With a 22-29 record on the books, the Red Sox may already have cause to regret several recent decisions, writes Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. Whether or not the team is better set up for the long term, he says, adding Wade Miley, Justin Masterson, and Joe Kelly (as opposed to, say, keeping John Lackey and acquiring Jeff Samardzija) has not paid off in the short run. Likewise, the signings of Hanley Ramirez (who has not adapted well to the outfield) and Pablo Sandoval (who owns a .688 OPS) have not paid the dividends hoped for when the club allocated $183MM between the two veterans.
Here’s more from Boston:
- Dealing with the on-field problems is not just a baseball question, explains Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. It’s imperative for the bottom line that the club do what it can to stay in contention, which is made plausible by the fact that the rest of the divisions has been mired in mediocrity. The risk of another long season out of the race, says Bradford, is an apathetic fan base that could lose patience with the organization.
- Boston’s struggles have put manager John Farrell’s job at risk, says Christopher Gasper of the Boston Globe, even if they aren’t really his fault. The club is nearing a point where some drastic change is needed, says Gasper, and the “even-keeled and cerebral” Farrell may need to engineer a quick turnaround to keep his position. Gasper observes that, while the club’s less-than-powerful offense can hope for better luck given its league-low .269 BABIP, it has also produced a league-worst 21.1% soft contact rate (per Fangraphs).
- As if trouble on offense and in the rotation were not enough, the Globe’s Alex Speier discusses the team’s sub-par overall efforts on defense. Errors have not generally been a big problem on the whole, but advanced metrics view the Sox as one of the league’s worst defensive units. The biggest problem, says Speier, is that Ramirez has been the league’s single worst fielder by a significant margin. Remarkably, Ramirez has cost the club about one quarter of a run per game thus far, and Speier observes that there are no ready solutions (other than continuing to work toward and hope for improvement) given Boston’s current roster alignment.
- In an interview with Toucher & Rich of CBS Boston (audio link), Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe explains that Farrell is not the main issue with the Red Sox. The skipper has done what he can with the roster, says Abraham, who goes on to argue that Ramirez can’t just be shifted to first base — which might create even greater problems. Nevertheless, with the AL East underperforming, Abraham says there is reason to believe the club can stay in the hunt.