AL East: A mid-term front office assessment of all five teams

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Michael Wacha. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Wacha. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Boston Red Sox front office -3.3

The Red Sox enter July in a tie for second in the AL East. Still it has not been an especially good first half for Bloom, O’Halloran, and the rest of the Boston front office.

That management team has made 21 personnel moves involving major leaguers since the end of the 2021 season, and the net impact on Boston’s fortunes is a disappointing -3.3 games as measured by WAA. Put that up against the +7.3 game impact Cashman has had on the Yankees and you account for virtually all of the distance by which Boston trails New York in the standings.

Of those 21 moves, seven produced positive value for Boston, but a dozen hurt the team’s cause. The five most impactful listed below feature two among the top three that more than explain the 3.3 game handicap under which the Red Sox have labored.

Nov. 7: That’s the date Martin Perez became a free agent following two years as a part of Boston’s rotation. Perez was a 30-year-old with a sub-.500 record and undistinguished ERA during two years with the Sox, so the decision to let him go was not surprising. But in his first three months in Texas, he has won six of eight decisions and halved his ERA down to 2.22 in 15 starts. That amounts to a +2.2 WAA. The Sox could have used that.

Nov. 27: The Sox essentially recouped their Perez losses by signing Michael Wacha for one year at $7 million. In 13 starts, he’s 6-1 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.5 WAA.

Dec. 1: The reunion with Jackie Bradley has gone less swimmingly. Traded back to his original team with two minor leaguers for Hunter Renfroe – more on him in a moment – Bradley has shown the same lack of offense that got him moved out of town in 2021. He’s batting .207 with one home run, a pitiful .555 OPS and a -1.4 WAA.

Dec. 1: Now about Renfroe. In Milwaukee he’s batting .247 – not great but 40 points better than Bradley – with a .789 OPPS that beats Bradley by 234 points. Renfroe’s +0.8 WAA to the season’s midway point means the interim assessment of that trade favors the Brewers by a solid 2.3 games.

March 23: Trevor Story was one of the big free agent catches of the 2022 offseason and the Red Sox caught him. His first half, though, has been decidedly underwhelming. Story is off to a .224 start – he does have a dozen home runs – and a .720 OPS that is 130 points below his career average. In fairness to Story, It still adds up to a +0.8 WAA contribution, so it’s a net gain, if not a strikingly large one.