The Red Sox haven’t played well, that’s ultimately why they started the season 4-8. But given all their injuries, a lack of talent also is coming into play. Consider these quick talent rankings for the 25-man roster:
All-Star caliber players (5): Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia.
Solid big league regulars (5): Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz, Cody Ross, Kevin Youkilis.
Major league backup/middle relief types (8): Matt Albers, Mike Aviles, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto, Ryan Sweeney.
AAAA-type players (7): Scott Atchison, Felix Doubront, Darnell McDonald, Jason Repko Nate Spears, Junichi Tazawa, Justin Thomas.
Add it up. Of the 25 players on the roster, 15 are either bench type players or just below replacement-level players. On any given night, the Red Sox are starting three or four players who should be coming off the bench or don’t belong on the roster in the first place.
It’s really no more complicated than that. When you have Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list, there is a significant talent drain.
Look at this way: Right now, of the 25 players on the roster, only 20 percent are All-Star caliber players. One is a DH and two are starting pitchers. Pedroia and Gonzalez are carrying a heavy load.
The good news is that Ellsbury, Bailey and Crawford will be back at some point. The question is whether it will be too late by then.