The Professor Takes One Last Look at the 2014 Boston Red Sox Season

[opening day at fenway park of the 2014 season]

[so many hopes and such a sense of promise: opening day at fenway park of the 2014 season]

Since everyone in the Red Sox Nation has already been speculating on what trades and acquisitions might happen in the coming months and what it will mean for the 2015 season, The Professor thought he would take a moment to do the opposite: to look back to imagine a different but utterly possible 2014 lineup. A what-could-have-been lineup that would have been Big Run Fun, o solid offense being probably the single biggest thing lacking from this past year’s team. The Professor has also added annual salaries and the major batting numbers [BA, HR and RBI] for each player for the 2014 season to better answer the question: “What might have been different and better in the Red Sox lineup last year?” Imagine this group playing at Fenway:

RF Mookie Betts $.5M .291 5HR 18RBI
and Shane Victorino $13M .268 2HR 12RBI

2B Dustin Pedroia $15M .278 7HR 53RBI

DH David Ortiz $16M .263 35HR 104RBI

CF Yoenis Cespedes $9M .260 22HR 100 RBI [combined season @ Oakland]

3B Adrian Beltre $16M Texas [let go by Sox as a free agent 2010] .324 19HR 77RBI

instead of Will Middlebrooks $.5M .191 2HR 19RBI

C Victor Martinez $12M Detroit [let go by Sox as a free agent 2010] .335 32HR 103RBI

instead of A.J. Pierzynski $8.5M .254 4HR 31RBI

1B Adam Laroche $12M Washington [let go by Sox as a free agent 2009] .259 26HR 92RBI

or James Loney $7.5M Tampa Bay [let go by Sox as a free agent 2012] .290 9HR 69RBI

instead of Mike Napoli $16M .248 17HR 55RBI

LF Rusney Castillo $10.5M .333 2HR 6RBI
and Daniel Nava $.5M .270 4HR 37RBI

SS Xander Bogaerts $.5M .240 12HR 46RBI

[there could have been a lot more of this in 2014]

[there could be a lot more of this in 2015: cespy flying into 3rd]

Continuing on the good-news front, the 2014 lineup also included cousin Brock from Texas, the Brock Star, none other than Brock Holt—the running, gunning and all-out hustling, multi-position surprise-of-the-season—who was the all-purpose sub of 2014. He was the guy who played LF, CF, RF, 3B, SS, 2B and 1B last season and might as well have cleaned the whirlpool, washed all the water bottles in the clubhouse, and tied the bow ties of the NESN television commentators Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo, too.

[brock holt, wearing #26, was a bright-spot stud playing every infield and outfield position in games during the 2014 season]

[brock holt, a bright-spot stud, played every infield and outfield position for  the 2014 red sox]

Imagine that! The Sox could have had that crew as part of a big-time, big-league, big-deal offense—without making any trades—simply by standing by players that they already had signed and who had already shown promise to the team [if not absolute value!]. But, as we all know, the Red Sox management “went in a different direction” and simply let chose to let Martinez, Beltre, Laroche and Loney go.

Granted, this past year became a small season, the exact inverse of the magic that prevailed during the expansive championship season of 2013. But the 2014 team, despite their disastrous record, proffered that certain reward that comes from being a fan for the simple sake of being a fan of a team that you are emotionally bonded to. The 2015 season looms large on the horizon, looking as if it will be both more exciting and more successful than the season just past; there are “reasons to be cheerful, part 3,” as the late singer Ian Dury [Ian Dury and the Blockheads] once remarked in his single “Reasons to be Cheefrul;” Dury was also the voice behind the more well-known “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” [1977]. More generally, his lyrics admittedly have little to do with the Red Sox but for those who care to look they will find an astute and inspired mix of commentaries on British subcultures and what it means to be British.

And it’s just an opinion, but the Boston Red Sox never, ever, should have traded their former franchise shortstop Nomar Garciaparra back in 2004, not even to a great franchise like the Chicago Cubs, and not even if it turned out to help the Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years later that season. When it’s all said and done, we all know why the trade went down when it did, but it never should have happened in that way in the first place, and beliefs like that are why they call me The Professor.

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