It's that time of the year when some students get moved to another school (work with me here). They get moved for a variety of reasons. Maybe the student isn't doing very well. Maybe the student is a problem child. Maybe the student needs a change of scenery. Maybe the student leaves for a better opportunity at a better school. Maybe the school, itself, is crumbling.
I present to you July's report card. I include -- in parentheses -- the players' grades for previous months. For almost a third of these players, this will be their final report card with the Red Sox. It was a trade deadline day few Red Sox fans will ever soon forget or, hopefully, never see again.
A.J. Pierzynski: D. Pierzynski was released midway through July. Following his release, stories emerged about how bad a clubhouse influence A.J. was. I've heard many who pin the failure of the 2014 Red Sox season entirely on the signing of Pierzynski. It was Cherington's biggest mistake. (April grade: C-, May grade: B-, June grade: C-)
Christian Vazquez: B. First impressions have been very good. Pitchers love pitching to him. If he hits, it'll be a bonus. Think Jackie Bradley, Jr. behind the plate.
Mike Napoli: C+. We still haven't seen one of those torrid Napoli hot streaks. (A-, C-, A)
Dustin Pedroia: B. Pedroia's grades remind me of mine in school-- steady, but never a standout. He hasn't homered since June 19. (B, B, B-)
Xander Bogaerts: C-. Many were clamoring for Bogaerts to be sent down to Pawtucket. The Red Sox stood by him. He is starting to show signs of life. Now that Drew is gone, it is time for Bogaerts to show he is their shortstop of the future-- or maybe Colorado's if they try to include him in a deal for Troy Tulowitzki in the off-season. (B-, A-, C-)
Stephen Drew: F. Cherington admitted that signing Drew did not work out the way he hoped. It is a sign of how bad the Red Sox offense has been that Drew was second on the Red Sox in home runs (4) in July-- trailing only David Ortiz (6). (N/A, N/A, F, F)
Brock Holt: B+. Holt is starting to come back down to earth. It was a great run. (N/A, A, A+)
Jackie Bradley, Jr.: B+. Defense has been great-- better than great. Now he is starting to figure it out at the plate. (B+, B-, C+)
Shane Victorino: C. Good news: He played nine games in July. That's an improvement. Bad news: It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't step on the field at Fenway again this year (or ever). (Incomplete, Incomplete, Incomplete)
Jonny Gomes: D. Must be a reason he has never found a home. He says all the right things, though. (C-, B-, C-)
Daniel Nava: A-. Too little, too late. He hit .344 in July with a .400 on-base percentage. Could've used that in April and May. (N/A, N/A, B, A-)
David Ortiz: B. Defensive over-shifts have taken a toll on Ortiz' batting average. Much more effective when he hits it over the wall-- which he did six times in July. Also drove in 25. (C+, B, B-)
Jon Lester: A. Sub-1.00 ERA in four starts in July. Good luck replacing that. Thanks for the memories, Jon. (A-, A-, A)
John Lackey: B. Enjoy playing for $500,000 next year in St. Louis. (A-, A, B-)
Jake Peavy: C. Move back to the National League is just what the doctor ordered. (A, C-, F)
Clay Buchholz: C. Say hello to your new Red Sox ace? Yikes! (C-, F, D+)
Felix Doubront: F. He is Chcago's problem now. (F, F, F)
Brandon Workman: D. Nobody said it was going to be an easy transition. (N/A, N/A, A-)
Rubby De La Rosa: C-. See Workman. (N/A, N/A, A-)
Junichi Tazawa: C. Similar to last year, showing signs of wearing down late in the season. (A-, A-, A-)
Edward Mujica: C. Five years from now you'll forget he pitched for the Red Sox. Maybe less. (F, C, B)
Andrew Miller: A. Would have loved to have seen him be given a chance to close. May still get that chance, but it may be in Baltimore. (A-, B+, B+)
Craig Breslow: D. Quick-- who pitched in the most games in July for the Red Sox? Answer: Craig Breslow (12). Next question-- why? (F, C, C)
Burke Badenhop: D. He was on a good run. Operative word there is "was." (C, A, A)
Koji Uehara: A-. Why is he still here? (A+, A+, A)
July saw the expulsion of A.J. Pierzynski, Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Stephen Drew, Andrew Miller, John Lackey, and Jon Lester-- am I forgetting any?
August will see the additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Anthony Ranaudo, Joe Kelly and the return of Will Middlebrooks.