In what has been one of the strangest off seasons in baseball history. The Red Sox front office decided to take it up a notch. During a down season a year ago the front office led by owner John Henry, Boston decided to let Dave Dombrowski walk. They then hired former Rays front office employee Chaim Bloom as the new GM. The one goal of the new GM was to get below the luxury tax threshold while still trying to field a winning team.
Those two things are usually counter intuitive. Letting the high-priced talent walk, while also not signing any of it is not a good philosophy to build a consistent winner. Say what you want about Mookie Betts. The main reason he wanted to test free agency was due to the reluctance of the organization to ever try and make him a competitive offer. Hopefully, that move will not haunt the organization for years to come. Players like Betts only come along once in a lifetime.
Now that spring training is right around the corner lets review the missteps the front office has made this offseason. First the team jumped the gun in appears on getting rid of manager Alex Cora. The MLB investigation is ruled to be light and there is no concrete proof that Cora ever did anything. Many believe he was scapegoated by the Astros. I get that the organizations hands were tied with Cora and had to make a move, however some fact gathering and letting the investigation play out should have been in order. Especially since they have yet to hire a manager. Ron Roenicke has been given the interim tag. Couldn’t that have just been done after the investigation concluded?
The handling of the Betts trade was an absolute disaster. Not only did they not get near what he was worth the first time, they then tried to seemingly back out of the deal after the outcry from the fans. Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong are all going to help the organization. However, fans are going to have to wait for Verdugo as he has a stress fracture in his back and Downs and Wong are not yet ready for the show.
The organization claims they knew about Verdugo and that he was not going to be ready for opening day. The team just traded a once in a lifetime talent in Betts for a player who has a broken back and won’t play at the start of the year. As the days go by the Dodgers look smarter and smarter for making that trade. The Red Sox signed Kevin Pillar to help alleviate the problem of Verdugo not being ready.
Photo Credit: Jim Davis/Boston Globe
If the trade handling was not bad enough the fact that fan favorite Brock Holt will no longer be in a Red Sox uniform is the one that stings the most. Holt meant so much to this organization. He was a great player and fan favorite. He was also active around the city and was the Jimmy Fund captain for five straight years. The organization is going miss him and his contributions. In all honesty this move doesn’t make sense. He was not going to demand a high price and the players and coaching staff loved him. Those things are often more important than the money.
Henry has never been one to have the pulse of the fans near and dear to his heart. He has the mentality of its his money and his organization, and he is going to do things his way. That is all fine and good but when you alienate those fans and make them feel less important bad things start to happen. After all these moves and getting below the luxury tax the front office still had the AUDACITY to raise the ticket prices. That is a big ask from an owner and front office that has not given the fans anything to be happy about this year.
In all reality despite the best efforts from the front office the Red Sox should be competitive. They still have one of the better lineups in the American League and a pitching staff led by Chris Sale. The bullpen may still be a problem, but the Red Sox did spend a little bit of money to bolster the bullpen with some proven arms. Henry is going to need to hope this team wins to earn back some goodwill with the fans.