One could make the argument, based on the numbers, that the Red Sox are the best team in baseball. I'm not sure I'd go quite that far with it, but they are just a half-game behind Atlanta for the best record in the game, and they have scored the most runs in baseball, along with having the best run differential in the league. The Red Sox do have a few star players who have helped them reach this point, but they've relied more on their tremendous depth than anything. When one player goes down, another has stepped up and filled the void seamlessly. Because of that, there aren't many Boston players in the conversations for the major awards, despite the team's standing in comparison to the rest of the league. However, even though they can't boast an MVP or Cy Young candidate, that doesn't mean they don't have anyone with a chance to bring home some hardware.
Manager of the Year
This is probably the biggest award that the Red Sox may be able to boast the winner of. Though it is entirely up for debate how much a manager can affect a baseball team, or even in what ways he has the biggest effect, voters tend to lean towards guys who lead teams that have undergone major turnarounds. John Farrell fits this description to a T. All he has done has taken a club that suffered through an abysmal 2012 and turned them into a legitimate World Series contender. It also helps that their clubhouse turned into what it has become today. Personally, I'd probably give it to either Joe Girardi - who has kept the Yankees in the playoff race despite a plethora of injuries and a minor-league-esque lineup - or Terry Francona - who has taken kept a lackluster Indians team in the race. As it stands, though, Farrell seems to be the favorite. And though he may not be my first choice, he certainly wouldn't be undeserving of the award.
Executive of the Year
If this award was handed down to one person from both leagues, I would say that Ben Cherington would easily be the winner here. It wouldn't even really be a competition. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and he has competition from the National League as well. Farrell has done a wonderful job this year, but the real mastermind behind this turnaround was Cherington. Firstly, he found a way to clear all that salary in the Punto trade last season, and somehow managed to get two very good pitching prospects in the process. Then, he used that newfound money to sign low-risk free agents that filled multiple holes, but didn't impede the organization's bright future. On top of that, the guys he brought in were great for the clubhouse. As far as his competition goes, Neal Huntington, one of his fellow UMass alumni, may very well top him. The Pirates are in the midst of their first winning season in 20 years, and their GM is a big reason why. That storyline probably propels him above Cherington, but that doesn't take anything away from Boston's GM's accomplishments.
This is such a hard award to predict, since there aren't any terribly reliable defensive statistics available to us yet. Because of that, voters are left to their own judgement much of the time, and sometimes it seems offensive numbers come into play, too. However, the way I see it, the Red Sox should bring home at least two Gold Gloves this season. In right field, Shane Victorino has been an absolute god send. Fenway Park is home to one of the toughest right fields in all of baseball, and he has played it masterfully all year. His range has been tremendous, and he's fearless around walls, which has led to some great catches throughout 2013. On top of that, he's got an absolute cannon, which can be incredibly valuable for pitchers. If advanced stats are more your thing, he has the fourth-highest UZR in baseball, regardless of position. The other Gold Glove should go to Dustin Pedroia. While his bat has been slumping for much of the second half, his glove has been as good, if not better, than it has ever been. Robinson Cano will probably get some votes, and he's a damn fine defender, but I find it hard to believe he's been better than Pedroia this year. Other than them two, Mike Napoli also probably deserves some votes, but his lack of a track record at first base will likely hurt him.
Photo Courtesy of Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports
Though they have the highest-scoring offense in the game, I can't see them taking more than one silver slugger this year, and that's at DH. David Ortiz, at 37 years old, remains one of the best hitters in the game, never mind just among DHs. In 542 plate appearances this year, he has hit .308/.393/.550 (149 wRC+) with 27 home runs. Additionally, he has walked in almost 13 percent of his plate appearances this year, while striking out just 14.4 percent of the time. With today's game shifting away from the traditional DH, there really isn't much of a competition here. However, even if there was, Ortiz would still stand a very good chance, because he's been one of the best hitters in the game, no matter what position they play.
Comeback Player of the Year
This has been a season full of pleasant surprises, but John Lackey turning into the most consistent pitcher on the team this year is a development few people could've seen coming. It's been something of a double-comeback, too, since he is not only coming off a missed season due to Tommy John Surgery, but he is also recovering from being the worst pitcher in the game in 2011. All he has done this season is throw 168 innings with a 3.48 ERA (83 ERA-), with a 3.72 FIP and a 3.92 K/BB ratio. Luckily, the Red Sox look like they are on their way to a division title, so the wild card game shouldn't be a concern. If they collapse and are forced into the one-game playoff, though, Lackey would be a serious contender for the starting gig in that game. With all that being said, though, I'd be shocked if he won this award. Mariano Rivera is in his last MLB season, and the league has been honoring him all year. (And deservedly so) Since he missed the entire 2012 season, it'd be shocking if he wasn't given this award.
Rolaids Relief/Delivery Man of the Year
Apparently there are two awards given out for relief pitchers every year (who knew?), and the most talked about Red Sox player is in serious consideration. This works out perfectly, because Koji Uehara has been ridiculous with both his performance and his antics, so he should win the most ridiculously named award(s). Last week, I went over how crazy-good Boston's closer has been, and how Greg Holland has been his only real competition, as he is for these awards. So, I won't rehash all that. Just remember, he is currently in the middle of a streak that is equivalent to an 11-inning perfect game, with an extra out added on top of that.
The Red Sox may not have hopefuls for the two major awards, but they are well-represented elsewhere. Even if they don't win any of them, they still have as good a chance as anyone at the ultimate prize, which speaks more to their depth than anything. Still, it would be awesome to see them take home at least a couple pieces of hardware.