After a while you’re just glad that it’s over. A public admission that the pretence can’t go on anymore, this Red Sox team isn’t making the playoffs, isn’t functioning as it should and it’s time we all just accept this and move on. Of course most people with a set of eyes could tell you that, it’s been a season of poor pitching, media hurricanes (storm is too nice), manager goofs and ridiculous, astounding injuries.
When your team puts players of value, with high contracts, on waivers in August, you know the game is up. More importantly, you know the front office knows the game is finally up. It’s not that difficult a decision, the Red Sox sit 13.5 games back on the Yankees at the top of the AL East. 8.5 games back on the AL Wildcard race and 7 games under .500, having lost 4 in a row and 7 out of their last 10. That’s not post-season form, that’s Chicago Cubs form (it really is, they’re last 10 game record is identical).
When you’re posting that type of record in the middle of August, you kind of know that you’re not making it to the post-season. Not that this type of record is a surprise, the only consistent thing about Boston this year is their inconsistency, and how many times has that been written about the 2012 Red Sox? The team, partly through horrendous injuries it must be said, has failed to put together any type of run this year. A couple of wins, maybe a series or two, has inevitably been followed by a similar amount of losses (or more), a genuine case of one step up and two steps back. The addition of that extra wildcard game meant the Sox were in closer contention than they should have been. A tease thrown in by baseball, a taunt almost, to last September’s collapse; that even if you’re bad, you still have a chance to get there.
In truth placing Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez on waivers makes sense, both will clear because their contracts are so large and, in Beckett’s case, his performances are a big problem. This is the 2012 Josh Beckett, a guy who is unrepentant for his lack of quality starts and inability to give the bats support, a guy who still has the stink of last season’s collapse (and the stories that surrounded it) around him. He’s the team’s lead starter, the guy who’s meant show how it’s done and he has but in the wrong way as nearly every other pitcher in the rotation has gone the same way.
Beckett had pre-trade deadline interest in him and there’s every chance that someone could think that they can get performances from the Texan. Beckett’s had back issues this year and there’s almost certainly a GM or pitching coach out there who thinks they can get him healthy and back into an ERA that doesn’t resemble a diving score. Beckett probably needs the change of scenery, a smaller market or one less rabid than Boston’s, where his Texan surliness isn’t a story. Texas perhaps?
Seeing Adrian Gonzalez be placed on Waivers is the one that hurts. It’s the right move, though it’s a tough to admit but he’s one of the only big tradable assets on this team. A player signed to a long term deal where there’s no issue of an impending free agency like Ellsbury, who would almost certainly placed in the same position if not for that and the chronic lack of quality outfielders the Red Sox have.
Like Beckett Gonzalez almost certainly won’t be claimed on waivers but like Beckett it clears him for a trade if the team needs to. Gonzalez is the one, he’s the one that you know signals that the Red Sox know the chase is over and it’s time to look at options going forward. This team needs quality pitching in its rotation desperately and more than likely it’ll have to be a trade where the Red Sox find the pieces for a new rotation.
It’s seemed that this 2012 Red Sox team was doomed from the start, as if the problem of 2011 hadn’t been completely scrubbed away just lightly washed. It’s no surprise that problems have occurred, it’s no surprise that some have grown for stories of last year’s clubhouse issues, that some have come from the manager’s own mouth and that some have come from a new GM and his struggle to assert himself if the face of Lucchino.
This season is disappointing but it’s not surprising, there’s more exorcism needed before the Red Sox can move forward and if it means exploring trades for high profile players then it needs to be done. So it’s relief and not surprise that news of Beckett and Gonzalez is met with, because it means that the Red Sox now publically admit what we all knew; they’re done for 2012.