Spring training begins in about a month, so it may be a good time to take another look at the state of the Boston Red Sox. I’m sorry to report that it doesn’t look so good.
Yesterday the Red Sox were in talks with the Colorado Rockies on a trade that would send shortstop Marco Scutaro out west. These talks fell apart after the Red Sox realized that if they shipped out Scutaro they wouldn’t have a shortstop. Seriously. Here’s the news item from the BostonHerald.com:
No go on the Marco Scutaro trade to the Rockies. The Denver Post, which first reported it as close, said that the talks fizzled after the Rockies decided they did not want to take on Scutaro’s $6 million salary and the Red Sox realized they did not really have a suitable backup to Scutaro to play shortstop. So it’s a big “never mind” for now, but the talks likely are an indication of how the Red Sox could be looking for ways to clear some salary in order to sign a free agent starter such as Roy Oswalt.
I added the emphasis, because, well, you’d think that would have been obvious from the start. But there’s more to this little item than that “D’oh!” moment.
The Red Sox were considering trading their starting shortstop to free up money to sign a fourth of fifth starter!!!
Does that sound like the Red Sox that we’ve come to know over the past decade? No, it sounds more like the Oakland Athletics or Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course, the Sox have a huge payroll, and they’ve got some great players in Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester. They have very good players in Kevin Youkilis and Clay Buchholz. They have good players in Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves. They have some unknowns, who should be good in Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon. They even have his chickenship, Josh Beckett.
So, no, the team isn’t going to be awful. They’ll compete. It’s just be that they will be competing for runner up.
Okay, I have to acknowledge that anything can happen. The Yankees might implode. Albert Pujols might suck. Yu Darvish might bomb out. The Rays starting rotation may all need Tommy John surgery. Victor Martinez might be out with a wrecked knee — oh, right, he is going to be out with a wrecked knee. Yes, all that might happen. That’s why we are fans and watch/listen/read about the games. But the point is that for the most part, Red Sox prospects for a good season rest on the hopes that the other teams will not play up to their potential. That’s what feels different this off season.
The Red Sox front office is thinking small, and we can only hope that what happened to the Red Sox in 2011 will happen to at least one or two other clubs in 2012.