This past season for Boston Red Sox was viewed by most fans as quite the disappointment, considering in 2018, The Red Sox won a team record 108 games and cruised through the playoffs en route to a World Series title. In 2019 however, things were a whole other story for the Red Sox. in 2019, the Sox only managed to win a measly 84 games despite having most of their roster from the previous championship winning season back for more. Despite having a talented roster in 2019, the Red Sox were a very big disappointment, which is why I, like many others, believe that there are some big decisions the team will have to make this offseason going into the 2020 season.
For starters (haha), the Red Sox really need to take a close look at their starting pitching. After almost winning the Cy Young in 2018, Red Sox ace Chris Sale only managed to finish 2019 with a 6-11 record and a 4.40 ERA after finishing 2018 with a 12-4 record and a minuscule 2.11 ERA. Sale struggled with injuries parts of the year in 2019 so this is definitely something to keep an eye on, as Sale is one of the highest paid players in baseball, as he’s set to earn 30 million dollars in 2020. Given that 2020 is the second year of the contract extension Sale signed after the World Series win, a trade may be unlikely, but god damn the Sox will be kicking themselves if Sale, a player signed to be the team’s best pitcher, struggles with injuries or underperforms again in 2020. After dominating the playoffs in 2018, fellow Red Sox ace David Price could also put the Red Sox in a tough spot as he’s set to earn 32 million dollars in 2020 and could only manage to win a measly 7 games in 2019 while finishing with a mediocre 4.28 ERA. Not the type of production you’d expect from the highest paid player on the team. Another pitcher who greatly disappointed for the Sox last year was 2018 playoff hero Nate Eovaldi. Eovaldi found himself coming out of the bullpen many times last season and still only finished the year with an atrocious 5.99 ERA. Not a good look for a player who is set to get paid 17 million dollars a year for the next three years. A trade to get out this contract is definitely something that could be on the cards for the Sox. Last thing on pitching. PLEASE FIND AN ACTUAL CLOSER. Seriously, find someone to pitch to close out a game. In 2018, the Sox had the excellent Craig Kimbrel to close out games, but chose not to resign him after the season, which I think was the correct decision, as he was asking for a record setting contract for a closer. In 2019, the strategy spin the wheel of gutless bums in the bullpen and just throw someone out there each week to be the closer obviously didn’t work, so finding a proper closer to finish out games is something that is an absolute must for the Red Sox this offseason.
Now, the elephant in the room. What the hell do the Red Sox do with Mookie Betts? Since debuting for the Red Sox in 2014, Betts has put up together some phenomenal seasons for the Red Sox, with career stats of a .301 batting average, 613 runs scored, 470 RBI’s, 139 homers, and 126 stolen bases. Betts has also made four all star teams, won four silver slugger awards, won four gold gloves, and even won the American League MVP in 2018. Sounds pretty great right? Well, here’s where the problem comes in. Those are all regular season stats and awards. In the playoffs, Betts just doesn’t seem to be the same player. Over 21 career playoff games with the Red Sox, Betts has career averages of just a .227 batting average, only 1 home run, only 2 stolen bases, and a pathetic 4 RBI. This is absolutely not the production a league MVP should be producing in the playoffs, the biggest stage where the games matter the most. With Betts contract set to expire after the 2020 season, I think the time is right to move on. Betts is only 27 years old and still has many good seasons ahead of him, but I think trading Betts for a massive haul of pitching prospects would serve the Red Sox better than signing Betts an extension that would probably be upwards of over 300 million dollars in total. The player himself may also be keen on a change of scenery, as it was reported before the 2019 season that Betts turned down a contract extension offered by the Red Sox. All in all, this offseason, The Red Sox are going to have some very tough decisions to make regarding the future of the team. (All stats courtesy of Pro Baseball Reference)