The Boston Red Sox are a mediocre baseball team in 2024, but what they do on a nightly basis is hardly ever mediocre. One night, they'll win 10-1 and look like a World Series contender, then the next they'll make four errors and lose to a last-place team. It adds up to create a viewing experience almost certain to take years off the lives of their fans.

And because not every Red Sox fan has an internet platform, it's time to speak their truth to the world. The Red Sox have too many players causing fan anxiety this season, and in the paragraphs that follow, we'll be discussing three of them.

Though every player goes through rough patches, these guys have worn out their welcome awfully early in 2024. And it's important to note that everyone comes with different expectations and circumstances, so all of that will be factored in. Okay, now it's time to start the slander.

Kenley Jansen

Boston Red Sox pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Fenway Park
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

In doing research for this piece, it was truly shocking to learn that Kenley Jansen has a 2.58 FIP and 12.1 K/9 this season. If you were cruising, you might even conclude that Jansen is having a pretty darn good season. But when watching this Red Sox team nightly, it's hard not to start ripping your hair out when Jansen takes to the hill.

The first issue has been the walks. Jansen has a career high walk rate of 5.7 BB/9, a full walk more than he's ever issued per nine innings in a single season. He has made a habit of picking up saves, but conceding every possible baserunner to the opposition before doing so. And when he enters the game in a non-save situation, he's liable to give up runs in bunches.

The stats are one thing, but Jansen's overall demeanor has also been an issue this season. He's talked about his frustration with Boston's lack of spending this past offseason, which is warranted, but then he's been unavailable in games the Sox desperately need him. Jansen has also saved his worst outings for Fenway Park, where he now has a 5.28 ERA as a member of the Red Sox—all while being paid $16 million, which these days Boston fans would love to see some another team pay him instead.

Cooper Criswell

Stay with us on this one. Cooper Criswell has actually been fantastic for the Red Sox during most of this season. He was signed to be a depth piece on the pitching staff for just $1 million, started the season in AAA, then came up during Boston's rash of starting pitching injuries and started having wildly unexpected success, pitching to a sub-two ERA in his first six starts.

But even sitting here typing this on the night of another excellent Criswell outing, it feels as though that goodwill bubble could soon burst. Garrett Whitlock apparently has some sort of elbow tear and may well miss the entire season, which means Criswell is no longer a short-term solution. He's going to get extended run in the rotation and every team is going to have all the info on how to light him up, not to mention most peripheral stats already suggest regression is imminent.

And ultimately, the frustration here is not with Criswell, who has already done more than most fans likely expected him to for the entire 2024 campaign. It's with Red Sox ownership, who clearly wasn't concerned enough with the starting rotation to invest in adding quality starters to the depth Boston had last year.

The Red Sox last season were down to three starting pitchers by August, but traded away Chris Sale and signed Lucas Giolito, who has yet to throw an inning. As great as the rotation has been so far in 2024, it's starting to run on fumes. And that was a completely avoidable outcome if the proper resources had been invested to revamp this starting staff. Unfortunately, those resources weren't deemed available.

Every first baseman not named Triston Casas

Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas (36) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This roster issue was one the Red Sox shouldn't have necessarily foreseen, but it's been no less painful. First baseman Triston Casas was one of the few awesome things about watching a forgettable 2023 Boston team, and he was off to a similarly awesome start this season. But then Casas fractured his rib cartilage and landed on the 60-day IL, and not a single player who's attempted to replace him has been up to the task.

Here are the stats of each of the three first basemen who have played at least five games at the position since Casas got hurt.

  • Garrett Cooper: 9-for-40, 0 HR, .620 OPS
  • Dominic Smith: 10-for-53, 0 HR, .477 OPS
  • Bobby Dalbec: 7-for-53, 0 HR, .377 OPS

In case you weren't keeping track, that's exactly zero home runs and a combined .178 batting average from one of the most important offensive positions on the diamond. In other words: That ain't cutting it. If Casas doesn't return on the exact date of June 21st, when he's eligible to get back in the lineup, fans are going to have to resort to begging the front office to call up Niko Kavadas from AAA.