We continue our look at the States of all thirty Major League franchises with the Boston Red Sox. Boston has been on a downward trajectory since winning the World Series in 2018. So for this piece, we’ll examine the State of the 2021 Boston Red Sox.
And check out our corresponding video entry in the State of the 30 MLB Teams, Boston Red Sox edition on the Laracuente Ledger Network YouTube channel. (The State of the Boston Red Sox.)
Trading Away Mookie Betts
Ok, so to begin understanding the 2021 Boston Red Sox, we must first look back at last offseason. It was during the Winter of 2019-2020 that the Red Sox did the unthinkable. The Boston Red Sox would trade away the phenomenal Mookie Betts. And even though we are discussing the current Red Sox franchise heading into 2021, Mookie Betts’ loss began the downward spiral for the BoSox.
Trading Away Andrew Benintendi
Moving Andrew Benintendi is another move that trends towards a rebuild. Benintendi was once thought of as one of the best young outfielders in the game. He was thought to be the early favorite for the 2017 Rookie of the Year before Aaron Judge ran away with the award. Trading away Benintendi affords the Red Sox a chance to see what they have in the Minor Leagues and truly evaluate them. Opportunities will be the calling card and staple of the 2021 Boston Red Sox.
Resigning Martin Perez
The signing of Martin Perez was a logical and necessary one for the Boston Red Sox. Regardless of whether or not Boston contends, they still need to eat up innings. And bringing back a pitcher like Perez allows innings to come off the board for Boston.
Sign Hunter Renfroe
Hunter Renfroe is an interesting sign for the Boston Red Sox. Especially now, given the trade of Andrew Benintendi. Renfroe is likely to take over in left field of the BoSox. And Hunter can provide more pop than Benintendi while sacrificing on the defense. Now playing left field in Fenway Park is tricky because of the Green Monster. But if you know the ricochets off the wall and play the bounces right, it’s one of the game’s shallowest left fields.
Traded for Adam Ottavino from the NY Yankees
At the time of this trade, it was clear and obvious but also perplexing. The Yankees trading of Adam Ottavino was a salary dump. But what was Boston getting in the deal? Ottavino is coming off of a very rough, albeit shortened, 2020 workload. Now, it wasn’t long ago that’s Adam would reconstruct and reinvent himself. Should Ottavino rediscover that form, the American League should be on the lookout.
Signing Kike Hernandez & Martin Gonzalez
The free-agent signings of Kike Hernandez and Martin Gonzalez were extremely underrated and intelligent moves by Chaim Bloom. Both men are capable of playing multiple positions all around the field. And both men provide solid players at the plate. If the Red Sox can find themselves competing for a postseason spot in 2021, having two players with such versatility is like having a 6 man bench. And if the Red Sox should find themselves out of contention, then they have two extremely valuable assets at the trade deadline.
Signing Garrett Richards
Garrett Richards could quickly become an x-factor for the Boston Red Sox in 2021. Richards has dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout his Major League career. But when healthy, we’ve seen him be a very good pitcher. And when you think about the low-pressure situation of being Boston’s possibly fourth or fifth starter, there’s no reason to believe that Richards will fail. And if he can stay healthy, he gives Boston a much greater chance of reminding teams exactly who they are.
State of the Rotation
The Boston Red Sox rotation is an interesting mix. There is the potential for some standout performers but also some failures. Injuries will play the biggest factor in the success/failure of the Red Sox rotation. If the rotation can remain healthy, Boston could find themselves in the hunt for a postseason berth.
State of the Bullpen
There may not be any nationally recognized names in their bullpen, but there are quality arms in the pen. The recently acquired Adam Ottavino will likely find himself, at least, competing for the closer job in Beantown. Other arms could also find themselves in that battle. And the rest of the bullpen will shake out after the closer is determined.
State of the Offense
Boston’s offense should still pose a threat to teams in the American League. And while it’s not the threat that it once was (I.e., when they had Mookie Betts). The offense for the Sox can still do damage. JD Martinez has the potential to change the game with one swing of the bat. Kike Hernandez has a knack for coming up clutch in big situations. Alex Verdugo will quietly be one of the best outfielders in baseball in 2021. And I personally love the way Christian Vazquez plays the game. So there are players that Red Sox Nation should be excited to see play in 2021.
State of the Franchise
While many baseball pundits are writing off the Red Sox in 2021, that would be a mistake. Now, yes, the team has significantly weakened itself over the past couple of years by trading Betts and Benintendi. But they could still surprise people. Baseball Prospectus has the Red Sox 2021 record projections under .500 at 80-82. And while the pitching staff is questionable, the Red Sox offense shouldn’t be slept on by the American League. Boston will be better than people expect but are still unlikely to contend in 2021.