As of this writing, the Red Sox currently occupy third place in the AL East, and have a record of 9-9. Thus far, their big offseason additions, David Price and Craig Kimbrel, haven't posted the fantastic statistics that Boston fans were hoping for, and after a hot start, Hanley Ramirez has cooled off considerably.
With a new president of baseball operations in Dave Dombrowski, a new GM in Mike Hazen, and a new organizational philosophy, the Red Sox were expected to be competitive once again, but from what they've shown us so far, that goal might be out of reach.
9 wins, 9 losses, 90 runs scored, 90 runs allowed— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) April 25, 2016
While a number of teams that were predicted to have good seasons aren't off to the best start (Astros, Giants, Miami, etc.) there's seemingly much more panic with the Red Sox than any of the other mentioned teams.
As Evan Drellich writes, the Red Sox just seem to be mediocre.
"There hasn’t been ambiguity with the Red Sox in half a decade. They’ve been terrible or excellent from 2012-15, and even the 2011 team hinged on the extremes — greatness for most of the year before a mind-numbing collapse.
What we’re watching to begin the 2016 season is mediocrity. Improvement, but nothing fantastic. Some ho-hum hitting and plebeian pitching."
With a .500 record after 18 games, most organizations would look at that as a great starting point; something that could be built upon as the season progresses. But for the Red Sox, at this point in time, they truly seem like a .500 team.
While they're not having any trouble scoring runs, their pitching staff simply can't stop letting opposing teams cross home plate. Clay Buchholz has been extraordinarily frustrating to watch; Rick Porcello has yet to show the form that helped him rebound in the 2nd half of 2015; and Joe Kelly is walking hitters at an unprecedented rate (10.39 BB/9). Somehow, Steven Wright, Boston's knuckleballer, is their best starting pitcher.
There were concerns about their rotation heading into the season, but for reasons that are currently unknown, Dombrowski and Hazen failed to address them. However Red Sox fans seem confident in Boston's new regime, as they had a rating of 3.8 in the official MLB Daily Dish GM survey.
"Dombrowski's willingness to go for the jugular is a great match for the Red Sox, who have struggled in recent years to turn talent into performance. Hazen is more of an unknown, and the decision to demote Blake Swihart was super weird."
As our own Mike Bates points out, Dombrowksi does have a history of making huge upgrades when it's necessary, and given that his team has a .500 record, it seems likely he's going to pull the trigger on another blockbuster trade before the end of July. It's obviously too early to speculate on potential targets, but the Red Sox are going to have to make a significant addition to turn their entire pitching staff around.