The 2022 Red Sox season was a failure—and could be a harbinger for what’s to come

+Enrique+Hernandez+%235+of+the+Boston+Red+Sox+celebrates+with+teammates+after+they+defeated+the+Tampa+Bay+Rays+6+to+5+during+Game+4+of+the+American+League+Division+Series+at+Fenway+Park

Getty Images

Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with teammates after they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6 to 5 during Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park

By Tyler Foy

Disaster: a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction. Also known as the 2022 Boston Red Sox.

A year after being just two wins away from securing the American League pennant, the Red Sox find themselves at the bottom of the AL East with a season record of 78-84.

To some, the Red Sox postseason glimmers only ended on Sept. 26, when they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Others lost hope in July after the team went 8-19; in the words of another dedicated Sox fan speaking to The Boston Globe, “the season ended when we lost by a million runs to the Blue Jays,” after a 28-5 defeat to Toronto on July 22.

It wasn’t just the team that was defeated. The spirits of the fans were crushed like an Aaron Judge home run against Boston starter Nick Pivetta.

Many ask what went wrong. But the more important question is: what didn’t? 

Heading into the season, Boston’s main concern was its pitching staff—which has been the narrative since the shortened-but-still-abysmal 2020 season.

Losing left-handed pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez and Martin Perez during the offseason put the Red Sox in a poor spot. Instead of attempting to sign any big-name free agents to fill their shoes, Boston resupplied with old veterans such as Michael Wacha, James Paxton, and Rich Hill. 

Although Wacha has been a bright spot for the Sox, sporting an 11-2 record with a 3.32 ERA, he hasn’t been enough to aid the 4.56 team ERA. Boston allowed 784 runs this year, the sixth most in the majors. 

This poor play might be attributed to the injuries that have plagued the Red Sox pitching staff, with Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale, and Paxton—who hasn’t even pitched a game—all missing considerable time this year. At one point the rotation was made up of five starters who began the year in the Minor Leagues.

The fact of the matter, though, is nobody that stands on the mound with a red “B” on their cap has shown the talent to take this team to the next level.

It was clear the Red Sox didn’t have a set closer; after shutdown reliever, Garrett Whitlock was moved to become a starter, mayhem broke loose in the bullpen. The team blew 28 saves in 65 opportunities this year, a number that might have been even larger if the Sox weren’t losing by “a million” runs every night. 

It’s no secret Boston struggles to develop and keep pitchers healthy. In 2021, the Sox would have been a middle-of-the-road team, but somehow the offense found a way to pull through. 

How did general manager Chaim Bloom address this? He traded away right fielder Hunter Renfroe and didn’t re-sign first baseman and outfielder Kyle Schwarber, combining 38 home runs and 114 RBIs for the 2021 season—Schwarber contributing a short amount as he only played 41 games. 

In 2022 however, the sluggers hit 72 home runs and collected 162 RBIs. This is, of course, with hindsight to Bloom; both these players had career years he wanted to sell high and not overpay for a long-term attachment to a degrading player. 

Trading for centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. only added more payroll for a player who has a considerably worse bat than Renfroe. Bradley’s defense was supposed to make up for that, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora locked the perennial Gold Glove contender in right field. 

As a result, the defense for the Red Sox has become a comedy of errors, with players losing fly balls in the lights, misplaying ground balls, and generally just making the routine look difficult.

Bradley was designated for assignment on Aug. 4 after the team failed to move him at the trade deadline. He would then sign for the Blue Jays, who just popped the champagne to celebrate their trip to the playoffs. Safe to say he had the last laugh.

Aside from being an embarrassment on the field, the Sox have watched former players Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Perez all have decent seasons on their respective new teams. Fans in Boston, meanwhile, spectated the success of their AL East rivals day in and day out. 

But hey, it’s not all lost is it? Well, the Red Sox will have money to spend, but the cost is steep. JD Martinez, Eovaldi, Wacha, Hill, are all free agents this offseason—along with franchise cornerstone Xander Bogaerts, if he chooses to opt-out of his current contract. 

Maybe Martinez and Eovaldi should have been out the door at the trade deadline, but the prospect of losing Bogaerts is incredibly concerning. 

This eventuality has been all but written on the walls as Bloom continues to draft middle infielders in the first round, even after signing second baseman Trevor Story on a long-term deal last year. 

Fans would love to think the increase in cash flow would help the Red Sox, but Bloom has done nothing with his current negotiations to give anyone confidence in his ability to judge talent.

The Sox lack pitching prospects, grit, passion, and in some cases, brains. Everyone wants to believe the front office has a plan, but Bloom has taken a blank canvas and, instead of painting it, made firewood. The uninspired Red Sox have not only perplexed fans, but lost their trust.