The Red Sox won 93 games, captured a division title, watched their two young studs Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi have productive seasons, and Chris Sale won 17 games and had an ERA below three.
But I hardly enjoyed watching the 2017 crew — my least favorite team in the last five years. Sure, they were good and talented but where was the emotion with this club?
We knew losing David Ortiz would hurt. Apparently, the players in the clubhouse did not get the memo that when your leader retires it’s time for someone else to step up.
That brings me to the question of what is next for this team? Back to back years they’ve made it to the postseason only to be beaten easily in the divisional series.
That is not a habit the the players, coaches, or management want to fall into. They let John Farrell go which was step No. 1.
Farrell might not have been the worst manager, but he certainly had his flaws and had lost the locker room. Look no further than Game 3. When Price was dealing and Farrell tried to approach him Price wouldn’t speak to him. He had zero influence.
It had been pretty clear for a while that they player’s did not have a ton of respect for him or listened to what he said. He also had a habit of leaving pitchers in just a bit too long and that hurt the team.
Not everything was his fault, he cannot control what happened between Price and Eck, but as a manager if the players aren’t behind you fully then you may as well not be there.
They need a new leader. I’m not sure yet who they will turn to but a new dominant voice should do a lot of good for the young players the Sox have.
The next thing is which player is going to step up? Dustin Pedroia should theoretically be the leader of this team and the veteran voice and presence, but he was more negative than positive this year.
I couldn’t being to tell what Hanley Ramirez was trying to do this postseason. He got benched for game 1 and hit great after that which was all fun and good.
However, I think his throat slashes and choke signs when he got base hits and his “Believe in Boston” flag were his attempt at leading and it did not really work.
I would like to see a full season of consistent effort and production from Hanley before he tries to be the postseason leader of this team.
The logical person to look at next is Mookie Betts. He had great numbers again this year (24 homers and 102 RBIs) and although his average was down some (.264) he was still super productive and great in the field.
He seems more like a lead by his actions type of guy, but maybe that needs to change. He is one of the faces of baseball and he should be able to get up in the locker room and have his teammates listen to him when he talks.
Betts growing into a vocal leader is key for this team turning the corner. It could never happen, but if it does that might be what finally pushes Boston over the top.
Who else could they turn too? Benny is to young and no one else on the roster seems to command the respect because of their performance or the amount of time they’ve been around.
I just want to see some fire from this team next year. I don’t want to keep hearing about who fought on the team plane, the lead they blew in the 8th inning, or how getting thrown out at third base cost them the game.
By no means does this team need an overhaul, talent wise they are close to where they need to be, they just need a voice. Someone who can guide and direct the players through the rigors of a 162 game season.
We will have to wait and see who they chase in free agency and whether or not they pursue any big trades.
Sale is great, Betts is great, Benintendi is great, but playing lifeless, lackadaisical baseball is not great. They slept walk in the playoffs the past two seasons and that cannot keep happening.
Dave Dombrowski is a rash decision maker and I know he won’t continue to settle for this. That was a tough season ton endure despite the success.
Next year I hope to watch a more lively, energized team. If not, the Sox could be in trouble and they may never find the emotional leader for their team.