Believe it or not, Boston is currently the place to be if you are a major league baseball player looking for a new home – at least that’s what I’ll attempt to argue here. After our New York writer’s article yesterday – “Why Would Anyone Want to Join the Red Sox?” – it’s clear that there is plenty of reason to be disenchanted with the Red Sox, as the organization steers its way through the fallout of the team’s September collapse. That said, I think there’s still plenty of reason to jump at the opportunity to join the Red Sox – as bad as things are, how many other teams would you really rather go to?
1) It’s Boston – This may sound dumb, but it’s not. Boston is baseball’s best market – we’ve got the most historic park, a fully committed ownership, and the most passionate fan base in the game. What you do here matters, more than you would ever believe. The stadium is filled, every day. If you play well you’ll be cheered, if you suck it up you’ll be jeered. You’re in the AL East, where the spotlight shines the brightest. The city revolves around this team – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
2) Committed ownership – There’s no questioning the commitment of the Red Sox ownership. They have increasingly opened their pockets to attract top talent, have developed one of the best farm systems in the game, and are committed to putting the best product on the field that they can. They’re all in, no ifs, ands, or buts.
3) Talent – There’s not much to be said here – the Red Sox have crazy talent. Regardless of who comes back or is traded, this team has crucial pieces locked down for a long time. They’ve got two aces, a dominant closer, and an offense that was the best in baseball. Ellsbury is under contract, as is Pedroia, Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. That’s a pretty good group to build around any way you cut it.
4) A fresh slate – You may be a journeyman, or you may be just busting into the league. Regardless, the 2012 Red Sox team will be given a fresh slate. New manager. New general manager. Undoubtedly an influx of new talent and some old baggage shedded (sorry Varitek and Wake). Things will be different, and based on how things ended in 2011, that’s a great thing.
5) Chipped shoulders – The guys that do remain from the 2011 team (and their will be plenty of them) will play next season with a chip on their shoulder. Most of the “problem” guys should land elsewhere. There is no way than anyone involved in this collapse will forget it – you better believe they’ll be playing with some extra fire to avenge what happened. In my eyes, that’s a very dangerous X-factor. You better believe Jonathan Papelbon wants that ball back in his hand if he sticks around – that attitude coupled with talent can be scary.
We’ll see what happens, but let’s be honest – the situation could be far worse.