Found November 09, 2012 on
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago White Sox
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees
The Boston Red Sox have missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons. Their fans have every right to expect that the streak stops there.
Yes, the Red Sox are coming off their worst season in 47 years, a six-month nightmare in which the clubhouse turned toxic under the bungling Bobby Valentine. But the atmosphere will improve with the steady presence of John Farrell, and the roster should be healthier if only because a repeat of the 2012 scourge is inconceivable.
Thanks to the $250 million decamp to Dodger Stadium, the Red Sox have the money to address their weaknesses - and the mandate from New Englanders to do so immediately. The unique aspect of this offseason is that general manager Ben Cherington must spend time convincing players and agents that the Red Sox are really, truly trying to win in 2013 - the sort of thing that has been implicit since long before the Theo Epstein renaissance began.
"It's a fair question - and one we haven't had to answer most offseasons," Cherington said Thursday. "I think you answer it by telling people you've got to rely on the track record here and the commitment from ownership to put a lot of resources into the team.
"This is Boston. We're going to build the team up as quickly as we can. There's not a two-, three-, four-, five-year plan. That's not what this is about."
Cherington saved a staggering amount of capital by sending Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to L.A., and he told me during this week's general managers' meetings that he intends to spend some of it this winter.
By doing so, Cherington will maintain high expectations for the Red Sox - internally and externally. That's appropriate for a team that entered the 2012 season with a payroll near $175 million, second only to the rival Yankees among AL clubs.
The blockbuster trade represents a second chance for the Red Sox to invest intelligently, rather than an excuse to operate conservatively.
"When you make a trade like that, and you give up a core, middle-of-the-lineup player (like Gonzalez), to replace those numbers and the defense that goes with it, it's a very difficult process unless you're going to participate in free agency," agent Scott Boras said Wednesday. "If you go to free agency, you're normally going to find a player or so annually, or in the next year, to do that.
"The great thing about (the Red Sox) is they are one of the goliaths of the game, revenue-wise. It's really not a question of if they can. It's a question of choice. I don't think anyone in baseball thinks the Red Sox don't have the ability to compete in the free-agent market."
The Red Sox are coming off a season in which they lost 93 games and finished last in the American League East. It was every bit as embarrassing as that sounds - maybe even more so - but there's no reason for the humiliation to linger. The feud between Valentine and Kevin Youkilis was pathetic, but both of them are gone. The Red Sox can't allow the bruised egos of 2012 to become fractured psyches in 2013.
So, what's left behind? Well, plenty: The Red Sox scored 734 runs last year - more than three AL playoff teams, including the league champion Tigers. Will Middlebrooks looks like an All-Star third baseman in the making, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit more home runs than Buster Posey or Matt Wieters. It's virtually certain that Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury will be better (and healthier) in 2013 than they were in 2012.
Cherington has said he's looking for upgrades to the starting rotation, corner outfield spots and at first base. Those players are available, and another byproduct of the August blockbuster is that the farm system has thickened. Cherington could flip former Dodgers prospects Rubby De La Rosa and/or Allen Webster as the centerpiece(s) in a package to the Cleveland Indians for Justin Masterson and/or Shin-Soo Choo.
By obtaining a cost-controlled player (or two) via trade, the Red Sox may be able to pick two free agents from the group of Anibal Sanchez, Adam LaRoche and Torii Hunter and still spend less money on aggregate than if they had held on to Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett.
As for fears about building an outfield around prospective free agents Ellsbury and Choo, consider this: Is it so bad to count on production from two highly motivated Boras clients in their contract years?
Of course, the most important fixes will be to a pitching staff that ranked third from the bottom among AL teams in ERA this year. For the moment, at least, the Boston rotation isn't on par with Tampa Bay's - and probably not even Baltimore's. But can anyone argue compellingly that the Yankees' pitching staff, as presently constituted, is any better than what the Red Sox have?
The American League East title (or a wild-card berth, at the very least) is attainable for the Red Sox, if Cherington outmaneuvers Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman to land an impact arm like Sanchez or Hiroki Kuroda.
"Fans in Boston are sort of tired of hearing how good we are in the winter," Cherington acknowledged. "We've just got to be good. ... We've got to get to work and build the thing up."
