Don't expect a big splash from the Sox
with Ben Cherington at the helm.
Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Consider this the new “Red Sox Way.”

Big splash free agent signings may be a thing of the past for the Boston Red Sox. Ben Cherington has made it abundantly clear that the Carl Crawford and John Lackey signings won’t happen very often for the Olde Towne Team.

Here are the four reasons why the Red Sox are being passive this offseason in particular:

1) World Series Champions – This goes without saying, but when you’re the champ, other teams have to maneuver their rosters to figure out how to beat you. Cherington doesn’t want to do too much to alter the team’s chemistry, although he has let Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia go while bringing in A.J. Pierzynski, and it’s likely that a few new faces will be seen in Ft. Myers, Fla., next Spring. Along with being the champion comes a sense of settlement. Not that the Sox are settling for one title, but the fan base is typically more forgiving the season after a championship. Thus, Cherington doesn’t need to make a flashy move to draw in the fans.

2) Remember the 2012 offseason – Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster … Not exactly your Grade A deals, but they got the job done. That’s what Cherington is looking for. He doesn’t want a diva, just a player who wants to play ball and is going to fit into the clubhouse culture. Oh, and those players helped the Red Sox win 97 games, an AL East title and, most importantly, the World Series.

3) Bridging the gap – Why would Cherington go acquire talent by purchasing it when he’s been raising it on the farm? Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo, Christian Vazquez and several others are just moments away from breaking into The Show in a big way. We’ve already seen JBJ and know his potential is sky high. The rest are just as talented and can help the Red Sox in many ways. If Cherington lathered up a lengthy deal for some big shot free agent, it would send a clear message to those guys: A) We don’t think you’re ready and B) We think this guy is that much better that we’re gonna pay him a lot for a long time. Not exactly what you want to do to a young group of players.

4) Setting precedent – Cherington, as previously mentioned, doesn’t want to sign big-name players to lucrative contracts just because. In fact, he dealt away some of them (Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford) just to get rid of those types of players. He’s already set precedent last offseason by not making a big splash in the Hot Stove and is building a model of consistency for the Front Office. The model proved to work last year, so it’s not in his nature to do something completely opposite this time around. This, to me, is a true indication that Cherington believes in his vision and is focused on seeing it through.

With all that said, it doesn't mean Boston will never sign a superstar free agent. When the timing is right, it will happen. But let's not forget that the Sox secured a lengthy contract with Dustin Pedroia, which could be considered their "big move." Even still, the Hot Stove is just beginning to heat up, so keep an eye on what Cherington does. Because you just never know.

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Ben Whitehead 12/05/2013 03:00:00 PM Edit
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