Despite bringing home the American League East title last season, the Boston Red Sox had some troubles in the locker room.
A 93-69 record, a division title, and a playoff appearance; what could possibly go wrong? Well, according to Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox locker room was not the most pleasant of places last season. Apparently, disagreement was not uncommon and it really impacted the players at some points.
Boston had some high-profile issues last season, most notably the ugliness on the team plane between star pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer closer — and former Red Sox — Dennis Eckersley. Price was verbally aggressive toward Eckersley, reportedly because the 1989 World Series champion dared to criticize him.
As for Betts, he put a specific emphasis on having more fun, both personally and the team as a whole. He also hinted at the tension that plagued the locker room when they were losing or not playing particularly well. Despite all of this, Betts seemed optimistic for the season ahead, mentioning he hopes that the team can learn from their mistakes this year and grow together.
Bogaerts took a slightly different approach, acknowledging that in a locker room with that many men, there are bound to be disagreements and issues that arise. He, like Betts, assured reporters that the team learned from last season, and will apply what they learned to help solve issues that could arise in the upcoming campaign.
The issues were apparent, most notably regarding the Manny Machado slide into Dustin Pedroia and how the team, especially Matt Barnes, responded. That incident led to a lot of disagreement throughout the clubhouse, and the team struggled to shake it off.
With a bright outlook going into the 2018 season, the Red Sox will most likely again be in the race for a pennant. The talent is there, the next step is getting the chemistry and locker room setting to the same level.