2012 Record: 69-93, 5th AL East
2012 Pythagorean Record: 74-88
Impact Player: 2B Dustin Pedroia
Impact Pitcher: LHP Jon Lester
Top Prospect: SS Xander Bogaerts
Significant Acquisitions: RHP Ryan Dempster, 1B/C Mike Napoli, RF Shane Victorino, OF/DH Jonny Gomes, SS Stephen Drew, RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP Koji Uehara, 1B Mike Carp, 1B Lyle Overbay
Significant Departures: OF Cody Ross, RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP Aaron Cook, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Vicente Padilla, IF Mike Aviles, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Rich Hill, OF Scott Podsednik
It’s still hard to fathom that the Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball in early September 2011. After four months of absolute dominance, the Red Sox fell off a cliff and had the worst collapse in baseball history to end that year. The hangover carried over into 2012 and they had their worst season since 1965 finishing in last place in the AL East.
After the 2011 collapse, ownership decided not to renew manager Terry Francona’s contract and after General Manager Theo Epstein took over the Cubs, ownership stepped in again and hired Bobby Valentine as the new manager. New GM Ben Cherington wanted Dale Sveum—who eventually went to the Cubs—but he appeared to be overridden.
Valentine ended up being nothing short of an unmitigated disaster in his return to managing. He publicly called out players, alienated his entire team and certainly was no help in righting the Red Sox wayward ship.
By August, the front office cashed in its chips and unloaded $261-million in salary commitments by trading Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for a package of players. That package included high-upside pitching prospects such as Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster which is a nice bonus to go along with a lot of financial flexibility. Hopefully there’ll be less drama around the Red Sox this season with the return of former pitching coach John Farrell who was acquired from the Blue Jays for Mike Aviles in November to be the new manager.
Despite all of their problems, the Red Sox still finished fifth in the AL in runs scored. Their problem was their pitching, which ranked among the worst in the league. Cherington had a lot of work to do in the offseason and went about making small additions with short-term deals. He brought in the likes of Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster and did not commit more than three years to any of them. Looking at the complexion of the roster, it’s hard not to see an improvement for 2013.
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