Dave Dombrowski may wind up trading away the future at the trade deadline in a week. That’s his M.O., after all. Here’s the thing: I can’t really blame Dombrowski for trying to sell out for this season. Don’t get me wrong, this 2016 Red Sox team is incredibly frustrating and might wind up blowing the season down the stretch, deeming any trade acquisitions a complete waste of resources. But it’s the fact that the Sox are so frustrating that makes it so understandable for Dombrowski to go full throttle for this season at some expense of the future.
This Red Sox team should be one of the best in the league. They’ve scored 539 runs this season (as of Saturday night’s 11-9 loss to the Twins), and no other team has even 500. They have David Price, who have every ability to be an ace. Rick Porcello and Hanley Ramirez were two of the team’s biggest question marks heading into the season, and both of them have played like they’re actually worth $20+ million a year. Steven Wright has come out of nowhere, and now the Sox have one of the season’s best pitchers in Drew Pomeranz. Finally, they have a bullpen with five relievers who have a 3.55 ERA or less.
That’s what makes losses like those on Friday or Saturday night so damn frustrating. They lose 2-1 after David Ortiz, of all people, grounds into a double play with the bases loaded and 0 outs in the 9th. The next night, they score 9 runs and lose because their ace David Price gets shelled, and then Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree decide “Oh yeah David? Bet I can do a lot worse.”
The 2016 Red Sox are more than well-equipped to win the World Series. Their rotation now consists of 4 dependable starters, assuming that Price pitches like he did in May and Pomeranz only has a slight dropoff from his San Diego numbers and not a major one. Their bullpen, when Kimbrel returns, will have enough guys to throw to the fire, although I wouldn’t mind one more guy via trade. And their offense is fantastic. Problem is, the rotation has been a mess outside of Porcello and Wright, and the bullpen and offense both struggle from cases of bad timing.
I know that baseball analytics say that there’s no such thing as a clutch player or clutch team, but that’s one of the few analytical items that I’ll push back on. This Red Sox team hasn’t been clutch, and Friday and Saturday night demonstrated that perfectly. When they give up 2 runs and are facing the lowly Minnesota Twins, the offense somehow does nothing and disintegrates with the best clutch hitter of all time grounding into a DP. When they score 9 runs and have their ace on the hill, the ace sucks and the bullpen sucks worse.
I’m still hopeful, and you should be, too. The Sox have everything that it takes to win, and that’s why I find it hard to blame Dave Dombrowski for trading good prospects for Ziegler, Pomeranz, and maybe someone else in the next week. But something has to change with the 2016 Red Sox, and that something is the timeliness of the players’ production.