After a horrendous season, in which the Sox suffered 93 losses and ended up in last place, they needed to make a splash to keep their fan base happy. The Red Sox started out by signing their former pitching coach John Farrell. Surprisingly he can actually speak English fluently…I think I still have a lingering headache from Bobby Valentine’s nonsensical banter. After signing a head coach who doesn’t look like the Uncle-who-cannot-be-left –with-your-children, General Manager Benjamin Cherington finally stood up to the big bad Red Sox owners who look like the Revenge of The Nerds squad. He told them enough was enough! Lets stop spending money frivolously and giving out perpetual contracts.
All of you know the Red Sox and their ownership group are not shy when opening up their checkbooks. This winter, the BoSox have been giving out short-term contracts to veterans for a staggering amount of Monopoly® money. I get it. BoSox track record is awful when handing out long-term contracts. I don’t know if we should blame Theo or not but come on man: you gave a banged up J.D. Drew a 5 year contract worth $70 million; a Japanese “Gyro Ball” pitcher who blew out his arm long before becoming a Sox player—a 6 year deal (Upwards of $100 Million Total); a pitcher who was suffering from shoulder injuries (John Lackey)—a 5 year deal; worst of them all, a 7 year deal to the “perfect storm” Carl Crawford. This off-season, there are two superstars the Sox could have signed, but do not blame the Red Sox for turning their backs on signing Grienke or Hamilton to long-term deals.
The Red Sox have stuck to their guns signing veterans to short-term deals: 31 year old Mike Napoli (3 years $39 Million..still pending), 32 year old Shane Victorino (3 years $39 Million), 35 year old Ryan Dempster (2 years $26 Million), 32 year old Jonny Gomes (2 years $10 Million), 35 year old David Ross (2 years $6 Million), 37 year old Koji Uehara (1 year $4.25 Million), and a 30 year old Stephen Drew (1 year $9.5 Million) That’s a total of $134 Million dollars guaranteed to veterans, for a MAX of three years. Josh Hamilton’s contract is worth $125 million!!! Who knows…he might relapse or be found again slaphappy in a bar during the season. The team received a lot of value for the money they spent. Side note: did you notice that most of the current players have beards and a history of gritty, borderline cowboy, athleticism? I smell trend! And they have recently traded for an All-Star closer in Joel Hanrahan who looks like Abe lincoln’s cousin.
The Red Sox already have a great team. Look at the core talent: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks, Jon Lester, Clay Buccholz, and Felix Doubrount. The team added some nice veteran players who will help win ball games, while the star-studded prospects—Boegarts, Bradley Jr., Webster, etc.—mature like fine wine. Overall, I love the deals that are happening. Some of you might think they are overspending for players that might be on the decline. That is NOT the case. I guess we will have to wait and see. The Red Sox will be in the ‘13 playoffs, and yes, you can quote me on that one.
The Red Sox are thinking like champions once again. They saw that handing out epic contracts to players in their prime is not the best way of doing business. You have to develop around a core group of players. Just like the players I have mentioned above. All the players they have signed this offseason are rental players. In 2 to 3 years, the Red Sox will be ready to call up the studs in the minor leagues. They will be ready to play ball and produce with a tremendous upside. And most of all they will be paying these prospects the bare minimum. They will have the money needed to sign free agents as well. Job well done Benjamin. Job well done!
Below are my projections for the new additions
My Grade: A-