Originally written on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 11/14/14
I’m pretty realistic about the Red Sox chances next season. There’s no reason to believe that they are going to make any kind of World Series run or anything of that nature, but with all the money they freed up with the blockbuster trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and the immortal Nick Punto to the Dodgers, I thought the team would be able to be a relatively big player in the free agent market. It’s not that this is an overly strong free agent class, I just figured that they would be able to target a couple guys and, with the money they are saving with the departure of those huge contracts, be able to sign them. Instead the Red Sox seem to be going a different route. Doling out contracts mid level contracts to mid level talent in a quest to not finish dead last in the American League East. Let’s grade how they are doing so far. David Ross Yes! A 35 year old backup catcher! In all seriousness, from all accounts Ross is very good with a pitching staff. Something that I think Saltalamachia is severely lacking. Was the departure of Jason Varitek, and the ascension of Salty, the complete reason for the staff implosion that occurred last season? Eh, probably not entirely, but I’m willing to bet it played a huge part. What Ross gives the Sox is an established veteran catcher who has been apart of some pretty good staffs down in Atlanta over the past few years. He can hit a little bit and if the Red Sox do end up trading Salty this offseason, then Ross will be a great influence on Ryan Lavarnway’s continued development. Grade: B- Jonny Gomes All I keep hearing is that the Red Sox don’t want to move Jackie Bradley. “He’s too good.” “Bradley’s the future.” “Jackie Bradley has a 15 inch penis that he has to tape to his leg during games like Patrick Ewing.” Well if Jackie Bradley is that good, and the numbers and scouting say he is, then why wouldn’t the Red Sox want him out there this season? It’s already been clear that the team doesn’t expect to make a run. Maybe Bradley just isn’t quite there yet, and that’s fine. He is only 22 after all. So why not see what you have in Ryan Kalish? Nope. Let’s sign perennial dickhole Jonny Gomes to 2 years and 10 million dollars when he’s never before made more than 1.75  in a season. That makes a lot of sense. Were the Red Sox trying to get some of the magic from that Oakland outfield to rub off on them? Just because the magic came from Boston doesn’t mean that it’s going to magically come back to them in the form of Jonny Gomes. It just seemed awful early in the off season to saddle yourself to Jonny Gomes for two years. Grade: C- Mike Napoli Kevin cleared this one up just before the Red Sox signed him. At least they didn’t completely blow their budget, but it still seems like enough time and money for Mike Napoli to open his own restaurant  in the North End and  take home all the leftovers every night at closing time. Grade: C+ Shane Vitctorino His days as the Flyin’ Hawaiian may be close to being grounded, but he’s not there yet. Like Napoli, Shane Victorino is only 31 years old. Unlike Meatball Napoli, Victorino has averaged 145 games per season since 2006. Mike Napoli has only played in 140 games once in his career. Injuries have plagued the Red Sox in recent years, Victorino can bring some stability in the outfield, at the plate and especially on the bases. He’s got a little pop in his bat and just being able to count on someone to play right field everyday and not be JD Drew or some platoon of mediocre is going to be nice. This is not a flashy signing in the least, but it’s far and away the best move the Red Sox have made so far this off season. Grade: B+ There is still a lot to be done, and a good amount of money to do it with. Whether the Red Sox are big spenders this year, next year, or they morph in to some bizarro world version of the Oakland A’s; I just want to be able to stomach them.    
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