September 17, 2021

The World Champion Red Sox Pivot to Meh (FanGraphs)

Mookie Betts had another sterling year, but his future in Boston is murky. (Photo: Keith Allison)

“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” – Albert Camus

The 2018 Boston Red Sox won 108 games and dominated the postseason, going 11-3 and winning the World Series. The 2019 Red Sox…did not. It’s hard to call an 84-78 season an unmitigated disaster. Still, the Red Sox were out of the divisional race by June, resulting in president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski getting his pink slip. Replacing Dombrowski is Chaim Bloom, poached from the Tampa Bay Rays, and a public mandate to get the payroll under the luxury tax threshold. Boston, perhaps more than any near-playoff team in 2019, faces an uncertain future.

The Setup

Winning the World Series is every team’s (eventual) goal, and no matter what the Red Sox had done to follow-up on their big 2018 win, nobody was going to take down that flag. For the sequel, the Red Sox decided to go the route of keeping the band mostly together and hoping people would buy the Greatest Hits album. Whether or not it was due to excessive thrift — the Red Sox were safely over the luxury tax threshold — the team did…

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