By Jonathan Usher – @madduxman
Front Office – ‘D+’
GM – Dave Dombrowski –‘I’
Granted, he has decimated the farm system to “win now”. Many acquisitions have failed and few have succeeded or have a shot at succeeding in the future. Incomplete until at least post-2018.
MGR – John Farrell – ‘D’
He may be the worst in-game manager in baseball. However, the only reason that he does not score an F is because we do not see what he does behind the scenes or in the clubhouse. He is a “player’s manager”, which, like Terry Francona is vital to the egomaniacal players. That being said, he should pack his bags and make like a tree, and get outta here.
Infield – ‘C’
2 – Christian Vazquez ‘A’
Christian may have taken the largest step forward of any position player this season, especially since he was recovering from a major injury. While most of the other players regressed in the second half, Christian really stepped up and proved that he should start 120+ games next year. His 43% career CS rate is ridiculous. A gold glove may be in his future.
3 – Hanley Ramirez ‘D-‘
Fortunately, his days are numbered in Boston. He’s not a “3”, or even a DH anymore. The flashes of brilliance and mammoth homers have become less frequent. The K’s and GIDP are prevalent. His vesting option only vests in he can somehow stay healthy or play well enough to generate 1050 plate appearances in ’17 & ’18 combined. He had a total of 553 PA this season. That leaves him with 497 PA left before he is guaranteed another 22M in 2019. He hit a career low .242 this year – awful. He has a feeble 2.5 WAR (0.83 in ‘17) in his 3+ seasons in a Sox uni, compared to 35.1 over 9 seasons elsewhere (3.9 avg.) – ugh. Those are nearly Edgar Renteria or Carl Crawford numbers. Whomever the manager is in 2018, if they allow him to generate enough PA for that option to vest, then they should also be responsible to eat that money – literally. Enough said, syonara Han Ram.
4 – Dustin Pedroia ‘C+’
Love him or hate him, he comes to play. His intensity may be his biggest enemy. Notoriously nursing injuries, this season he played in the 3rd fewest games since his debut. He had the worst WAR of his career this year (outside of his pre-rookie season) of 1.7. He may be done before his contract ends at the end of the 2021 season.
5 – Rafael Devers ‘A-‘
The dude is 20. Outside of Mookie, he may have been the most exciting player on the Sox this year, but that isn’t really saying much. A slash line of .284/10/30 in just 240 PA, is solid for anyone this young – not named Mike Trout. Hopefully he doesn’t have a sophomore slump. NOTE to DD, have a backup plan for 2018 (ie: Pablo disaster from ’16-‘17)
6 – Xander Bogaerts ‘D+’
X-Man was one of the huge disappointments this season. His WAR, BA and H have all steadily declined over the past 3 years. He is still young, as he just turned 25. He may be trade bait for pitching this off-season, but his value is too low to trade right now in my opinion.
Outfield – C+
7 – Andrew Benintendi ‘B+’
I had hoped for a ROY trophy for this kid. But then the Judge made us ALL RISE, and pounded the gavel down as we all stood in amazement. However, a 20/20 season with a .271/20/90 slash is excellent. At 23, I think he has a shot at 3000 hits. That’s how good he may be.
8 – Jackie Bradley Jr. ‘C-‘
I think he is the best defensive center fielder in the game, and when he is hot, he can carry a team. However, he may be the odd man out moving forward. Being represented by Scott Boras, his days are numbered. He is simply too inconsistent. Having 3 more years of arbitration eligibility, he may be around for another year or two, but his value will diminish if he puts up another year like 2017, especially since he will be 28 in April.
9 – Mookie Betts ‘C’
Probably the best all around player on the 2017 Red Sox. Obviously his 50+ point BA drop off significantly hurt this team this season, especially in the palyoffs. But he is not Big Papi. Nobody is. It isn’t fair to Marcus Betts to drop that kind of responsibility on him. Fresh off of his 25th birthday, he still has a shot to be one of the game’s best. Hopefully he will be around for a while.