They can do it. Quickly. There's no such thing as a rebuilding Boston Red Sox team.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Red Sox’ bullpen had a lot of moving parts in 2012, and in an effort to add some stability, general manager Ben Cherington may be looking outside the country.
According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, 32-year-old Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa is drawing interest from the Red Sox. Boston could have some competition in landing the right-hander, though, as reports indicate...
The Red Sox promised to go into the offseason spending, using their newly acquired payroll space to build a contender.
But most people thought that meant filling two holes in the outfield and a spot at first base, not to mention bolstering the pitching staff.
Snagging a third catcher? Well, that’s nice, but it’s hardly shock and awe.
The Red Sox’ reported deal with backup catcher...
The Red Sox could be looking at a former Yankee to turn around their fortunes.
ESPNBoston.com reports the Red Sox had preliminary talks with ex-Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez for the hitting coach vacancy.
A day earlier, Boston skipper John Farrell expressed interest in possibly hiring two hitting coaches. The candidates would be replacing Dave Magadan, who took the same position...
Now that Jason Bay is gone, we can delve into some outfield options for the Mets. Will they make a big push to sign Melky Cabrera or Cody Ross? Will they attempt to re-sign Scott Hairston? Will they pursue a trade for Justin Upton or Shin-Soo Choo?
One outfielder who probably won’t be an option is Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the...
There’s one less option for the Red Sox to fill the role of hitting coach.
Earlier on Thursday, we reported that the Red Sox were eyeing former major league first baseman Tino Martinez to fill out their coaching staff. Well, Martinez has apparently chosen to take his talents to South Beach, agreeing to become the Marlins’ hitting coach, according to The Associated Press.
Juan Nieves will be the Boston Red Sox's fourth pitching coach in three years, and he'll attempt to revive a staff that has gone from being dominant to being a symbol of the team's problems in recent seasons. The team announced that Nieves would be the pitching coach under new manager John Farrell, whose departure from the pitching coach role following the 2010 season...
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
A source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter) that Jason Bay would be very interested in returning to the Red Sox. Earlier today, the Mets reached an agreement with the outfielder to make him...
Ben Cherington has his work cut out for him to put together a competitive team this offseason. The manager is in place and so is most of the coaching staff; it was announced yesterday that Gary Tuck would remain as bullpen coach. The team will interview Rick Schu for the hitting coach position today. Now the focus turns to the players on the field.
Cody Ross, Jacoby Ellsbury...
Like death and taxes, one thing you can always count on is that Bobby Valentine will not stop talking.
On Thursday the former Red Sox skipper headed to Salem State with NESN’s Peter Gammons to participate in an ongoing lecture series at the college. Unsurprisingly, Valentine’s tenure in Boston was a topic of discussion, and despite the unending amount of criticism Valentine received...
The Red Sox announced that Juan Nieves will join John Farrell's coaching staff as the new pitching coach. Nieves has never been a pitching coach in the majors but hid did spend five years as the White Sox bullpen coach. This will be the fourth pitching coach for the Red Sox in the last three years.
The Boston Red Sox weren’t expected to sign a catcher this offseason but reached agreement Saturday on a two-year, $6.2 million contract with David Ross, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Now that they’ve done it, the logic is apparent: The Red Sox can trade their most experienced (and most expensive) catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, possibly to obtain the first...
The Boston Red Sox have signed catcher David Ross to a two-year, $6.2mm deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The deal could also allow the Red Sox to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway as Ross is slated to be more than a backup but not a starter.
Ross who was a backup catcher in Atlanta was thrusted into a larger on the field role as Brian McCann seemed to be injured...
In August the Red Sox traded their incumbent first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez, and have since been left with a gaping hole at the position.
That hole has yet to be filled as free agency begins in earnest, and suffice to say the Red Sox are looking at existing major-league options from outside the organization to fill that role. One of those options may be Adam LaRoche, who spent...
After a week of constant rumors surrounding the Sox, it looks like the team has made their first splash in the free agent pool. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Saturday morning, the Red Sox have agreed to terms on a 2-year, $6.2 million contract with catcher David Ross, pending a physical. Ross confirmed the [...]