Friday, December 23, 2022

Uncustomed Heroes of 2022: Red Sox


It seems we've developed a pattern in Boston. The lineup is always going to be good. But if the pitching sucks, there's no point. So they'll be amazing one year and then the following year they'll be in last because nobody there can pitch well. And 2022 was a latter year for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, it was the wrong year for the pitching to crap out, because all the hitters that had been doing well for the Sox were on contract years. Next season, the Red Sox will not have Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez, J.D. Martinez or Matt Strahm, and have the likelihood of not having Nate Eovaldi, Enrique Hernandez, Michael Wacha or even Beantown's own Rich Hill. Yes, people like Kenley Jansen, Masataka Yoshida and the remaining contracts of Trevor Story and Rafael Devers will help a little, but...with all the faith lost in Chaim Bloom, will Red Sox fans truly care?

This was the second and last year of Enrique Hernandez' Boston contract. The first year went really well. This year, Kiké was limited to 93 games, hit .222 and still managed 45 RBIs. Hernandez' defense is still first rate, but his offense took a dive this year, which may explain why teams are still mulling over whether they want him even as the big pieces have come off the board.
2023 Prediction: I kinda think the Sox can afford to re-sign him, but I don't think they will. Someplace like St. Louis or Chicago will get him.

I keep thinking that Tanner Houck is gonna be a bigger deal than he is. In a year where I figured Houck was primed for a starting role, he started only 4 games and got 8 saves. Houck was a relief piece for this team, which will become a lot more baffling considering who's next in this post. He still managed a 3.15 ERA and 56 Ks, but only played in 32 games. Even if they're limiting his innings, Houck's still getting injured too easily, which is concerning.
2023 Prediction: I would say more saves, but Kenley Jansen is here. If Jansen were to, I dunno, not live up to expectations...Houck could get 15 saves out of it.

The Boston Red Sox' pitching was a disappointment this year. Unrelated, the team started their best reliever of 2021 and kept their best starting prospect in relief. Garrett Whitlock was best as a middle reliever last year, and I think the Sox were rewarding him by moving him to the rotation in May. In 9 starts, he went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. He was better suited to relief, with a 2.45 ERA in 22 appearances with 44 strikeouts and 6 saves.
2023 Prediction: By all accounts, should be relieving still, but will likely be pressed to start if there aren't enough starting options. 

At the trade deadline, while the Sox lost some big pieces, they managed to gain a few lineup pieces that other teams simply did not want. The Padres, with the addition of Josh Bell, had no use left for Eric Hosmer, and initial opportunities to include Hosmer in the Nats deal fell through. The Sox, however, were getting nothing out of Bobby Dalbec [again] and offered to take Hosmer. In 14 games with the Red Sox, Hosmer hit .244 with 11 hits and 4 RBIs, then got injured and missed September, in addition to clotheslining his case to remain a Red Sock. Hosmer and his old pal Mike Moustakas have been reunited in the free agent pool.
2023 Prediction: I think it'd be very funny if the Nats pick him up after all, but that probably won't happen. Honestly, a Royals reunion would be kinda cool. But, ultimately, people just may not sign the guy.

Tommy Pham was already in hot water for getting into fisticuffs with Joc Pederson over an incident in Mike Trout's fantasy football league, and that along with some other attitude issues led to Pham's going out of favor in Cincinnati. While Pham was a July trade piece, he only ended up in Boston. Pham still pulled decent numbers, with 24 RBIs and 6 homers in 53 games, but it wasn't wowing enough to sell teams in the first few months of free agency.
2023 Prediction: Signs with the Rockies and is rewarded for mediocre baseball.

Somehow the biggest trade deadline acquisition for the Sox was when they nabbed White Sox backup catcher Reese McGuire in exchange for Jake Diekman. McGuire somehow had the better season of the two, hitting .337 with 33 hits, 12 RBIs and 3 homers in 36 games. McGuire seems to be the favorite to catch everyday in Boston next year, and given his history of battering people, he'll fit right in.
2023 Prediction: 25 homers, less than favorable average. So Bobby Dalbec won't even be needed anymore.

Tomorrow, a few intriguing pieces of an intriguing Reds team.

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