Red Sox

GM Brian O’Halloran: Blame front office if Red Sox miss playoffs

A disastrous August, including a recent sweep by the Yankees, has the Red Sox sitting just outside the American League playoff picture.

Red Sox
Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts reacts after grounding into a double play against the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Adam Hunger/AP
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The Red Sox have seen their Cinderella story free-fall back to reality with just over a month to go in the 2021 season.

Boston went from leading the AL East by 2.5 games at the end of July to third place in the division after a disastrous sweep at the hands of the rival Yankees this week.

The team sits a half-game out of the second wild-card spot in the American League behind the Oakland Athletics, which is better than many might have hoped for at the start of the season. But their 6-14 stretch over the last 20 games has torpedoed their chances of winning the division barring a collapse by the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Several of the team’s stars, especially Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, have struggled to live up to their hot starts this season.

But Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran said his team’s recent collapse begins at the top.

“First of all, hope that doesn’t happen. But in the end, it’s on us,” O’Halloran told The Greg Hill Show on WEEI. “It’s on the front office. It’s on the baseball operations. Whatever happens on the field, the results, good or bad — we’ve been given the opportunity to do this job and gotten nothing but support from ownership. We have no excuses.”

The front office has especially come under fire for its lack of action at the trade deadline. The team did add slugger Kyle Schwarber and middle relievers Hansel Robles and Austin Davis but did not land experienced first base help, such as Schwarber’s former Cubs teammate and former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo.

“So that’s on the baseball operations leadership, myself included. That goes for both the short-term and the long-term. Again, it’s a balance, but if we don’t make the playoffs, we’ll be very disappointed. We think we have a good team. We put ourselves in a position where we have a chance to make the postseason, and that’s true right now. We were in a better spot at the deadline, but we still have a chance to do this and our expectations are that we’ll battle down the stretch and hopefully get there. But in the end, yeah, all the results are on us, on the baseball operations leadership.”

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Still, O’Halloran insists the Red Sox are invested in making a run at the postseason this year after a surprising first half of the season put them among baseball’s best teams.

“That is not the way we went into this,” the general manager said. “We were looking to improve the team to give us the best chance to win this year while also balancing future considerations. Again, the goal here is to maximize winning. That includes 2021 and that includes years beyond it. We look at every opportunity to acquire players through that lens, trying to find ways to improve the team while maintaining our long-term goals.”

O’Halloran said he doesn’t believe the team’s recent struggles have anything to do with the lack of new players acquired, adding that the Red Sox players and manager Alex Cora have “the right mindset” despite “a really tough month.”

“We’ve gone through some struggles lately, and that’s part of a long season. But again, we’re sitting here on August 19 a game out of the wild card. What happened in New York the last couple days, we have to learn from it and move on. We have a lot of games in front of us and we have a great opportunity to put ourselves in the postseason, and that’s what we need to focus on.”

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