Between now and Opening Day, we’ll be previewing each team with a focus on answering the question: “How will this team be remembered?” For the full archive of each 2017 team preview, click here.
The 2016 Red Sox had about as successful a season as any non-World Series team could hope for. Mookie Betts emerged as an MVP-level talent. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and (sort of) Eduardo Rodriguez cemented themselves as legitimate roster cornerstones. Andrew Benintendi blossomed into one of the game’s best prospects. Steven Wright was an All-Star. Rick Porcello and Hanley Ramirez rebounded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Dustin Pedroia stayed healthy. And David Ortiz enjoyed the most successful walk-off season we’ve seen in quite some time.
Sure, we could nitpick by recalling Blake Swihart’s ankle, Carson Smith’s elbow, David Price’s ERA, or Pablo Sandoval’s stomach. But by and large, the Red Sox’s future looked quite bright despite their loss to Cleveland in the ALDS. Dave Dombrowski and company just needed to replace some of Ortiz’s offensive production and add some rotation depth as the likes of Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Michael Kopech, and Benintendi got some polish in the upper minors.
But that’s not what happened, of course. Instead, the Red Sox gutted much of their farm system to add Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg, because this is Dave Dombrowski we’re talking about. And so the 2017 Red Sox will be remembered largely as the team that embodies a shift in identity from one David to another, because make no mistake about it, this is now very much a Dave Dombrowski team and a Dave Dombrowski organization.
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