a trade. There are many big name free agents that’ll be on the market this offseason as well, such as Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Cole Hamels. Only time will tell how the Red Sox will look in 2020, however, the madness begins once the final out of the World Series is made.

Key Games in 2020

The Red Sox will be opening the 2020 season on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays from March 26th to March 29th. From there, they head to Baltimore to play the Orioles from March 30th to April 1st. The Red Sox’s home opener will be on April 2nd against the Chicago White Sox. So far, this schedule is better than the 2019 one, where they played in Seattle, Oakland, and Arizona to start off the season.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox have seven interleague series this year. They play the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Saint Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds at home. They also play away games against the Braves, Reds, and the Chicago Cubs. Unlike in previous seasons, they will not be playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

In May, the Red Sox will be playing a three game series at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. They will also be playing the Yankees in New York in the second weekend of May. This year’s All Star Game, which will be held at Dodgers Stadium, is scheduled for July 14th. Just like in 2019, the Red Sox will be closing out the season at home against the Orioles.

How To Be Successful in 2020

With the postseason in full swing, one can only wonder if the Red Sox have what it takes to make it in 2020. Looking ahead, they need help in the bullpen, and the rotation, that was obvious this season. They also need to figure out how to stay under the luxury tax, and not overpay players like they have in the past. Examples of this include Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.

This past week, many organizations are reworking the clubhouse. Teams like the Mets and Angels have let go of their managers. Others, like the Red Sox, have let go of coaches. The Red Sox announced earlier this week that assistant hitting coach, Andy Barkett, will not be back in 2020. Over the course of the next few days, we may see even more changes happening in Boston.

For now, Red Sox Nation is on pause until after the World Series. Then, and only then, will we know what the 2020 Red Sox will look like. It’s going to be a long waiting game until the end of October and a new champion is crowned. However, before we know it, Spring Training will be here.

Weekend Series in Philadelphia Begins Now

The Red Sox will face the Philadelphia Phillies in a rare two game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Prior to the Red Sox’s arrival, Philly hosted the first place Atlanta Braves. Like the Red Sox, Philly’s season hasn’t been too great. A favorite to win their division, they’re in fourth place in the NL East. At 76-70, the Phillies are two games back of the National League Wild Card.

Last time Boston faced Philadelphia was last month. Philly took both games from Bostonweekend series at Fenway Park, and they look to do it again during this weekend series. After a rough trip to Toronto, the Red Sox look to take both games at Citizens Bank Park. This weekend series will either make or break the Red Sox. Only time can tell how it will turn out.

The Weekend Series Matchup

The first game begins Saturday night, with Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Aaron Nola. This will be Rodriguez’s first time facing the Phillies this season. Last time out for him resulted in a loss to the Yankees. Rodriguez went six innings, allowing five hits and one run. When the Philles came to Boston, Nola started the first game. He got the win, going seven innings, allowing two runs off of four hits. The Red Sox look to have better success against Nola in game one of the weekend series.

The final game of the weekend series has Rick Porcello taking on Jason Vargas in a Sunday afternoon matchup. Porcello was the starter in game two when Philly came to Boston last month. He took the loss, going five innings, and allowing three runs off of three hits. This will be Vargas’ first time facing the Red Sox this season.

On A Positive Note…

Despite going 1-2 against the Toronto Blue Jays, a Red Sox favorite achieved a major milestone. On Thursday night, Xander Bogaerts became the second shortstop in MLB history to hit 50 doubles and 30 home runs in a season. The last shortstop to accomplish that feat was Alex Rodriguez during the 1996 season as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The last Red Sox player to have 50 doubles and 30 home runs was David Ortiz in 2007. Rafael Devers is one home run shy of having a 50-30 season as well.

The nominations for the Roberto Clemente Award came out on Thursday as well. Red Sox utility player, Brock Holt, was nominated for the award for the fourth time.  The Roberto Clemente Award is to recognize a player who represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions. Holt was nominated for the award based on his work with the Jimmy Fund. Fans can vote for Holt on MLB’s website here.

