10 Things We Learned About the Red Sox This Season
The 2012 Red Sox finished with a record of 69-93.
There isn't a whole lot to be taken away from the most abysmal Red Sox season in the immediate memory of most people, but we did learn a lot about the team on the field and the organization as a whole.
The entire season was terribly destructive to the legacy of the franchise, as it's going to take a lot of maintenance over the next few months to repair the relationship between themselves and a region of rabid, displeased fans.
Naturally, nearly all of the things we learned are negative.
Here they are.
The Front-Office Hierarchy Is a Mess
Remember when Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wanted to hire one guy (Dale Sveum) during the 2011 managerial search and then Larry Lucchino was all like "Nuh uh, Ben!" and went on to hire He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (Bobby Valentine)?
Yeah, ring a bell?
That isn't supposed to happen.
The front office handed over the reins to Cherington following the departure of Theo Epstein and then immediately shot down his first major action as general manager.
Time will tell if the power struggle will remain this season and beyond, but they've done a good job of letting the kid handle his business over the past few months with the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford packing, along with the John Farrell managerial move.
Gone Are the Days of a Productive Farm System
Not taking into account a surprising rookie campaign by third baseman Will Middlebrooks, any and all of the Boston farmhands that came up to play did not contribute a bit.
Take a look at the three that had the highest expectations:
Ryan Lavarnway: 46 games, .157 BA, 2 HR, 12 RBI
Ryan Kalish: 36 games, .229 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI
Jose Iglesias: 25 games, .118 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Combined, the trio of the "future" hit .170 with three homers and 19 RBI in 107 games. I don't need to tell you how awful that is.
Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley are on their way for 2014, but the current crop is dismal.
The Owners Aren't as into Winning as They Used to Be
Between John Henry spending half of his time overseas tending to his precious Liverpool FC and Larry Lucchino mailing in his managerial pick despite overruling Cherington, this ownership is having a hard time maintaining that they're as committed as they used to be.
Perhaps two World Series titles in less than a decade might have taken the competitive edge out of it.
Nonetheless, it's time to either get that fire back or sell.
Simple as that.
No One Can Control the Beast That Is David Ortiz
David Ortiz does what he wants, when he wants, and where he wants.
And he isn't going to do it quietly.
Whether Bobby Valentine's comments on the designated hitter are 100 percent accurate or not, they had to have stemmed from somewhere other than Valentine's disdain over what happened.
The likelihood that Ortiz, knowing that he had already put up impressive-enough numbers to garner a decent contract this offseason, could have played on his Achilles injury in September but chose to sit out because of how bad the team was is high.
No manager, general manager or owner could convince him otherwise.
Nobody tells Ortiz what to do, apparently.
Jacoby Ellsbury Actually Is That Fragile
Two years ago, Ellsbury took heat for missing most of the season with a rib injury.
This year, Ellsbury took heat for missing half of the season with a shoulder injury.
Next year, Ellsbury will take heat for missing (X amount of time) with (X injury).
After missing the majority of the season in half of his professional years, Ellsbury has this tag on him now. It's going to take a lot of consistency on his part to shed it.
The Sellout Streak Is a Myth
Once the season was out of hand, it quickly became evident that this "sellout streak" that the franchise has been peddling is a bit on the hoaxy side, seeing as half the stadium appeared to be empty as the team continued to insist each game was a sellout.
As it turns out, it's because most of those seats had been sold to ticket vendors who would generally mark up the face value of the tickets and resell them to hungry consumers.
Once those consumers lost their appetite, the vendors practically couldn't give the tickets away, and thus the empty seats.
I'm sorry, but you can't tell me that an Aug. 27 Monday afternoon game against the Kansas City Royals was a sellout. You just can't.
Maybe Chicken and Beer Was Necessary for Success?
Hey, I didn't want to be the one to have to say this. But no one else is.
The Red Sox weren't exactly on top of the world before we found out about the chicken and beer scandal, but for plenty of the 2011 season, Boston was the best team in baseball.
The chances are good that fowl and suds didn't make their way into the clubhouse on Sept. 1, so maybe the camaraderie that came along with them (the same camaraderie that seemed missing from this season's roster) wasn't such a bad thing, after all.
The Red Sox Need a Player's Manager
When the front office tried to totally change gears by hiring Bobby Valentine, a supposed tough-as-nails manager, to replace Terry Francona, a manager who stood by his players, it obviously wasn't the direction the team needed to go.
This Red Sox manager needs a player's manager.
It's tough to tell if John Farrell will be more Valentine or more Francona, but he at least has the past two seasons to reflect on what each of them did wrong and improve upon their mistakes.
Intelligent Red Sox Fans Know Better
Some Red Sox fans (not these ones) deserve some credit.
They stopped paying for a crummy product when they knew it wasn't worth it and they were being duped into thinking it was.
Once Fenway Park finally started to have a little more leg room, it became evident that not all Sox fans are the mindless drones that many across the country perceive them to be. At one point, they were considered real baseball fans.
This season proved that many of those intelligent fans still exist in Boston.
Ben Cherington Stepped Up by the End of the Season
Yes, yes he did.
And it's exactly what the Red Sox needed.
When Cherington pulled the trigger on the Dodgers deal, a collective sigh of relief came across Red Sox Nation.
For one, the fans were able to sleep at night knowing that Josh Beckett no longer called New England home, but more importantly, it showed that the new general manager is wearing a man-sized jock strap.
His machismo continued into this offseason and he got the guy he was determined to get in Farrell at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time frame.
It's only the first week of November, so expect a full winter of ballsy, Epstein-like moves.
It's a good thing.