The origins of the 2015 nightmare have its origins at the end of the Terry Francona era in Boston. The Red Sox officially blew their nine game September lead with a walk off loss to the division rival Orioles combined with a win by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox approached the offseason by cleaning house. Ownership relieved Terry Francona of his managing duties and also let Theo Epstein become the President of Baseball Operations with the Cubs. These 2011 Red Sox will forever be remembered as the chicken and beer team.
Fast forward to 2012. The Red Sox were having their worst season in 30 years with Bobby Valentine at the helm. In August, Ben Cherington traded via wavers 4 players including Carl Crawford and a chicken and beer member, Josh Beckett. This trade changed the beliefs of the Red Sox to this day. The team went into the 2013 season having signed a number of good character guys to short term, team friendly contracts.
The 2013 World Series victory was the worst thing to happen to this team from a business standpoint. I'll admit, the city of Boston needed something to bring the people back together after the Boston Marathon Bombing. The season was a blast to watch. I remember the season started with a series victory over the Yankees and I wondered if the Red Sox sellout streak was going to end despite their hot start (it did). I also remember late in the season, Mike Carp hit a grand slam in Tampa in extra's to give the Red Sox the lead and eventual win. This was very exciting because they were finding ways to win each and every night.
The playoffs were even more thrilling. David Ortiz absolutely destroyed the month of October. He went yard off David Price in the ALDS and who can forget his grand slam against Detroit. That series against Detroit was nail biting to say the least. Detroit had a formitable pitching staff which nearly stifled the Red Sox offense. One of my favorite memories from the playoffs was Johnny Gomes' home run in the World Series in St. Louis (The bat flip was the best part). The whole season was unbelievable; worst to first turnaround, but this championship run continued to ruin the Red Sox of the mid 2010s.
The Red Sox went into the 2014 season with the same mentality as 2013: team friendly contracts. The team diverted from its' belief in good character guys by signing AJ Pierzynski. He did not make it to the conclusion of the season. The Red Sox sold at the trade deadline by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy on their way to another last place finish.
The 2015 Red Sox came into the season with a high payroll having signed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. These two signings parallel the beliefs of the 2011 Red Sox by signing players to big money, long term deals. They also entered the season with many of the 2013 World Series leftovers. The faults of the 2015 Red Sox originate from the failure of the 2011 Red Sox and the success of the 2013 team. The Red Sox, now stuck with bad contracts and no willing trade partners, need to put all their chips into their young core of Bogaerts, Betts, Owens, Swihart, and Bradley (If he keeps hitting) and hope the overpayed vets can carry their weight into 2016 and beyond.
This baseball season may be over, but were almost onto football..... Free Brady
By Matt Nadworny @MattNadworny