The last time the Sox were an average club(Im being generous to this years product) was 2002. The Sox finished 81-81. The rotation was Buehrle, Garland, Wright, Ritchie, and Glover. With spot starts by Rocky Biddle, Jon Rauch and Jim Parque. uggh. Clearly this rotation is better than that one. So what happened, why were they better than this version?
The 2002 Sox stayed afloat by smacking 217 home runs, third most in the league.
The 2003 Sox rocked 220 homers, 4th in the AL. Improved pitching(Loaiza, Colon) boosted the record to 86-76, despite still having the black hole that was the 5th starting slot: Dan Wright 1-7, Josh Stewart 1-2, etc.
2004, the Sox jumped up to 242 blasts, good for first in all of baseball. 83-79 but still 9 games back of the Twins. The 5th slot was still a problem, Shoenweiss, Felix Diaz, Jason Grilli, Dan Wright, Jon Rauch, Bajenaru, Stewart ran up a 11-24 record. Contreras came on late and went 5-4.
So they had the power, but still lacked the pitching.
2005, it all clicked. Garland was the 5th starter through the All-Star break. He dominated the back of other teams rotations and the Sox cruised. 200 HRs, 4th in the league, but the starters consistency was amazing. Only 6 guys took the bump, with the rookie MacCarthy filling in for 10 starts, going 3-2 and solid down the stretch. The pen was equally filthy and we all had the happy ending.
2006 the Sox were 1st again in homers. A second half pitching collapse coupled with a drastically improved division and the Sox won 90, but only fininshed in third place.
So here we stand in 2007. The starting pitching is certainly there, but the land of giants bullpen experiment was a failure, and the team cant hit shit. They're 9th in home runs(out of 14 in the AL), but DEAD LAST in runs, hits, doubles, triples, average, slugging and on base percentages. As you guys know, its been brutal.
The team ERA is good for 5th in the AL, despite carrying bums like Bukvich 5.59, MacDougal 6.64, Aardsma 6.16, Masset 6.95, Prinz 8.1 and Sisco 8.36.
Now the team is at a crossroads.
History tells us we need power to contend in the AL, as well as solid pitching.
They need bats, they need bullpen help. They dont want to be a big spender, and yet the farm system is garbage. The big trading chips are the starters, but the crater they leave to fill the holes elsewhere seems counterproductive.
The company line is they still can turn this thing around this year, but we all know better. They have to do a major overhaul.
They could blow it all up and start from scratch, or they can try and keep a core of pitchers(Garland, Vazquez, Jenks, Buehrle) and get rid of everything else. Either way, this club needs a new direction.
I cant help but think if they spent the big money on Soriano(or atleast made him more expensive for the Cubs) then the record could be better and the stands wouldnt be as empty as this season winds down, making up for a lot of his cost. The Sox dont go get the top players ever. Its so frustrating.
Looking around the division, the Royals young position players are potentially great, the Tigers have the best young pitching in baseball, the Twins always seem to find guys they can plug in and be effective, and the Tribe are built to win now, with a 29 average age throughout the club. The Sox going forward have nothing but a few pitchers.
Thats why i think they should resign MB, make him the cornerstone, and start rebuilding the club.