A Trip Down (Recent) Memory Lane: Red Sox Decade "Awards"
(Photo: Getty Images)
Boston. Sports. Success. Fenway. Championships. All words that have had direct associations with each other in the decade we’re about to close out. It’s only fair to recap the decade in some way. We’ll do just that and some more—the good, the bad, the sensational, the ugly, the opinions nobody asked for, we’ll have it all. The categories are relevant to the years 2010-2019 only and are going to be pretty self-explanatory, except when they are not. Have at it. Best draft pick: Mookie Betts.
This one was quite a scramble. Yeah no, it really wasn’t. It’s rare enough to draft a generational 5-tool talent that wins just about every award there is available and caps it off for you with a championship. It’s even more impressive when it’s in the fifth round. In a 2011 draft class that did contain a deep stack of talent, the 5’9” infielder Mookie Betts also managed to get picked after 155 dudes that have yet to make an all-star game. It’s safe to say Betts was the steal of the decade for the organization.
(Photo: Jim Davis/Boston Globe)
Best free agent signing: J.D. Martinez.
If you haven’t gotten the memo yet that J.D. Martinez is one of the best hitters in baseball, catch up. In his first season with the city of champions, J.D. Martinez’s role was simple—fill in the hole left by the departure of the greatest clutch hitter in the history of the game. It sounds crazy to say that he accomplished it, but when with Martinez’s numbers in the regular season and October, he could even be considered one of the best free agent signings of all time. At 5 years, $110 million, this was clearly the best acquisition of Dave Dombrowski’s stint in Boston and the best free agent signing in the successful decade of Red Sox baseball.
Best trade: Chris Sale.
The Sox have made sparked some fire in the front office over the years. Topped by the trade for Pedro Martinez in 1997, Boston has headlined baseball’s offseason time and again. This decade, though, Dealin’ Dave showed the league why his fearlessness is what Boston needed to win another championship when he traded the kitchen sink for a true ace.
In Sale's first two years with the Sox, he continued his streak of Cy Young candidate seasons en route to eventually striking out Manny Machado to cap off the greatest Sox season ever. Meanwhile, the only relevant piece (thus far) that Boston had to give up has been Yoan Moncada, a key part of a powerful White Sox lineup. While it might seem that the Sox gave up a superstar, once the #1 prospect in baseball as a member of the Red Sox organization, a promising slash line of .315/.367/.548 at second base is nothing to scoff at but nowhere near the value the league once perceived. While 2019 was more than forgettable for the potential hall-of-famer, the reward of having Chris Sale wear a jersey and not cut it off has already been well worth the cost.
Worst acquisition: Carl Crawford.
This isn’t the category you’re dying to have a lot of options to pick from. There are a few that the kids these days think are egregious enough, but let’s take a very short visit to the humble beginnings of the early part of the decade. When the Red Sox went big on Adrián González and Carl Crawford in the 2010-2011 offseason, the intent was a commitment to winning. By acquiring two of the biggest position player names in baseball at the time, the Red Sox felt like they were putting themselves in a firm position to be a championship contender. All Boston got out of a 7-year, $142 million contract was a helping hand in an epic September collapse and a message that we were the problem. Crawford was not only the biggest big name bust of the Red Sox decade, he will also go down as one of the worst signings in the history of our sport.
Biggest hit: David Ortiz.
Who else? The only question that takes a few seconds of thought is which one? When in doubt, how about one of the biggest momentum-shifting home runs in recent baseball history? Just relive it if you haven’t already every day since it happened.
Biggest defensive play: Andrew Benintendi.
The Red Sox of the 2010s have been blessed with elite defenders. Whether it be in the emblem of heart and hustle Dustin Pedroia or The Flyin' Hawaiian with a ring or the current best outfield in baseball, names like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts regularly tattoo the MLB highlight reels. But given the moment and the stakes, the play that takes the cake is one that helped the Red Sox crush hearts in Houston on the way to an eventual World Series title. Air Benny with the play of a lifetime takes the #1 spot.
Best Rivalry Moment: 16-1.
The Bronx bombers have had their fair share of success over the years. Your grandparents know about it. Your parents have experienced a majority of it. But the documentaries on that success are essentially in black-and-white. The 2010s was all Boston when it came to the big moments. None bigger than a 15-run win in the Bronx on the back of the first cycle in postseason history. They wanted Boston. They got Boston.
"We scored 16 at Yankee Stadium. Suck on it." —Alex Cora at the 2018 World Series Parade
What have been your favorite moments of Boston Red Sox 2010s baseball? In your opinion, what have been the most defining moments for the franchise? Who is your sneaky pick for the all-decade team? There’s lots to reminisce about and be grateful for as fans of the most dominant American League team of the decade. 2020, let’s get it.