What Could Have Been…One Hell of a Ride

On Friday, Oct. 22, the 2021 Boston Red Sox season came to a close to the hands of the Astros in six games. After six months full of Red Sox baseball, all the ups, downs, and emotions, we wait till 2022 to see Boston run out once again onto historic Fenway Park. Starting from overachieving expectations after a hot start, to the fact that the Red Sox were so close to “stealing” a World Series in a year they had no business doing so. The 2021 Sox team gave people the most nail-biting, nervous wreck moments that anyone can remember in recent years. From a red-hot offense, a struggling bullpen, to a much-improved rotation, the 2021 Red Sox was one hell of a ride. 

Boston’s postseason was very indicative of how their season went as a whole: going from starting off red hot and smashing teams in the mouth to sputtering out towards the end. The Red Sox gave their fans moments they will never forget, and things they will choose to disregard. Ending their bitter rivals’, the Yankees, season was sweet, and something Boston fans will make sure New Yorkers never forget. Not winning their division but beating the American League East winner in four games in the American League Division Series gave Sox fans a reason to believe this could be a World Series team. Going from last place to the American League Championship Series is as unpredictable as it gets. Even in a year considered as overachieving, the Sox were six wins away from “stealing a world series”. At the beginning of the year, ESPN ranked Boston as the 19th best team in the league, which is far from the truth right now. Thinking about the Red Sox season as a fan myself, I am proud and frustrated. Being this close to a World Series hurts but what this team accomplished this season is definitely something that should not be forgotten. 

As the offseason begins Boston is led by two of the smartest people in baseball, Alex Cora and Chaim Bloom. Their main focus has to be on re-signing Kyle Schwarber who made an instant impact after he was traded from the Nationals to the Sox before the trade deadline. He hit .291 since coming over from the National League, along with hitting some key home runs in both the playoffs and towards the end of the season. Schwarber has one of the league’s best On-Base Percentages with a whopping .359 in his career. His ability to get on base in any circumstance along with his bat is unmatched by anyone in the league. Signing J.D Martinez as well, who led the league in doubles, and continues to be one of the league’s best-designated hitters year after year is another necessity in order for the team to continue on its upward trend. Martinez is the heart and soul of the Sox lineup, and without him, Boston could be in trouble. Another must for Bloom has to be the bullpen who struggled down the stretch for the Sox and the pitching situation with Eduardo Rodriguez. Ottavino, Richards, Pérez, and Robles are all free agents this offseason.

Source: Bleacher Report

Some targets could include Kendall Graveman, Kevin Gausman, or current Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray. Do you keep E-Rod after the season he had or let him go? Which relievers does Bloom keep and which ones does he let go of? Christian Vazquez, one of the Red Sox’s most important players, is a free agent, and re-signing him seems obvious given the options out on the market. Does Bloom go after Marcus Semien? With a glaring need for a second baseman, signing one of the best from last year in Semien could be an option. Semien had his best season as a big leaguer with 102 Runs batted in and 45 home runs last season with Toronto which is more than anyone on the Red Sox last season. Jose Iglesias turned in a stellar short stint with the Red Sox, as he helped them get into the playoffs. He is a low-price option that they know can produce for them in the infield. Competing with the Astros in the coming future and a goal of finishing the job this time has to be on the Red Sox’s minds. So many questions will be answered in just a few months as the Major League Baseball offseason begins this week with the conclusion of the World Series.  

Only seven teams have lost the American League Championship Series and came back to win it the following year. Back in 2003, Boston lost 4-3 to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. They came back the next year and had the most historic Red Sox season of all time, coming back from three games to zero and beating New York in the championship series. The ‘04 Sox ended up finishing the job and winning their first title in 86 years. 

Boston is in good hands with one of the smartest baseball executives in the league, as he transformed the Tampa Bay Rays into a baseball powerhouse just a few years ago. The Red Sox end their season with hope, and belief for the future as they look to win their tenth World Series as a franchise. The Sox kick off their season in 2022 against the team they eliminated in the American League Division Series, the Tampa Bay Rays on Mar. 31, 2022, so the countdown begins. 

The Braves and Astros may have played in the World Series this year, but the Red Sox sat and watched with a smirk on their face, knowing what is on the horizon in 2022.