Here we go again. The Red Sox in 2017 once again finished in first place in the AL East, in the final season under John Farrell. Unfortunately, they ran into a buzzsaw in the first round of the postseason and were eliminated by the Astros in four games. Players like Ben Taylor and Kyle Martin managed to find themselves on some cardboard, but a number of arguably more-deserving players were still left off.
I will never understand how some middle relievers get cards, but others do not. This is why we need a real Topps Total release again. Abad was in his first full season with the Red Sox, and his second overall. This time around though, Abad pitched in 43.1 innings over 48 games (almost a third of the season). He was impressive, with a 3.30 ERA and a 2-1 record. He struck out 37 and walked just 14 in those innings. He tended to give up a lot of hits, but was otherwise effective, particularly against left-handed batters. He did not appear in the postseason. Abad was a free agent after the season, but did not appear in the Majors again until this season with the Giants. Abad does appear in a team-issued photo set.
Boyer was a well-traveled relief pitcher when he came to Boston as a free agent early in the 2017 season. He had been a veteran with the Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, Twins and Brewers. He had been successful at times, but never really kept his success going from year to year. He was 35 coming into the season, but still had something left. Boyer appeared in 32 games, throwing 41.1 innings with a 1-1 record and a 4.35 ERA. He struck out 33 and walked 14. Boyer played for the Royals in 2018, but has not been seen since. Boyer does appear in a minor league set.
Okay, this one I get. d'Arnaud, the older brother of current Rays/former Mets slugger Travis d'Arnaud, is more of a utility infielder. He made his debut in 2011 with the Pirates and has played with the Phillies and Braves, before joining Boston as a waiver wire pickup. 2016 was the only season in which he played in more than 50 games in the Majors, while he was with the Braves. d'Arnaud spent most of his stint with Boston in the minors, but appeared in two games, one as a pinch defensive replacement at second and the other as a pinch runner He picked up a hit in his only at bat as a Red Sox and scored two runs. He was later placed on waivers and picked up by the Padres. He played with the Giants in 2018.
Davis was an August trading deadline pickup for the Red Sox in order to add some speed to the lineup. Davis had been a veteran of twelve years and had appeared with the Pirates, Giants, Athletics, Blue Jays, Tigers and Indians. He had some clutch moments for the Indians in the 2016 postseason and led the league in stolen bases that season. Davis appeared in 17 games for the Red Sox down the stretch and hit .250/.289/.306 with three stolen bases in 38 plate appearances. He scored seven runs and drove in two runs. Davis appeared in one game in the postseason, but did not have a plate appearance. After the season, he returned to the Indians and has been with the Mets in 2019.
Elias was in his second season with the Red Sox, but appeared in just one game at the Major League level. The acquisition of Elias and Carson Smith for Wade Miley did not work out as planned. In 2018, Elias appeared in just one game, ending the game with one-third of an inning, walking one and striking out one. He did not do much in the minors for the Red Sox organization either. Early in 2018 he was traded back to the Mariners, and he impressed out of the bullpen. He started the 2019 season with Seattle, but was then traded to the Nationals.
Boston signed Kendrick as a low-cost starting pitcher primarily as organizational depth. When the Red Sox had some injuries to the rotation, Kendrick was called up to start a couple of games. He had previously been a consistent, if somewhat ordinary, starting pitcher for the Phillies for several seasons winning double digits six times. He had a disastrous 2015 season with the Rockies and did not appear in the Majors in 2016. Kendrick lost both of his starts with Boston and had a 12.96 ERA in 8.1 innings, giving up 18 hits, striking out three and walking three. He has not been back in the Majors since. Kendrick does appear in a minor league set.
This is the third time that Ramirez has appeared in one of these posts. Ramirez had been a fourth round pick of the Red Sox in 2011 and has appeared in a number of minor league sets, but never made it into a Major League set with the Red Sox. 2017 was his final season in Boston before being waived in August. The Angels picked him up and he has had some success in their bullpen since. With Boston in 2017, Ramirez appeared in just two games, throwing 4.1 innings and notching four strikeouts. He had a 3.86 ERA. If it's any consolation, Ramirez has not appeared on a card with the Angels either, despite being a big part of their bullpen.
Boston's big trading deadline pickup was Reed, who had been having a very good season with the Mets as the team's closer. Reed had notched 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA for the Mets and was in high demand. He had previously been a pretty good closer for the White Sox, picking up 40 saves in 2013. Boston though had Craig Kimbrel, who was having a great season at closer, so Reed was not expected to close for the Red Sox. They gave up a number of pitching prospects, including Gerson Bautista to get Reed. Reed did his job for the Red Sox, pitching in 29 games down the stretch and accumulating a 1-1 record and a 3.33 ERA over 27 innings. He struck out 28 batters and walked nine. He appeared in three games in the postseason against the Astros, but had an ugly 7.71 ERA. After the season he joined the Twins as a free agent, but had a rough season and has been injured in 2019.
Due to injuries, Selsky was actually on the Red Sox Opening Day roster. He had made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2016 and played in 24 games, hitting a couple of homers and batting .314. He had impressed in Spring Training in 2017 and made the roster as a backup. Selsky though played in just eight games with the Red Sox, and had just one hit in nine plate appearances. That hit was a double, for a .111/.111/.222 line. Boston released him and the Reds picked him back up. He played all of 2018 in the minors and apparently is out of baseball. Selsky does appear in a minor league set.
Of the players missing, I think Addison Reed probably qualifies as the most surprising given the fact that he was an important pickup for the team at the trading deadline. Granted, he was not a closer, but he was highly sought-after. It was a bad year to be a Red Sox reliever because both Blaine Boyer and Fernando Abad were important members of the bullpen as well. Rajai Davis also arguably should have received a card. I would probably pick Abad as the player I most wanted to see. He pitched the most innings and had a legitimately good year as a lefty out of the pen. He narrowly beats Reed.