There are a number of people who used to work or play for the Red Sox who now have central roles in the MLB Postseason.
The Boston Red Sox are certainly disappointed to not be one of six American League teams in the MLB Postseason, but fans can still follow along with people who once were part of the team. A number of executives and players who used to call Fenway Park home are now spending time at Minute Maid and Citizens Bank Park for the World Series starting Friday night.
Any conversation about former BoSox in this year’s playoffs starts with executive Dave Dombrowski. He was controversially fired by the Red Sox after four years despite building the 2018 championship team. Dombrowski has now been President of Baseball Operations for the Phillies the past two seasons, and he has gotten them back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade. The Phillies are now the record fourth team he has taken to the World Series, alongside the 1997 Marlins, 2012 Tigers, and the aforementioned 2018 Red Sox.
Dombrowski has a reputation of going for broke to win the World Series, which is how he brought a title to Boston and then soon lost his job. He emptied out the farm system by trading away top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to get Chris Sale. Dombrowski has adopted a similar strategy with the Phillies, though his deadline moves this summer were tame. The big moves came in free agency when he signed Kyle Schwarber and Nicholas Castellanos to long-term deals. Castellanos had an awful season, but Schwarber led the NL in home runs.
The Red Sox also have an indirect connection to the Astros’ top executive. James Click was Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Rays, overlapping with Chaim Bloom in Tampa Bay for much of the 2010’s. Both men have taken the smaller-market strategy to big cities, though to this point Click has had better success turning low-budget moves into wins on the field. Bloom is still in the process of building a sustainable pipeline and will need a 2023 playoff berth to stay in Boston.
Players in the World Series
Among former Red Sox players in the playoffs, Christian Vazquez stands above the rest. The catcher spent parts of eight seasons in Boston, and he started for much of that timeframe. Vazquez has been a consistently good defender throughout his career, and he put up above-average batting lines most seasons. He was part of the 2018 World Series winners and was the longest tenured Red Sox player this season.
That is, the longest tenured until Chaim Bloom traded him to the Astros on August 2 as part of a curious deadline decision to buy and sell at the same time. Vazquez has had a tough time in Houston as his power has disappeared despite playing in a hitter’s park. His .585 OPS in 35 regular games was a far cry from the .759 figure he posted with the Sox this year. He is justifiably bummed out by being the backup since Martin Maldonado is an awful hitter. Vazquez will be looking to start with whoever he signs with in free agency, and a return to the Red Sox is a real possibility.
Fortunately for him, Vazquez is playing better in the postseason, including a hit and two crucial RBI’s in the ALCS clincher. The Astros took advantage of his knowledge of Yankee Stadium, and the decision to play him more paid off.
The very happy Vàzquez family. pic.twitter.com/ELwKENZTzz
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) October 24, 2022
There are very few other players in this year’s postseason who suited up at one point for the Red Sox, but one of them is a superstar. Mookie Betts played six seasons for the Sox and won an MVP Award in 2018 while leading the team to a title. He also won four Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and made four All-Star teams. After the Sox designated him for assignment in August, Jackie Bradley Jr. caught on with the Blue Jays but didn’t hit any better. Adam Ottavino spent 2021 pitching average ball at Fenway before a career resurgence with the Mets this year.
Red Sox fans can decide for themselves who to root for in the World Series, and there are personal reasons to pick either team.
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