I haven't written much about the Red Sox lately, as 2014 evolved into a lost season for the defending World Series Champions.
They backed up the truck on July 31, and a number of key players from the 2013 Champions departed.
It was a smart move by Red Sox brass.
The Sox have a deep farm system, and it was time to see what they truly had in their young players.
Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Anthony Ranaudo were brought up and put into the rotation. So far, I like what I see. Webster got his third win last night, De La Rosa was spectaular against the Angels this past week, and Ranaudo, despite struggling on Wednesday, got his second win. It's a good move to put the youngsters out there, throw them off the deep end of the pool and see if they can swim.
2014 continues to be a struggle for both Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley. Bradley has been nothing short of spectacular in the field, turning in highlight-reel plays. He is a Gold Glove center fielder right now. But his bat has been another story. He just broke an 0-for-35 slump this past Wednesday, and didn't draw a single walk in that stretch. He's currently hitting .213.
Bogaerts actually got off to a good start this season, but from June on, has tailed off badly, and is currently hitting .233. He also struggled at shortstop, and moved over to third after the ill-advised Stephen Drew signing (who is currently in a 4-for-32 slump with NY). Bogaerts has looked better in the field since Drew departed and he returned to shortstop. Another wise move getting rid of Drew and putting Bogaerts at short and leaving him there. The Sox are correct to leave him there and let him improve. The kid is still just 21, and will get better with time.
I have been impressed with Christian Vazquez behind the plate. He calls the game like a veteran already, and has a cannon for an arm. He's hitting .236 with 12 RBI, but his offensive numbers aren't overly important right now. He clearly is ready to be a full time MLB signal caller.
As September is just two weeks away, we should be seeing more rookies at Fenway when the rosters expand. Get these guys a taste of the majors going forward to 2015. I really believe the Sox are in far better shape for the future than their rival Yankees are. The Sox have a deep farm system, and can make over their team the way did in 2012. They can trade young talent, as well as some of the MLB talent they have, and sign free agents. They have no bad contracts, and only one player on a long term contract (Dustin Pedroia). I'm not guaranteeing a title in 2015, but the team should look very different from the one that took the field on Opening Day of 2014.
New York, on the other hand, has little in their farm system, many bad contracts, almost no one on their MLB roster they can trade for a significant return (with the exception of Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances), and the specter of Alex Rodriguez returning in 2015. Yes, the circus is coming back to town, and from Hal Steinbrenner's comments the other day, A-Rod will be welcomed back. They owe him $61 million over the next three years, and sure that's a lot of money to eat, but do you really want to bring back a guy who is going on 40, with a bad hip and who hasn't seen game action in nearly 1 1/2 years? Not to mention is more and more hated by the rank-and-file of MLB after that inane lawsuit he filed against the Players Association (and eventually withdrew)? The Yankees can only sign free agents, and that will not help them get younger, especially at the most athletic of positions.
They are stuck with him.
Anyway, back to the Sox. They have currently won 5 of 6, and I'd love to see them get back to .500, and pass the Yankees. I know, I know, I can still dream...