Red Sox

McAdam: Ron Roenicke was given a thankless task in February — and Sunday’s firing confirmed that

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The news -- though oddly-timed -- was about as a surprising as yet one more loss in the team's shortened season, which is to say, not at all: Ron Roenicke will not return in 2021 Red Sox season.

The Red Sox made that much official less than two hours before the final game of the worst Red Sox season in decades and some 15 minutes after Roenicke was scheduled to meet with reporters via Zoom for his daily pre-game media availability.

But really, the die was cast months ago, when the Red Sox traded their best player (Mookie Betts) and their third-best starter (David Price), and lost their two best starting pitchers for the season (Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez).

Even without Betts, the Sox retained a formidable lineup. But the team's starting rotation, with three linchpins suddenly subtracted, was hardly major league quality. Unsurprisingly, the team faltered out of the gate, went into free-fall in mid-August and dipped into irrelevancy for the rest of the way.

Along the way, the Red Sox utilized 17 different starting pitchers -- or, an average of a new one every four or so games -- and churned through 26 different pitchers in relief, the most of any team in the American League.

In that sense, Roenicke's dismissal has seemed obvious for months -- not because he wasn't up to demands of the job, but rather, because no one would have been.