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Four Red Sox connections on MLB.com All-Decade Team

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And a couple more on the second team.

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We are now less than two weeks away from the end of this 2010s decade, which is both totally arbitrary and an important passage of time because we choose for it to be. With the end of the decade, every corner of the internet is just oozing with best-of lists. Year-end lists are always a staple of December, and now we’re adding decade stuff in. If you like lists and countdowns (and I’ll admit for being a sucker for these), then this is your paradise.

Anyway, baseball is not immune to this, as you can imagine. Over at MLB.com, they are running through a whole lot of end-of-decade stuff, and a few days ago that included their All-Decade team. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises here, but the Red Sox did have four connections on their first team as well as two more on the second team.

First Team

C: Buster Posey

1B: Miguel Cabrera

2B: José Altuve

3B: Adrián Beltré

SS: Francisco Lindor

OF: Mike Trout

OF: Andrew McCutchen

OF: Mookie Betts

DH: Nelson Cruz

SP: Justin Verlander

SP: Max Scherzer

SP: Clayton Kershaw

SP: Zack Greinke

SP: Chris Sale

RP: Craig Kimbrel

RP: Aroldis Chapman

So, the four connections here are obviously Beltré, Betts, Sale and Kimbrel. Beltré will not be remembered for his time in Boston since it was only one year, but that was a big part of his comeback. The Red Sox got him on a one-year pillow contract, and it was one of the most successful of those in the history of the game. He would then head to Texas, where he became a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Betts was an interesting one given his relative lack of playing time, but he was actually still fourth on Fangraphs’ WAR leaderboard among outfielders this decade. Giancarlo Stanton was ahead of him, but the margin was small and the difference in playing time was massive. You could argue longevity for Stanton or Harper if you want, but I think Betts is the right call here. Whichever way you slice it, though, Trout and McCutchen are a clear 1-2.

I don’t think it gets much clearer than the five starting pitchers here. I’d gripe with the order — Kershaw is easily number one for me, and if we were to extend it to 2000 he would still be there — but Sale being fifth is fine. Obviously, we are relatively down on Sale right now but there’s no doubting his dominance, and one could maybe make the argument that Sale is more dominant than anyone listed here if everyone is at their absolute best for any given start. I’d have to think about that one a little more.

Finally, Kimbrel is, in my estimation, the second best reliever of all time. If you want to put Eckersley above him, I wouldn’t argue too hard. Whichever way you slice it, he is an automatic in Hall of Fame consideration and clearly the number one here.

Second Team

C: Yadier Molina

1B: Joey Votto

2B: Robinson Canó

3B: Nolan Arenado

SS: Troy Tulowitzki

OF: Giancarlo Stanton

OF: Bryce Harper

OF: José Bautista

DH: David Ortiz

SP: Madison Bumgarner

SP: Jacob deGrom

SP: David Price

SP: Stephen Strasburg

SP: Corey Kluber

RP: Kenley Jansen

RP: Wade Davis

On a per-at bat basis, Ortiz was the best DH of the decade, just as he was the decade before. He missed the last three seasons of the 2010s, though, and 30 percent is a large chunk of time. It’s hard to blame them for putting Cruz ahead of him on the first team. The second team nod is a good one, though, although Edwin Encarnación has a good case, too.

Price is another pretty obvious choice for a top ten of the decade. As with Sale there is some negativity here right now, but Price has the longevity and relative consistency this decade to belong here.

As for players not mentioned here, Xander Bogaerts is probably the only one with a case, but I wouldn’t argue against Lindor or Tulowitzki. There really wasn’t one shortstop who was a stalwart for eight years, so they opted to go with the two peaks. Lindor is the best shortstop right now in my estimation, and if you could choose any shortstop at their peak from the last ten years I don’t know how you pick anyone besides Tulo. Bogaerts is great, but a shade behind them.