Looking Ahead

Following their weekend series, the Red Sox host the San Francisco Giants. The series begins on Tuesday, and Red Sox Nation will be looking at a different Yastrzemski in left field. Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Mike, will be making his Fenway debut in a Giants uniform. For Red Sox fans looking to see Pablo Sandoval back at Fenway, they’re going to have to wait. The third baseman recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Sandoval was a member of the Red Sox from 2015-2017. He signed a five year deal with Boston during the 2014 offseason after winning his third World Series as a member of the Giants.

J.D. Martinez is Turning Into One of Boston’s Best Signings Ever

In November of 2015, David Ortiz announced that the 2016 season would be his last. The long and treasured career of Boston’s beloved designated hitter will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Red Sox Nation, and his retirement left the Red Sox in a very unfamiliar position. For the first time since Ortiz joined the lineup in the 2003 season, the Sox were without a trusted power bat. The 2017 season gave us no answers, with Boston finishing 27th in home runs and 26th in slugging percentage. Now, a little over a quarter of the way through 2018, I think we have an answer. His name is J.D. Martinez, signed to a five-year, $110 million contract this past offseason. Not only has he answered this question, but J.D. Martinez has emerged as one of the best free agent signings in Red Sox history.

I know it’s still early. Martinez is not even halfway through his first season with the Red J.D. MartinezSox, and this could be premature. But I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. In 46 games, Martinez ranks second in the MLB in home runs (15), runs batted in (41), slugging percentage (.674), and OPS (1.073). He would lead the American League in batting average, slugging percentage, and home runs if it weren’t for teammate Mookie Betts.

J.D. Martinez In Comparison

Looking back on Boston’s major free agent signings, the track record is less than ideal. And failing to produce or live up to expectations in Boston is a proven formula for failure. Names like Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez come to mind.

I don’t need to go into detail on Sandoval, as that disaster is still fresh in the minds of this city. You may have managed to erase Carl Crawford from your memory by now. But let’s not forget his 7-year, $142 million monster of a contract that gave Boston fans so much hope after years of dealing with him in Tampa Bay. And now? Among the biggest busts in the history of the Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez actually played well in his one full season with the Red Sox, but never quite fulfilled the expectations surrounding him. The list goes on and on. John Lackey, Rusney Castillo, and Josh Beckett join the list of players that never quite lived up to their price tag. Quick note of appreciation to the Los Angeles Dodgers for liberating us from Crawford, Gonzalez, and Beckett.

But now it’s time to forget all of that and relish in the present. J.D. Martinez is hitting as well as anyone in the MLB, and is currently on pace to break his home run record for a season. Paired with fellow slugger Mookie Betts atop the Red Sox order, Martinez has found, and embraced, his role in this lineup. And he’s earning every bit of his paycheck.

The formula to succeed as a Boston athlete has become pretty simple over the years. Just do your job. And Martinez is doing it as well as anyone.

Red Sox Nation Loves To Hate John Farrell

Look at any comment thread beneath a Red Sox article and you can see how fans love to hate John Farrell. They call for his ouster when the Red Sox are losing. They demand his head when they lose badly. Red Sox Nation is even lukewarm towards him when the Red Sox are winning. So why all the hate?

I’ll admit I’m one of those writers who has gone back and forth on Farrell. Some days I’llhate john farrell defended his honor. There’s no doubt Red Sox Nation gets worked up sometimes and says irrational things. Then there’s other days when I read about low morale in the Red Sox clubhouse and assume Farrell’s the source. But is Farrell a consistent manager or do fans and writers just love to hate him?

Bill “Spaceman” Lee once shared his opinion about fickle Boston fans. The pilgrims came here from England and decided to settle in this area where it gets bitter cold in the winter and the snow is often brutal. Facing this hard weather year and year has turned Bostonians into a moody brood who love to hate, and hate to love. So is Farrell a victim of this New England attitude or is he really that bad at managing?

Do Fans Hate John Farrell Or Just Every Red Sox Manager?

Farrell led the Red Sox to a World Series win in 2013, followed by two last-place seasons in 2014 and 2015. The Red Sox won a playoff spot last year but it was more of a limp into the post-season than a sprint. But was that Farrell’s fault? It’s no secret that injuries plague the Red Sox, especially their pitching staff. Farrell did, however, make some questionable decisions last year when he continued to insert Clay Buchholz after it was clear he didn’t have what it took to win ballgames. Then there’s his questionable use of inexperienced pinch hitters.