The Bench – C+
Eduardo Nunez ‘A’
Well, that was fun. He gave us a HUGE boost right when we needed it, along with Devers. We probably would not have won the division without him. However, he will not be back barring some major trade (Bogaerts, Pedroia or Devers) and a huge 12-15M per season investment. Adios Eduardo, please don’t re-sign with the Yankees. I blame John Farrell for the postseason injury debacle.
Brock Holt ‘F’
Ugh. How was this guy an All-Star? Farrell over-used him. Unsurprisingly.
Chris Young ‘D‘
I simply don’t understand Farrell’s infatuation with this man. Decent 4th outfielder, and players need their AB’s, but too much here. I’ll take a 45 y/o Ichiro in 2018, thanks.
Sandy Leon ‘C+’
Sandy had a solid year considering he is the #2 catcher, but a .290 OBP just isn’t good enough. He is arbitration eligible, and most likely won’t be back.
Deven Marrero ‘D+’
Good Glove, weak bat. Defensively, he solidified an important position when we needed a short term solution. ‘Nuf said.
Mitch Moreland ‘B-‘
Mitchy Two Bags, he is what he is. A career .252 hitter with a little pop, and an excellent glove. Gold glove? Not in his one season in Boston. He nearly equaled his WAR over his previous 3 seasons (2.8) – this year (2.7). He delivered several clutch hits, and 22 bombs, and we really shouldn’t have expected much more than we got from him.
Starting Pitchers – C+
Chris Sale ‘B+’
Some say he was mismanaged. Some say he was overused. I say he is simply a 1A starter. He has never had the opportunity to prove himself on the largest stage. He put up awesome numbers this year – as a whole. However, he has a career record of 32-36 with a 3.28 ERA after the All-Star break. That’s right, read that again. 32-36 POST ALL STAR BREAK. He is not Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling. He is Chris Sale. He is our best starter, and he is signed for 2 more years. We gave up a TON to get him, so hopefully his 2nd half numbers improve over the next two years.
Drew Pomeranz ‘A’
Life is too short to hate. However, I HATED the trade that brought him over from the Padres. Don’t get me started on the logistics behind his injuries that got their GM in trouble, or (unrelated) losing the best play by play man in the current world of baseball in Don Orsillo. But everything about trading our #1 pitching prospect in Anderson Espinoza, struck my core like Randy Johnson’s fastball struck that bird back in 2001. Pomeranz was a solid A, even though his high pitch counts prevented him from pitching more innings. Finishing at 17-6 with a 3.32, he did WAY more than anticipated.
Rick Porcello ‘D-‘
Rick Porcello is RICK PORCELLO. He pitched like Roy Halladay in 2016. But he is not Roy Halladay, he is Rick Porcello. Hopefully he is somewhere between THIS Rick Porcello and THAT Rick Porcello in 2018.
David Price ‘F’
Hopefully, we can dump this dude to Derek Jeter’s Marlins with Bogaerts and JBJ for Stanton. We, (and Eck) deserve better.
Eduardo Rodriguez ‘D’
Yo, Eddie, I know you’re only 24, but it’s time. If not, adios amigo. You (too) may be a piece for Stanton.
Bullpen – A-
Craig Kimbrel ‘A+’
Kimbrel put up the best and most consistent season of any current Red Sox. After a borderline disastrous 2016, he returned to HIS status quo, which is in the conversation as the best closer in the game. Team option for 2018 @ 13M. He will be back.
Addison Reed ‘A-‘
Solid setup man. Excellent acquisition. After a horrendous start, he was awesome down the stretch. Too bad he is a free agent, and won’t be back.
Joe Kelly ‘B’
This dude can bring it. Unfortunately, if he is throwing strikes, some ML batters can hit it. He finally lived up to expectations this year. Arb eligible for ’18, gone in 2019.
Carson Smith ‘I’
FINALLY, this guy appears healthy. He is under control through 2020. Personally, I think his ceiling is top tier MLB material.