The Red Sox’ less than impressive 2014 campaign has engendered quite a bit of roster turnover, as GM Ben Cherington has done his best to extract value from nearly every franchise piece that isn’t/wasn’t bolted down. Obviously, more moves could have been made, but this isn’t/wasn’t a total tear ‘em down, build ’em up job. Last season everything broke perfectly, this season, the pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction, and nothing is playing out as planned. All of this is to say that the Sox’ roster, as currently (and was) constituted, is pretty good, and a blow-it-all-up fire sale wasn’t necessary. But for all intents and purposes, this was/is a lost season, and it made sense to look towards the future. Some of these guys have been around Boston since time immemorial, others we hardly knew, but they all contributed to the 2013 World Series Championship, so seeing them go was bittersweet. Let’s take a quick look and see how former Sox have been performing for their new teams:
Jon Lester: What more can be said about the loss of Jon Lester? It was devastating; even though we all kind of had a feeling it was coming. It was a gut punch, but it wasn’t entirely surprising. Since Lester was traded to Oakland (along with Jonny Gomes) for Yoenis Cespedes, he’s been as advertised. He’s gone 4-3 with a 2.54 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, a .228 opponent’s batting average, and he’s been worth 1.1 fWAR in just 8 games started. He hasn’t been quite as good as he was with the Sox earlier in the year, as his K% is down and his HR/FB% is up, but he’s cut down on his walks and managed to evade trouble by posting a 81.4% left on base percentage.
Jonny Gomes: Gomes was, in some ways, the embodiment of the 2013 Red Sox. He was the poster boy for “intangibles,” “clutch,” and “chemistry,” and we all loved him. Since being traded to the A’s he’s maintained a similar batting average and OBP, but his power has dropped off big time, leading to a career worst wRC+ of 71. He’s been worth just 0.1 fWAR, and strangely, much of that value is derived from his defense, but small defensive samples can almost never be trusted, especially in the case of Jonny Gomes, who has been a negative defender for his entire career. Unfortunately for the A’s, Gomes has been mired in the same slump that the rest of the squad has been trudging through these past few weeks.
John Lackey: One of the more remarkable redemption arcs in recent Red Sox history is that of John Lackey. He alienated the entire Nation, only to endear himself to us all least season. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, and Lackey has been, to put it politely, underwhelming. He owns a 5.05 ERA and a 4.91 FIP. His K% is down, his walk rate is up a smidge, as is his HR/FB%. He’s not stranding enough men on base, and his GB% is down from earlier this season with the Sox. There is reason for the Cardinals to be optimistic, however, as he is currently sporting the highest BABIP of his career at .331, so there’s reason to believe that will come down at some point.
Stephen Drew: I don’t get the Drew family hate. J.D. was a legitimate stud, and Stephen was an incredibly valuable member of the 2013 squad. To understand just how valuable a good defensive shortstop is, look no further than Hanley Ramirez. It feels like Hanley Ramirez is single-handedly responsible for half a dozen Dodger losses because of his awful defense. Stephen Drew’s defense last season was outstanding and crucial to the success of the Sox’ pitchers. Since being traded to the Yankees at the deadline for infielder Kelly Johnson, however, Drew has been absolutely horrendous. He’s moved over to second base, because, you know, “The Captain,” and he’s been mediocre, at best. On offense, it’s difficult to overstate how bad he’s been. He’s hitting .129/.212/.247, and he’s been worth -0.9 fWAR in just 104 plate appearances. If he had played this poorly for the Red Sox, all of the haters would have been justified.
Andrew Miller: Miller was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on Deadline Day for O’s minor league pitching prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez. Predictably, Miller has been outstanding for the Orioles, posting eye-popping numbers. Through 16 appearances, he has a 1.26 ERA, and a FIP of 0.89. He hasn’t given up a home run since he began his tenure with Baltimore, and he’s striking out 13.81 batters per nine innings, while only walking 1.88 batters per nine innings. Andrew Miller has been worth 0.7 fWAR in just 14.1 innings. I miss him.
Jake Peavy: Jake Peavy wasn’t even with Boston for a full year, but similar to Jonny Gomes, he made a profound impact on the team and its fan base in his short time here. His competitive fire is without parallel, and he’s a fiercely intellectual pitcher who is constantly refining his approach to try and stay a step ahead of the opposition. He struggled out of the gate this year for Boston, but he’s found much more success in San Francisco. He’s pitched less than half as many innings in San Francisco as he pitched in Boston this season, yet he’s been worth twice as much fWAR in San Francisco than he was in Boston. Through 59 innings and nine starts, Peavy is 5-4, with a 2.29 ERA and a 2.73 FIP. He’s nearly halved his walk rate, and he’s dramatically reduced his home run rate (pitching the pitcher-friendly confines of AT&T Park will do that). He’s been better with men on base, and he’s increased his ground ball rate. Peavy has been a huge part of San Francisco’s second half resurgence.
Felix Doubront: Ahh, Felix. It’s kind of strange not having Felix around anymore. It really hasn’t been that long since he debuted, but the Red Sox organization has been constantly evolving these past few seasons, and there have been few familiar faces. Felix could be agonizingly frustrating and maddening, because although his potential was not only abundantly clear and seemingly limitless, he never really could put it all together. So although I don’t really miss him, I can’t help but feel a tinge of nostalgia when I think about him. Doubront was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later (supposedly the Cubs will send the Red Sox someone after the Rule 5 Draft in December). He started out his tenure with the Cubs in the minors, recovering from an injury, but since his return to the majors, he’s made two starts, and he’s been okay. Although it’s an extraordinarily small sample, he’s posting a career-low BB%, and he’s posted a 2.25 ERA and a 3.04 FIP. He’s been worth 0.3 fWAR in just 12 innings, which is much better than the 0.0 fWAR he posted in 59.1 innings with the Red Sox this season. Hopefully Felix can build on this success and carve out a nice spot in the rotation for himself in Chicago. The Cubs’ baseball club is a sleeping giant, and it’d be fun to see Doubront succeed with what could be a dynasty in the making.