As if the Red Sox second-straight early elimination from the post-season and their firing of manager John Farrell wasn’t evidence enough of an organization with a lot of work to do, there’s also this: while the Red Sox scramble to right things, their arch-rival New York Yankees are just four wins away from the World Series.
This was not supposed to happen.
Only a year ago, the Red Sox had won the American League East while the Yankees missed out on the post-season for the third time in the last four seasons and were motivated to engineer a sell-off that resulted in them dealing away not one but two relief aces, each of whom later helped carry their new teams to the seventh game of the World Series.
The Sox had a young core of maturing major league players, while the Yankees were in rebuild mode.
Or so it seemed.
Flash forward a year later, and the Yankees are in the ALCS and the Sox are in turmoil.
This season was supposed to be one in which the Yanks made some strides, weathered some growing pains with their young players and got themselves closer to the big free agent class of 2018 which will feature, among others, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
Instead, the Yankees timeline sped up considerably. Aaron Judge went from a promising outfielder with power but sizeable holes in his swing to a 52-homer sensation in his first full season. Gary Sanchez, defensive struggles aside, showed that his final two months in 2016 were no fluke, developing into a fearsome middle-of-the-lineup bat to pair with Judge.
On and on it went, with Luis Severino taking huge strides after a major step backward a year ago.
Huge credit must go to GM Brian Cashman, who accomplished the seemingly impossible task of selling off at the deadline 15 months ago, to building an ALCS entrant a year later. It should be noted, even in the years in which the Yankees missed out on the post-season, they never hit rock bottom the way the Red Sox did in both 2014 and 2015.