Pedro Martinez doesn't think the problem is the front office, the talent, or the pink hats. The problem is instead one of character. Here's the quote, via Boston.com:
"The team has the tools to actually come back by next year. I was on a lot of teams where we had a lot of sore and painful defeats. So this team, all they have to do is fix their character, come back next year and think that everything is possible and start nice and fresh. Hopefully management will make the adjustments they need to make and work on the character a little more and I think that talent is basically there. So they need to just work all together and focus on it. I think that's achievable."
I agree with Pedro that there appear to be character issues, and I recognize that he knows just a touch more about baseball than I do. However, I have to respectfully disagree that "the talent is basically there." I don't think a better-character version of Mike Aviles, or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or James Loney, or virtually any of the starters is going to fix what ails the Red Sox.
Sure, they can give it a better effort. And yes, their continued defeats are likely affecting they way they play in close games, or their focus down the stretch. But does a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront, and Morales sound like a playoff team to you? What about a lineup that includes Pedro Ciriaco, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias, and the guys above?
So, no, I don't think the team is going to be a serious contender next year if they just tell themselves to try to win a little more. They need to get back to the basics of roster construction, mix in some young guys, figure out how to solve the mess at starting pitching, and above all, be patient. If anything, the expectation that this crew can win next year is a dangerous one.