The disentheofication of the Red Sox
If reports are correct, the Boston Red Sox will be making a whopper of a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers today, trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto for a grab bag of prospects (and James Loney). If this happens, today will be the best day for the Red Sox since they last clinched a World Series (2007). Making that statement is enough of an indictment of the way this team has been managed, I suppose. But I won’t leave it there.
Theo Epstein almost destroyed the Red Sox before he fled town for the ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs, hampering them with fat, long-term contracts for underperforming players. I truly thought it would take years before the Sox would be able to right the ship, but it looks as if Ben Cherington might just have made the deal of the decade. That doesn’t mean I am happy to see Adrian Gonzalez go. He could never, of course, live up to his contract. But he is an excellent first baseman, and he is a solid, middle-of-the-order hitter. Still, the Sox need to free up the money for his salary to plug other holes.
Carl Crawford showed signs of becoming the player he once was with Tampa Bay before deciding to get Tommy John surgery earlier this month. He too, however, could never be worth the $20 plus million the Sox owed him for the next five seasons.
As for Beckett, well good riddance.
So now Ben Cherington will have some payroll flexibility to mold this team into his own vision. I hope and expect he’ll not follow in the arrogant footsteps of his friend and mentor, Theo Epstein. That means a return to relying on prospects and making smart free agent signings, not because you CAN dole out tons of money, but because you’re filling a real need with a reliable player. Whether or not he is able to do this remains to be seen. But now at least he has that chance.