Famous last-place words: These Red Sox quotes say a lot about their season
“What we should try to do is use all our resources and be as good as possible, whatever that means… We have opportunities to strengthen our outfield in some way. … The important thing is to focus on what you do, not focus on what everyone else is doing and not focus on what kind of splash you might do… I actually think we were better at this that we did.
— Chaim Bloom, mid-March
“We focused on our results, being competitive and playing baseball until October… Did John Henry invest in the Boston Red Sox? Yes, that’s undeniable.”
—Sam Kennedy, March 15
In reality, the Red Sox didn’t have much of a chance of winning this year because Bloom sent them into battle with no right fielder, no first baseman and a bad bullpen. Meanwhile, the owners of the Red Sox essentially ghosted their own team and were rarely seen unless they were in the park celebrating David Ortiz.
“The last two years have sucked. I encountered some rather unlucky circumstances. Arm problem, my neck. And then this.
– Chris Sale, March 16
“Like cold water rushing through your veins when something like this happens…It sucks…Here we go again.”
— Sale, July 17
Sale’s season has been an orthopedic nightmare. He broke a rib throwing a pitch during practice in February. He suffered a broken little finger on his pitching hand in his second start of the season when he was hit by an Aaron Hicks line drive at Yankee Stadium. And in August, he broke his right wrist in a biking accident after a practice session at Boston College.
Sale has won 11 games in four seasons since signing a $145 million contract extension. It has two years left on the market.
“When everyone is warm at the same time, it will be a beautiful thing to see.”
— Alex Cora, May 2
“We are where we are [10-18]. Obviously, we had some tough losses late on.
— Flowering, May 7
“Only God knows what’s going on.”
— reliever Hansel Robles, May 7
From the jump, the 2022 Red Sox showed us they couldn’t compete in the American League East. They managed to beat bad teams, but they fell short in almost every series against teams in their own division (26-50 against the AL East).
They were 11-20 on May 11 before starting a strong streak in baseball that lasted until competition turned upside down again in late June.
“I’m still doing my research.”
— Jarren Duran, June 26
Rookie outfielder Duran was hitting .327 and being compared to Fred Lynn when the Red Sox arrived in Toronto in late June. Tanner Houck was set as the closest and the Sox were a season high with 11 games over .500.
Duran and Houck, unvaccinated, were unable to make the trip due to Canada’s vax requirements (since lifted). The Sox lost the series and 27 of their next 39 games, many to the Jays, Rays and Yankees.
“I think we’re ready to be in on it, and as we bring people back we’ll be tough.”
— John Henry, in the middle of a July 8-19
“He’s still learning the job. He didn’t play much at first base.
— Cora, July 27, after watching Franchy Cordero make three errors while playing first base in a loss to the Guardians
“I don’t mean he’s waving the white flag, but he’s a big piece coming out.”
“I understand why people could look at what we did and scratch their heads.”
— Bloom, after the deadline
“I’m very comfortable saying Chaim and Alex will be back.”
—Kennedy, September 1
The Red Sox went into a tailspin after mixed messages from Bloom at the trading deadline. Pie-in-the-sky talk of the “joker contest” eroded daily, and it became clear that this was a lost season. September served as a trial window into 2023 and a long goodbye for lofty fan favorites such as Bogaerts and Dennis Eckersley.
And yet…there were still puzzling remarks of justification and delusion.
“It’s a friendly reminder that we’re really good.”
– Cora after a 17-4 win over the Orioles on Sept. 10
“I feel like we are playing more relaxed honestly.”
– Martinez, September 29, after the Sox, mathematically eliminated, have won three consecutive victories against the Orioles
“You can be a really good team in our division and finish last. I think that’s what happened this year.
—Bloom, September 30
Curious. Cora reminded us again that his team was “really good” when the Sox were in last place. JD’s assertion that the Sox were “relaxed” after their elimination was infuriating, as was the following weekend in Toronto: 9-0, 10-0, 6-3 losses. Meanwhile, the young chief baseball officer assured fans that the Sox are still “a pretty good team” even though they finished last.
On Monday, Cora admitted: “It was not a good season. . . It was a horrible season. . . ” but on the last day he came back with, ‘We were like the best worst team in baseball. . . ”
Like being the tallest short person in the world?
Kennedy, Bloom, Cora and general manager Brian O’Halloran are scheduled to take questions from local media Thursday at Fenway at 11 a.m. The sorry Sox need to stop selling 2022 as some kind of mirage. They weren’t “really good”. They weren’t a “good enough team”. They weren’t the “best worst team in baseball”.
Whenever it counted, the 2022 Red Sox were bad. They need to stop the nonsense and make it their own. This is the first step to getting better.
Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.