Originally Posted by Bob Roarman
Tell me when and how Cliff Pollite and Neal Cotts got back to what they were the previous season and then I'd say that team is a playoff team again with or without Rowand and Thomas. Don't know why people seem to forget about them, they had career seasons of career seasons for middle relief which, luckily for the Sox, happened to fall in the same season and then they both promptly fell off a cliff and out of baseball just a few years later.
Thank you! Pitching, or lack thereof, is the main reason the Sox did not get back to the playoffs in 2006. Buehrle fell off in the second half, and as you mentioned, relievers like Politte and Cotts had career years in 2005. There is no guarantee that standing pat would have led to a repeat. After all, Thomas suffered season-ending injuries in 2004 and 2005. There was no guarantee (there's that word again, but it's true) that he would've been healthy in 2006. We only know this in hindsight. But some people love to live in the Land of If Only.