By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The beauty of baseball, of course, is that you get what you deserve. There are generally no flukes. And the 2019 Red Sox remain indisputable proof.
Continuing to futilely spin their wheels as if stuck in the Alabama mud, the Red Sox got pasted by the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night 10-4 in a Fenway Park home that, this year, has felt far more like a trailer park. Sox newcomer Andrew Cashner was baptized in Boston by allowing six runs (five earned), eight hits and two home runs in five innings, seamlessly fitting into the No. 5 spot of a Boston pitching rotation that has been a black hole.
And so, the 2019 Red Sox continue their eternal spin into the oblivion of outer space.
“I had a long layoff, so I felt like I was more rusty than anything,” Cashner opined.
Or maybe he just put on the Red Sox uniform and reverted to what he has been over the large majority of his career – a guy that loses almost twice as much as he wins.
Here’s the point: who were you expecting last night, Don Drysdale? Seriously. Entering this year, Cashner was 46-79 in 258 career appearances, including 165 starts. He won just 36.8 percent of the time. This was the Red Sox midseason “solution” to the pitching problems that have affected them since they showed up in February, which isn’t even the equivalent of putting a tuxedo on a pig.
It’s buying the pig a t-shirt and some Army fatigues at the thrift store.
Blame Cashner for this? Please. We all know what happened here. The Red Sox overplayed their hand with their pitching staff this year – in more ways than one – and they don’t want to go over the next luxury tax threshold, no matter what anybody says. (Whether that is justifiable or not is a separate argument, but I don’t blame them.) President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s solution to this was to acquire Cashner for two low-level minor leaguers out of the Dominican Summer League and get cash back in the deal, which should tell you plenty.
The Red Sox needed money to make this trade happen. They almost certainly gave up better prospects than otherwise necessary to make the trade work – and for a pitcher who ranks last in the majors in winning percentage among those with at least 275 appearances and 150 starts over the last 10 years.
Translation: the Red Sox acquired the cheapest big league pitcher on the market – and overpaid for it (in terms of talent) to save a few bucks so they wouldn’t go over the luxury tax.
In the end, here’s the ultimate takeaway: last year, the Sox made a pair of shrewd deals at midseason, acquiring both Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi, each of whom made major contributions to the Sox’ championship run. That team deserved such an outcome. This team opted for Cashner and got the predictable stink bomb right out of the gate, which shouldn’t surprise you.
If the Red Sox are relying on Andrew Cashner to save their season, after all, their year might already be over.