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A Boston Red Sox All-Decade Team

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The 2010s have been a bit of a roller coaster for the Boston Red Sox.

There were two World Series titles – one in 2013 and another in 2018. But there were also a few last-place finishes (2012, 2014, 2015). In 2016 and 2017, the Sox won the AL East, only to fall in the ALDS both seasons; to Cleveland in the former (swept in three) and Houston in the latter (in four games). Oh, and they began the decade with a pair of third-place division finishes in 2010 and 2011.

Good, bad and ugly – that was Boston’s decade. To celebrate the end of this ten-year period, we’re taking a look back and picking out a team made up of those who made the biggest mark over the course of that stretch. Some of the picks are no-brainers, while others require a little more thought.

Enjoy our Red Sox All-Decade Team.

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C – Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2010-2013)

After over a decade of stability at the position courtesy of Jason Varitek, there was a lot of turnover in the years that followed. There aren’t a lot of great choices, but the best of the lot is probably Salty. His career was largely undistinguished, but his time with Boston was a highlight – he hit exactly half of his 110 career homers with the Sox, along with 180 of his 381 career RBI and 175 of his 377 career runs scored. His line with Boston in three-plus seasons was .243/.307/.455 – good enough to be a solid contributor to a World Series team.

1B – Mitch Moreland (2017-present)

This position saw as much turnover as any over the course of the decade. One could argue that Adrian Gonzalez belongs here, but he didn’t even have two full seasons in Boston (though his 2011 was MVP-caliber). Guys like Mike Napoli and Hanley Ramirez are in the conversation as well, but we’re going with the slick-fielding Moreland for All-Decade. In 364 games, Moreland slashed .247/.326/.455 to go with 56 homers and 205 RBI. Not necessarily the offensive numbers you look for from first base, but Moreland’s glove makes up some of the difference. Again, not a great player, but the best Boston had.

2B – Dustin Pedroia (2010-present)

While the previous decade might have played host to Dustin Pedroia’s best years, he still managed to put up some pretty good numbers in the first part of the 2010s. Obviously, his injuries the past two years have dinged his legacy a little, but he remains an icon. Why? Just this decade, Pedroia had over 1,200 hits (1,225, to be exact), with 98 homers among them, as well as 283 doubles. He was an All-Star twice in the decade, while winning three of his four Gold Gloves. He even got down-ballot MVP looks in 2011 and 2013. It’s sad his body let him down here at the end, but he’s unquestionably an all-timer.

3B – Rafael Devers (2017-present)

What, we’re going to put Will Middlebrooks here? One could make the argument that Adrian Beltre is the third baseman of the decade with just the one elite season, but it seems clear that Devers is the pick. Sure, he’s only played in three seasons – just two full-time – and has only one good one. But it was REALLY good. His overall numbers - .282/.355/.501, 63 homers, 211 RBI, 229 runs scored – look decent, but when you take into account his monster 2019 - .311/.361/.555 to go with 32 homers, 115 RBI, 129 runs scored and a league-leading 54 doubles – you have to go with him. He’s just finished his age-22 season, so the best may be yet to come.

SS – Xander Bogaerts (2013-present)

Does it seem possible that Xander Bogaerts has been with this team for seven seasons? He hasn’t landed with the impact of his similarly-tenured teammate Betts, but there’s no shame in being merely an All-Star caliber shortstop. His line is impressive, slashing .288/.350/.451 – an OPS over .800 from short is pretty great. He’s hit 107 homers, driven in 503 and scored 542. He has over a thousand hits. He’s got two Silver Sluggers to match his two All-Star nods. His defense is never going to get much beyond passable – and sometimes considerably worse than that – but with that bat, it’s a price we should all be willing to pay.

LF – Andrew Benintendi (2016-present)

Left field for the Red Sox was once one of the most venerable spots in the sport, with Ted Williams handing off to Carl Yastrzemski who in turn handed off to Jim Rice – Hall of Famers all. And Manny Ramirez spent a decade out there as well. Andrew Benintendi isn’t any of those guys, but in his first three-plus seasons in Boston, he has proven to be an above-average major leaguer. In 471 games, Benintendi has slashed .277/.354/.442. He has 51 homers and 52 steals, 259 RBI and 275 runs scored, all while playing strong defense in Fenway Park’s tricky left field. Not a superstar, but a fine player.

CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (2010-2013)

If you wanted to pitch Jackie Bradley Jr. for this spot, I wouldn’t fight you. JBJ has seven years in center with the Sox, while Ellsbury was there for just four, and two of those were injury-plagued. However, it’s REALLY hard to overlook Ellsbury’s 2011 season – he slashed .321/.376/.552, with 32 homers and 39 steals, as well as 105 RBI and 119 runs scored; he also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger. Even leaving aside his pre-2010 contributions, Ellsbury hit .297 over the course of those 384 games. He hit 45 homers, scored 264 runs and drove in 189. He also stole 112 bases in that stretch. JBJ’s got volume, but this is another spot where we’re going with the better peak.

RF – Mookie Betts (2014-present)

There’s little doubt that this is where Mookie belongs. He’s as impactful an all-around player as the Red Sox have had this decade, able to influence the game with his bat, his glove and his legs. In just shy of 800 total games, Mookie slashed .301/.374/.519. He had nearly 1,000 hits (965) and slugged 139 homers, scoring 613 runs and driving in 470. He’s a four-time All-Star with three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. And oh yeah – he was the AL MVP in 2018 (he also finished second in 2016 and sixth in 2017). It took just six seasons for him to show us that he is a generational player.

DH – David Ortiz (2010-2016)

Big Papi. The face of the franchise for both this decade and the one that came before. Most of Ortiz’s truly monstrous seasons took place pre-2010, but his numbers in this decade are still impressive. He hit 224 homers in just those seven seasons; he drove in an even 700. He had over 1,000 of his 2,472 career hits. He had over 600 plate appearances in every year but one. He was named to the All-Star team in five times and landed three Silver Sluggers. Oh, and at age 40, he gave us one of the greatest offensive final seasons in MLB history - .315/.401/.620 with 38 homers and 127 RBI. He also hit 48 doubles and was fearsome enough to lead the league in intentional walks with 15 (he also led in slugging percentage, RBI and doubles, for the record). A Hall of Famer.

Utility – Brock Holt (2013-present)

It wouldn’t be right to put together an All-Decade team for the Red Sox and not include supersub Brock Holt. Over the course of his seven seasons in Boston, he has played every position except pitcher and catcher. His slash line isn’t all that impressive - .271/.340/.374 – but his versatility is. He might not pop out of the box score, but Brock Holt absolutely deserves a spot on this team.

LHP – Jon Lester (2010-2014)

Lester was already a Red Sox hero when this decade began, but he performed admirably over the four-plus seasons he pitched in Boston in the 2010s before a midseason trade to Oakland. His record was 68-47 in the 182 starts he made over that stretch. His ERA over that period was 2.96 through well over a thousand innings pitched; he struck out 899 batters and managed a WHIP of 1.19. Oh, and he only utterly dominated the Cardinals en route to the 2013 World Series title. The temptation toward recency bias makes Chris Sale look appetizing, but there’s really no choice here other than Lester.

RHP – Clay Buchholz (2010-2016)

I almost went with Rick Porcello here, but I’ve got a special place in my heart for Buchholz. And the numbers make a good case – 2010 was when it all really first came together for him. Over the course of his seven seasons with Boston this decade, he went 69-47 in an even 200 games pitched, all but 16 of them starts. His ERA was 3.78 and his WHIP was 1.26; he struck out 737 in 977 innings. He was an All-Star twice and his truncated 2013 (12-1, 1.74 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 96 Ks in 108 innings) was spectacular. Again, while his wasn’t the most spectacular career, he absolutely earned his spot on this list.

Closer – Koji Uehara (2013-2016)

In a lot of ways, Koji Uehara is a bit of a forgotten man in Red Sox lore. But it’s tough to argue about his performance. In his four seasons in Boston, he threw 226 innings over the course of 230 games. He saved 79 of those games, with an ERA of 2.57 and a sparkling 0.81 WHIP while striking out 291 batters. Even at his advanced age – his last season in Boston was when he was 41 – he was able to compete at a high level. There might be other, sexier picks, but for my money, Koji Uehara absolutely deserves to be the closer on this squad.

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In addition, it felt right to acknowledge a handful of individual seasons that merited special notice.

3B Adrian Beltre (2010) - .321/.365/.553; 28 homers, 102 RBI, 84 runs scored, league-leading 49 doubles, Silver Slugger

1B Adrian Gonzalez (2011) - .338/.410/.548; 27 homers, 117 RBI, 108 runs scored, league-leading 213 hits, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

SP Rick Porcello (2016) – 22-4, 3.15 ERA, 1.01 WHIP; 189 strikeouts, league leader in wins, Cy Young Award winner

SP Chris Sale (2017) – 17-8, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP; league-leading 308 strikeouts, league-leading 214 innings pitched

DH J.D. Martinez (2018) - .330/.402/.629; 43 homers, league-leading 130 RBI, 111 runs scored, two Silver Sluggers (both DH and LF)

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:03

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