Sam Kennedy acknowledges ‘low point’ in Red Sox season, maps out top offseason focus

Red Sox

“We don’t have the depth right now, and we saw it manifest itself the other night.”

In this Jan. 15, 2020, file photo, Boston Red Sox team CEO Sam Kennedy, left, and Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom participate during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston.
Sam Kennedy was candid about the Red Sox’ lackluster showing in August. Elise Amendola / AP Photo

The 2023 Red Sox are still mathematically in the American League Wild-Card race as of Thursday night.

But after getting swept by the Houston Astros at Fenway Park as part of a 13-15 showing in August, Boston currently sits 6.5 games back from the third Wild-Card spot with a record of 69-65. 

With a little over a month left in the regular season, FanGraphs has tabbed Boston with only a 4.6% chance of punching a ticket to the postseason. 

During an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show”, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged the team’s unenviable position in what is already a cutthroat Wild-Card race.

“It is a tough, tough blow,” Kennedy said of Boston’s recent slide. “We’re just not pitching. We don’t have the depth right now, and we saw it manifest itself the other night. When you’re really thin with your starting pitching, and you don’t have starters that you need to go deep, and you’ve got 15 games in a row against the class of baseball, it just was not a good recipe.

“We’ve had a really brutal August. I think we’re 13-15. So, look, it does feel like the low point. The odds are stacked against us. But no one’s giving up. Until our playoff odds are zero, I think that the clubhouse, our players, Alex Cora, the staff — they’re going to grind to try and get back in this thing here. We’ve got 28 games to go, so let’s jump onboard and see what we can do over the next four or five weeks.”

Given Boston’s struggles with depth, especially in regards to pitching, Kennedy was asked if there are any regrets over Chaim Bloom and the organization’s decision to largely stand pat at the trade deadline and not bolster a tiring bullpen and banged-up rotation. 

“I think it’s natural to question and to look back and examine everything, but it’s not appropriate for us now — for those of us in the front office who are accountable for these things, starting with me and our whole organization. We’re a team,” Kennedy said. “Others can look back and question and pick apart, but for us, we’ve got to focus on what’s in front of us the four weeks in front of us and staying positive and trying to get back in this thing, regardless of moves that were made or not made.”

With Boston’s playoff hopes dwindling, Bloom and the rest of the Red Sox front-office staff will need to be aggressive this winter in hopes of bolstering a young core of talent.

When it comes to potential offseason priorities, Kennedy’s response didn’t come as much of a surprise.

“Well, I think we’ve seen it, and it’s sort of tried and true in baseball: Pitching, pitching, pitching, more pitching, is always needed,” Kennedy said. “And I think we’ve got some young players and pitchers in this organization that are going to help us.

“We’ve got to be active in the free agent market as we go forward in the next five years. Because pitching and defense wins championships. We all know that. And so that’s got to be a big focus as we go forward.”

Even though the Red Sox have a promising young pitcher to build around in 24-year-old Brayan Bello, Boston could use another top-line hurler (or two) this winter. 

The Red Sox have reportedly scouted Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto multiple times during the NPB season, while Blake Snell, Julio Urias, Lucas Giolito, Aaron Nola, and Jordan Montgomery are just a few of the top starts set to hit the open market this winter.