So do fans love to hate John Farrell? Well, I’ll admit that this writer does. He’s an easy target the same way a teacher is for students when they get poor grades. Is it because he or she is a bad teacher, or is it because the students didn’t study hard enough? You don’t have to look far to find Red Sox players who don’t hustle as much as they should (cough cough Pablo Sandoval). So is that Farrell’s fault? No.

But should Farrell do more to motivate his players? Yes. If not, it’ll eventually cost him his job.

The Pablo Sandoval Nightmare Is Over

The Boston Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment on Friday, July 14th, marking the end to a long and dismal performance by the third baseman. This move means the Red Sox will have to swallow the remaining $49 million left on Sandoval’s contract. That $49 million will be the second largest dead contract in MLB history, behind Josh Hamilton. While this is bad news for Dave Dombrowski, it’s music to thepablo sandoval nightmare ears of Red Sox Nation. The Long Pablo Sandoval nightmare is finally over.

Many wondered if the five-year, $95 million contract the Red Sox offered Sandoval was too excessive. He played well in San Francisco, helping the Giants win multiple World Series titles. After a dismal 2015 debut season though the Red Sox started having second thoughts. His .245 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 2015 concerned many. Starting the 2016 season with a .000 batting average in three games, followed by season-ending surgery, concerned everyone. It wasn’t just Sandoval’s poor performance at the plate though.

The Sandoval Nightmare Was Self-Created

Posting to Instagram during a June 2015 game caught him the ire of management and the front office. Reporting to spring training in 2016 overweight made him the subject of ridicule. What little respect he still had going into the 2016 season quickly evaporated when his belt buckle exploded during a game in Toronto. Sandoval soon went on the DL for the remainder of the season. While a much slimmer Sandoval returned for the 2017 season, injuries and apathy soon got the better of him. Finally, on July 14th, the Red Sox ditched Sandoval after hitting .212 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 32 games.

Sandoval was a problem for many reasons. He clearly didn’t like it here in Boston. His effort was mediocre at best. His tepid focus and dedication hurt the team. But despite the huge amount of money the Red Sox still owe him, some fans think it’s worth getting rid of him.

I certainly do.

The Red Sox Dead Weight Needs To Go

The Red Sox are within a game or two of capturing first place. It’s miracle in its own right if you consider the Red Sox dead weight. Pablo Sandoval isn’t panning out. Sandy Leon’s flash in the pan hitting last year isn’t carrying into this season. Rick Porcello leads the league in losses at 9. If the Red Sox are going to capture first place they need to cut some of their dead weight and they need to do it yesterday.

Red Sox Dead Weight

The Red Sox are playing great baseball. Josh Rutledge is holding his own at third. Andrew Benintendi is a contender for the Rookie of the Year Award. Mookie Betts is leading the Red Sox with 12 homers. Chris Sale is as masterful as ever. But with the Red Sox dead weight that consists of Sandoval, Porcello, and Leon, it’s hard for the team to play better, and they certainly can.

The Red Sox Are Winning the Late-Inning Games

The Red Sox were among the league leaders last year with runners left on base and runners left in scoring position. It seemed like the Red Sox gave up once they fell behind. We’re not seeing that attitude this season. Back-to-back walk-off wins against Philadelphia last week proved that the Red Sox can play under pressure. What’s even better is that players like Benintendi are the ones coming through in the clutch.

Red Sox Dead Weight Is Dragging The Team Down

It’s not always easy to cut dead weight. Players like Pablo Sandoval and Rick Porcello have such big contracts that it’s hard to find another team that’ll pick them up. In other instances no one wants them. But the Red Sox should just rip off the band-aid and shed these players before the All-Star break. Keeping them around is like putting raisins in oatmeal cookies. They just get in the way.

There’s a great scene in the film Moneyball where Billy Bean, played by Brad Pitt, goes against expert advice and cuts a number of players, including Jeremy Giambi. These players weren’t panning out. They were dead weight on the field and a distraction in the clubhouse. While the plot of Moneyball and the reality of the Red Sox are completely different, it’s a lesson that the Red Sox could learn something from. The front office needs to stop coming up with excuses and make some difficult decisions.