So with the season rapidly winding down, as evident by the ‘magic number’ tweets invading our news feeds, player statistics and season leaderboards are becoming clearer and more defined. But what about the coaches, managers, trainers? What platform do we have to judge them on? Well, that also comes down to player performances. And in our first Papi-less season since the 2002 revolving door at DH featuring Carlos Baerga, Brian Daubach, and Jose Offerman, the offense took one to the chin. Which leaves us here at SoxSphere debating whether Chili Davis has done the best with what he’s got, or has contributed to the inconsistency of the 3rd youngest lineup in the A.L.

Dom: Despite being in first place it seems like we critique this Red Sox team more than we praise them. With good reason, though! This team has glaring weaknesses and as October rapidly approaches it seems like these Sox are slipping in September with the Yankees creeping. So as the season reflects I look at this team from a managerial stand point on who needs to go. Then I thought about the offense…other than Papi who was missing from this offense last year that was feared? No one.

The Sox signed Mitch Moreland and made Hanley a full-time DH because that’s what HE wanted. Sure, a little regression was expected offensively for this team, but not as bad as this. So, who is to blame? Well of course players hold some what of the blame, but it is also the job of the hitting coach to help batters adjust. Also, it’s his job to help with the day to day adjustments and pitching tendencies. Chili Davis has done none of that! So, when the offseason rolls around I think it’s time to make a change. Fire Chili. Last year this team ranked top 3 in every offensive category in all of baseball! Now, they rank 10th in total offense. Losing Papi hurts, but, with Betts, Bogey, Benintendi, and Pedey still here this offense wasn’t supposed to miss a beat. Last year, Mookie looked like an MVP candidate offensively while this year he looks lost at the plate and has been striking out a ton. Last year the Sox had 4 guys that hit above .300, this year 2 that’s if you want to count Nunez as one. So when it’s the offseason and everyone wants to blame Farrell…

Why don’t we blame the guy is responsible for the offense. Oh yeah did I mention this team ranks as the worst team in baseball with runners left on base. How’s that for offense?

Gerard: Admittedly, I thought in mid May when the entire lineup was struggling, with the exception of Mitchy Two Bags, that Chili would be the scapegoat. DD wasn’t going to fire Farrell 6 weeks into a season after a fresh endorsement following an ALDS sweep. Willis wasn’t an issue. Butterfield’s arm wasn’t tracing the outline of an imaginary hula hoop quite as expediently. But Dombrowski stuck with his guys, and it’s paid off. Specifically regarding Davis, who’s managed to get the team last in the league in home runs, to be arguably a top 5 productive lineup in the Junior Circuit. Based on what? Well in a numbers based sport, we might as well reference the numbers:

  • Hits: 3rd
  • Dubs: 4th
  • AVG/BB/OBP/: 5th
  • R/RBI: 6th

In addition, they strike out less frequently than 10 AL opposers, and have stolen 100+ bags. The impressiveness of these stats are legitimized by their year long power outage; they don’t rely on the long ball to cross home plate. Runs are manufactured, singles are stretched to doubles, outs aren’t wasted on sacrifices, and scouting reports are utilized to the fullest extent. Just because we’re not seeing the offensive output that we were spoiled with by the likes of Nomar, to Manny, to Papi, doesn’t mean that it’s suffering. When Ortiz retired, Dombrowski didn’t try to replace him. Instead, he took a more logical route: get defensive (Moreland), and get outs (Sale). As it turns out, the team is on pace for 1 more victory than last seasons totals, and they don’t need an exhausting, peak-too-soon September winning streak to do so.

We can also give Chili Davis a massive amount of credit in three areas:

  1. the continued development and adjustments necessary to see the still-rookie Benintendi close in on a 20/20 season, and a team leading .800 OBP.
  2. The emergence of C-Vaq as a .300 hitter.
  3. Rafy Devers. Check your naïveté at the door, because 20 year olds don’t just arrive in The Show and mash to the tune of a .488 SLG%.

All things being considered, Chili has gotten the most out of a lineup that lacks that thunderous, middle of the lineup lumber we see in Baltimore with Machado, Seattle and Nelson Cruz, or even Oakland’s vaunted Khris Davis. Yet they manage to score more runs than said teams. So my take? Chili isn’t an issue. Not even close to one. Trade for a Jose Abreu or sign an Eric Hosmer; let one player’s superstar ability emanate through the lineup, and allow the young players who have been under the tutelage of the 3x All-Star to flourish with a familiar face in the hitting cage.

Ultimately, the decision is up to Dave Dombrowski, but what do you think?

Should the Red Sox retain Chili Davis, or lay off the proverbial spicy chili?