Heading into the season, many baseball fans and analysts pegged the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox to battle for AL supremacy. Both teams have struggled to start the year, leaving the American League up for the taking.
While it is easy to blame manager John Farrell for the teams early shortcomings, the bulk of the blame has to be directed towards the man who assembled the 2017 squad (and the man who brought Farrell back, instead of promoting bench coach Torey Lovullo if you are an anti-Farrell guy).
If you look at the team’s weaknesses this year, a lack of depth has severely costed this team, and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski needs to hear the chatter, not manager Farrell.
After dealing Buccholz in the offseason to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Red Sox rotation lacked a depth starter who could give the Red Sox some quality starts. Whether you believed Buccholz was a capable arm or not, if you can not agree that he is a better option on the mound than Hector Velazquez, you clearly did not watch his major league debut.
Having only three reliable starting pitchers (a stretch considering the way Rick Porcello has been giving up runs this year), and a dominant closer being the only reliable bullpen option, Farrell actually deserves praise, not criticism.
Dombrowski has also failed to manage the third base position properly, placing all his eggs in the Pablo Sandoval basket, a decision that has backfired tremendously. The only options Farrell has at the hot corner are players like Josh Rutledge and Devin Marrero. Sorry to break it to you Red Sox fans, but those guys do not win World Series playing every day.
Obviously you can improve your team during the course of the season, but after stripping the minor league system of most of their top prospects, throwing more money and prospects at the problem does not seem like a wise decision.
Nevertheless, that is not stopping Dombrowski from sending pro scouts to check in on White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana and third baseman Todd Frazier. If this deal includes prospects like third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis or pitcher Jay Groome, then Dombrowski is effectively the definition of insane, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Just take a look at some of his trades, sending top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz, or sending third baseman Travis Shaw along with a couple prospects for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg, who has yet to step on the mound for the Red Sox.
Despite a mediocre start, the Red Sox are only 4.5 games behind the rival New York Yankees for the crown of the AL East, but Dombrowski better hope the players he has acquired can step up and start making contributions.