Boston Red Sox: 5 Silver Linings from an Awful Disaster of a Season

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIOctober 1, 2012

Boston Red Sox: 5 Silver Linings from an Awful Disaster of a Season

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    Well, Sox fans, our nightmare is almost over.

    With Sunday's loss to the Orioles, the Boston Red Sox are now three games away from the end of the 2012 nightmare season.

    There will be no playoffs. There will be no offseason glory. All there will be is peace before the winter flurry of free agency.

    As one sits back and reflects, it hasn't seemed all bad. There are always silver linings, and the Sox's disaster of a season certainly has some.

Cody Ross

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    When the Red Sox signed Cody Ross in January, it seemed like a one-and-done deal more than anything else. Ross would fill the hole in right field for a year until a prospect was ready to take over.

    Instead, Ross has emerged as one of the Sox's most consistent offensive forces.

    The right-hander is currently hitting .269/.331/.484 with 21 home runs and 78 RBI. He's playing pretty good defense as well, posting a 4.1 UZR on the season.

    While he's not MVP, that's still great production from a 31-year-old. The Sox might have found a core outfielder for the next few years—and he shouldn't cost too much either.

Blockbuster Trade

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    In August, the BoSox followed through on one of the biggest blockbuster trades in team history. While some remain on the fence over the whole ordeal, it's hard to ignore the positives.

    1. Boston shed over $260 million in payroll. It's not very often that a team can trade struggling stars and get off the hook on almost all financial obligations.

    2. Boston retooled its rotation, bringing in two young pitchers with promising ceilings. Rubby De La Rosa could start in 2013, and Allen Webster shouldn't be much further behind.

    3. Finally, Boston started to retool its image. Trading your stars always hurts, but it was obvious that Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez were no longer a fit in Boston.

2013 MLB Draft

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    You have to fall before you can get back up. When things get as ugly as they were in Boston, you have to blow things up before you can rebuild.

    Retooling your major league talent is a good start, but no matter what, you can never forget to build through the draft.

    Boston's hideous record will help them do that. They're currently No. 7 in the reverse standings, which would be their highest spot in the draft in years.

    While they had no chance for a guy like Mark Appel this past season, he could be in the Sox's system come next June.

Clay Buchholz

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    Returning from an injury-riddled 2011, no one was quite sure how Clay Buchholz would perform in 2012.

    Things started off ugly, but he has been consistently improving. In turn, Buchholz has proven himself ready to be a cornerstone member of the rotation.

    Sure his stats aren't amazing—11-7, 4.22 ERA—but he also posted a first-half ERA of 5.53. Since the All-Star break, he's been on fire, pitching to the tune of a 3.11 ERA and 2.46 K/BB.

    He'll should also finish the season with a drop in his BB/9 for the fourth year in a row.

    Buchholz still isn't ace material, but 2012 has proven that he's a core player in the Sox rotation moving forward.

Will Middlebrooks

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    Will Middlebrooks would have been a Sox mainstay no matter what, but chances are it wouldn't have come until next season.

    Thanks to the dramatics between Kevin Youkilis and Bobby Valentine, Youk was shipped out, and Middlebrooks got his chance.

    The Sox's top prospect didn't disappoint, finishing the season batting .288/.325/.509 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI. It became obvious that Boston had found their future star.

    Unfortunately, Middlebrooks has been out since early August with a wrist injury and will remain out until next season. Still, it's hard to deny the impact that he's already made on the future.