Red Sox

MLB Notebook: Not all was lost for the Red Sox this season

(Jim Davis/ The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A losing record. An almost certain last-place finish. A staff ERA higher than it's been in decades.

There's no need to go on. You know how bad the 2020 Red Sox season has been.

The good news? The season has just a week remaining, leading to what should be a fascinating off-season as Chaim Bloom gets his first real opportunity to re-model the Red Sox with his own vision. There will be no CBT (competitive balance tax) threshold to fret over, and no surprise managerial search thrust upon him weeks before the start of spring training.

But miserable as it's been, the 2020 season is not without its positives. Honest.

One thing that Bloom has accomplished in his first season is adding to the team's depth around the edges of the roster. That's something that his predecessor, Dave Dombrowski, seemed to ignore during his tenure. While Dombrowski focused squarely on the big-ticket items (free agent stars like David Price and J.D. Martinez; blockbuster trade pieces like Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel), he neglected the smaller depth pieces that can often spell the difference over the course of a season.

(A brief look at the Yankees smart acquisitions in the last few years is a vivid reminder about the importance of paying attention to the entirety of the roster. Luke Voit, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela are just three "small'' moves that Brian Cashman has made in recent seasons to bolster their depth, without which the Yankees never would have been able to withstand the tsunami of injuries they've endured the last two seasons).

So in the spirit of trying to find something, anything worthwhile about the otherwise nightmarish 2020 Red Sox season, here is some good to be found from this is-it-over-yet? season:

1-Alex Verdugo. Trading away Mookie Betts was bad enough, and the enormity of that loss will be felt for a long, long time. Brace yourself for the backlash if Betts leads the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 seasons. For the foreseeable future, it will almost impossible to see, hear or think about Betts without reflexively asking: How could they?

Now imagine the rancor had Bloom not obtained a player as good as Verdugo as the main piece in the deal, and the first to contribute to the major league team. Verdugo has arguably been the Red Sox' best player, showing five-tool potential. He's excelled in the outfield, hinted at more power to come, run the bases with aggressiveness and brought an almost incalculable amount of energy to the Sox -- to say nothing of some much-needed personality and swagger.

Nearly as important, he's shown himself immune from the sometimes self-immolating pressures that can afflict newcomers to Boston. Bloom never seemed to be obsessed with being "the guy they got for Mookie.'' In fact, he bristled at the suggestion, dismissing it as a media-created storyline and one which he paid no attention.

He's shown that he can hit leadoff, a role which he admittedly not seek. He's demonstrated that he can play either corner outfield spot, including the challenge that comes with handling Fenway's expansive and idiosyncratic right field.

And, while a lot of people weren't watching, he established himself, along with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, as a foundational piece of the roster going forward.