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Famous last-place words: These Red Sox quotes spoke volumes about their season

It was that kind of a season for Rafael Devers and the Red Sox — the kind that makes you wonder what happened.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

New: Chaim Bloom says re-signing Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers is a priority, and other takeaways from Red Sox season wrap-up

Over the course of the 2022 Red Sox season, a lot of things were said by players and the front office. Let’s revisit a few of the bon mots regarding Boston baseball’s fifth last-place finish in 11 years:

“I’m excited to be here. I think this team has a chance to win again … I would love to finish my career here.”

— J.D. Martinez, March 13

“What we should be trying to do is use all our resources and be as great as we can, whatever that means … We have opportunities to boost our outfield in some way … The important thing is to focus on what you’re doing, not to focus on what everybody else is doing and not to focus on what kind of splash you might be able to make … I actually think we were better for what we did.”

— Chaim Bloom, mid-March

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“We’ve put a focus on our bottom line, being competitive, and playing baseball deep into October … Is John Henry invested in the Boston Red Sox? Yes, that is undeniable.”

— Sam Kennedy, March 15

In reality, the Red Sox did not have much of a chance to win this year because Bloom sent them into battle with no right fielder, no first baseman, and a bad bullpen. Meanwhile, Red Sox owners essentially ghosted their own team and were rarely seen unless they were around the park to celebrate David Ortiz.

“The last couple of years have sucked. I’ve run into some pretty unlucky circumstances. Arm trouble, my neck. And then this.”

— Chris Sale, March 16

“Like cold water rushing through your veins when something like that happens … It sucks … Here we go again.”

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— Sale, July 17

Sale’s season was an orthopedic nightmare. He broke a rib throwing a pitch during a workout in February. He suffered a broken pinkie on his pitching hand in his second start of the season when he was struck by an Aaron Hicks line drive in Yankee Stadium. And in August, he broke his right wrist in a bicycle accident after a workout at Boston College.

Sale has won 11 games in four seasons since signing a $145 million contract extension. He has two years remaining on the deal.

“When everyone gets hot at the same time, it’s going to be a beautiful thing to witness.”

— Alex Cora, May 2

“We are where we are [10-18]. Obviously, we’ve had some tough losses late.”

— Bloom, May 7

“Only God knows what’s going on.”

— Reliever Hansel Robles, May 7

From the jump, the 2022 Red Sox showed us they could not compete in the American League East. They were able to beat bad teams, but they failed in almost every series against teams in their own division, going 26-50 vs. the AL East.

They were 11-20 on May 11 before they started a stretch of good baseball that lasted until the competition got better again in late June.

“I’m still doing my research.”

— Jarren Duran, June 26

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Rookie outfielder Duran was hitting .327 and being compared to Fred Lynn when the hot Red Sox rolled into Toronto in late June. Tanner Houck was established as the closer and the Sox were a season-high 11 games over .500.

The unvaccinated Duran and Houck could not make the trip because of Canada’s (since lifted) vax requirements. The Sox lost the series, and 27 of their next 39 games, many of them at the hands of the Jays, Rays, and Yankees.

“I think we’re set to be in the mix, and as we get people back, we’ll be tough.”

— John Henry, in the middle of an 8-19 July

“He’s still learning the position. He hasn’t played too much at first base.”

Cora, July 27, after watching Franchy Cordero make three errors playing first base in a loss to the Guardians

“I don’t want to say it waves the white flag, but that’s a big piece going out.”

— Xander Bogaerts after Christian Vázquez was traded at the deadline in early August

“I understand why people could look at what we did and scratch their heads.”

— Bloom, post-deadline

“I am very comfortable saying Chaim and Alex will be back.”

— Kennedy, Sept. 1

The Red Sox went into free-fall after Bloom’s mixed messages at the trading deadline. Pie-in-the-sky talk of “wild card contention” eroded daily, and it became clear that this was a lost season. September served as a 2023 tryout showcase and a long goodbye for noble fan favorites such as Bogaerts and Dennis Eckersley.

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And yet … there were still head-scratching remarks of justification and delusion.

“This is a friendly reminder that we’re really good.”

— Cora after a 17-4 win over the Orioles Sept. 10

“I feel like we’re honestly playing more relaxed.”

— Martinez, Sept. 29, after the mathematically eliminated Sox had won three straight against the Orioles

“You can be a pretty good team in our division and still finish last. I think that’s what happened this year.”

— Bloom, Sept. 30

Curious. Cora was still reminding us that his team is “really good” when the Sox were in last place. J.D.’s contention that the Sox were “relaxed” after they were eliminated was galling, as was the subsequent weekend in Toronto: 9-0, 10-0, and 6-3 losses. Meanwhile, the young chief baseball officer assured fans that the Sox are still “a pretty good team” even though they finished last.

On Monday, Cora admitted, “It wasn’t a great season … It was a horrible season,” but on the final day, he came back with, “We were like the best worst team in baseball.”

Like being the world’s tallest short person?

The sorry Sox need to stop selling 2022 as some kind of mirage. They were not “really good.” They were not a “pretty good team.” They were not “the best worst team in baseball.”

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Every time it mattered, the 2022 Red Sox were bad. They need to stop the nonsense and own this. It’s the first step in getting better.


Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.