Tomase: The Red Sox players must first acknowledge their role in the Plawecki incident on NBC Sports Boston
The news came so suddenly, friends barely had time to gather. They raised a lonely glass and sang the song of the departed, which everyone knew by heart, that’s how the songs work.
We’re talking “God Save the Queen,” right?
Try “Dance on My Own.”
The Red Sox clubhouse is entitled to mourn the loss of popular backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, but before we go any further, “Chaim Bloom doesn’t understand people!” again, some reality is in order.
Bloom is not the reason Plawecki is calling his season two weeks early. His players are. Stay in contention, and the veteran backup catcher isn’t going anywhere. Finish in last place, and it would be a dereliction of duty no to cut him in favor of evaluating a Triple-A reliever like Franklin German.
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We focused, rightly, on the inadequacies of the front office as we drove the dive to the bottom of the American League East. Cut the bullpen, ignore the first base, confidence starter-good chance of injury – all were self-wounds that helped doom the season.
But there’s another question we’ve spent far less time dissecting, and the reaction to the Plawecki event crystallizes it perfectly. It is this victimization of victimization and grievances that has left the clubhouse feeling that it has no part in the results on the field.
We saw it in the mopey reaction to the trade of catcher Christian Vazquez, whose replacement, Reese McGuire, is much better than him, it must be noted. We saw it a year earlier when trade deadline boosters weren’t coming fast enough, even though Kyle Schwarber ended a run to the American League Championship Series. And we’re seeing it now with Plawecki, a true backup and veteran presence that’s not the issue here.
The question is the response of the players who seem unwilling to accept responsibility for their role in this disappointing campaign. When right-hander Nathan Eovaldi tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford the clubhouse will lose the likes of Schwarber, Plawecki, and Hunter Renfroe, it comes off as a direct dig at Bloom’s priorities. But how about Eovaldi filling that gap? We’re still talking about a veteran-laden roster, after all. From Xander Bogaerts to JD Martinez to Rafael Devers to Kiké Hernández to Nick Pivetta to the dearly departed Vazquez, the Red Sox have never been short of experienced players.
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So where were they when the season started to go south in July? They didn’t stop the bleeding, though the Rays survived within their own division after losing superstar Wander Franco, Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, All-Star catcher Mike Zunino, pitchers Andrew Kittredge and J.P. Feyereisen, and the possible future. ace Shane Baz, among others. They currently trail the Blue Jays by just half a game for the first wild card.
The Rays didn’t give up when injuries hit, but the Red Sox did, making the last eight weeks of the season meaningless.
Against that background, Bloom has no choice but to target 2023. He gave this club a shot at making one final run by not trading Eovaldi or Martinez at the deadline, decisions he no doubt regrets today. The clubhouse did not reward that sign of faith, so it should now be kept quiet over a late cut that is partly due to the new CBA limiting September rosters to 28 players.
After Sunday’s 13-3 win over the Royals, the sounds of Plawecki’s song, “Dancing with Myself,” filled the clubhouse. Whether it was really a tribute or a protest, because the conclusion is the same — the Red Sox players need to take a good long look in the mirror and stop acting like the roster needs to be built for their comfort. to start. .
Recognizing locker room temperature is an essential management skill, and sometimes the Red Sox could do a better job of communicating decisions to the rank and file. But we often go too far to make this or that move so damaging to the delicate clubhouse ecosystem.
Sometimes the players just need to get together and admit that the management has nothing on them, because they didn’t honor their half of the deal. Sometimes their performance leaves the boss no choice but to cut their friend because he is not part of the future. Sometimes the next year is more important than this one.
In short, they should stop treating Fenway like a weeping Westminster Abbey. The backup catcher is gone. He was a good man. If they had played better, he would still be here.