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Personally, I think the Red Sox would have traded Gonzo, Beckett and Crawford for a used set of Vin Scully's headphones and been totally fired up. Thankfully, GM Ben Cherington (ironically, a Theo protégé) fought for a much better haul. You can't say enough about this trade from Boston's perspective: In the span of 24 hours, we went from "How the hell are we ever going to be good again?" to "Wait, there's a chance we're going to be good again!" Even better, Boston's front office might put some actual thought into 2013 instead of settling on being Yankees Farther East and just making it rain for the sake of making it rain.
Here's the irony: More often than not, big-market teams make the fatal mistake of thinking, We have to do something to get our fans excited! That's what led the Dodgers down the road they just traveled. That's what led the Red Sox to Crawford, the Knicks to Amar'e Stoudemire, the Redskins to Albert Haynesworth, the Angels to Pujols, the Hawks to Joe Johnson … really, it's an endless list, and when you think of the success/failure rate of these nine-figure splurges, it's amazing they keep happening.
But you know what's more amazing? That these teams haven't realized how smart WE are. In 2012, fans are embarrassingly sophisticated about their favorite teams. We learn about sports constantly, day after day after day, whether it's from all-sports radio stations, the mainstream sports sites, hundreds of hyper-specific sports blogs and team blogs, hundreds of columnists, beat writers and talking heads, all the big TV channels, message boards … for God's sake, we are inundated with information and opinions at this point. Just look at what happened to the NBA's annual July free-agency period, something that's covered these days with the zeal of a political campaign. (You could click on the 25th-best NBA blog and probably read an educated, smartly considered take on the Knicks' decision to allow Jeremy Lin to leave.) For any big-market team to think, We have to do something to get our fans excited! in 2012 is legitimately, categorically insane.
Grantland | Red Sox nation hits the reset button
Simmons nails it in his column on the trade -- it represents a change in philosophy.
The Red Sox really had become just another version of the Yankees, except without as much consistent success. They were throwing around money, signing whoever they felt like signing, and putting together a team that didn't really make sense.
There were plenty of illogical moves made, but the king of them was the Carl Crawford signing. He was so similar to Jacoby Ellsbury, but older and diminishing. With Dustin Pedroia as an ideal no. 2 hitter, there was no clear spot in the lineup for him. It just didn't make sense.
But we had the money (#buyabrick) so we did it.
This trade acknowledges that that philosophy didn't make sense, and I'm excited to see Ben Cherington carry out some semblance of a plan in the offseason.
Of course, it's still possible that ownership trumps him in a panic. Maybe they say "Hey, we got it wrong on those guys, but this Josh Hamilton guy is really good" and force Ben to throw $200 million at the constantly rehabbing outfielder. And if that -- or an obscene deal for the mentally questionable Zack Greinke -- is the case, they really haven't learned anything. But if they make prudent, measured moves to build a cohesive team, we may look at this deal as the time when management turned the corner back toward a sensible approach.
On page 2, Steve Buckley argues against signing David Ortiz.
But looking at it from a slightly different perspective, is there a chance we’ve seen the last of Big Papi? We’ll begin with the fact that he turns 37 in November. Even for a guy limited to DH duties, that’s pretty old. Ortiz certainly has been durable since joining the Sox before the 2003 season, but the injury he suffered to his right Achilles must be looked upon as a red flag.
Yes, the injury is being generously referred to as “freak” because it happened while Ortiz was trotting ’round the bases on a home run by the since-departed Gonzalez. But if that’s all it takes these days for Ortiz to break down, is this someone in whom the Red Sox should be investing their hard-won (thank you, Dodgers!) payroll relief?
Herald | Careful on signing Papi
I have long lobbied for keeping Ortiz for the entirety of his career. As I mentioned, I'm all for a sensible approach...but I also have a soft spot. And I really don't want to see Ortiz playing out the string on a series of contracts with the Twins and the Blue Jays. He's an exception -- keep him around regardless of the price.
ESPNBoston | A sharp Dice-K opens new possibilities | Rapid reaction: Red Sox 5, Royals 1 | Rockies spoil Beckett's debut with Dodgers | Will Sox pursue Hamilton? Cherington hedges | Sox need to redefine strategy | Herald | School of hard Sox | Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a blast from the past | Bridge over Theo waters | Sox sellout streak goes on despite plenty of empty seats | Plagued by Achilles, Ortiz wants to stay | Globe | Beckett takes loss in debut with Dodgers | A reasonable so-long to Josh Beckett | Fresh start | CSNNE | Mattingly welcomes change, challenge in late-season Sox acquisitions | Unfazed Gonzalez goes about business after trade to LA | The other guy: Punto surprised, disappointed by trade | Image: ESPN