Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

The Red Sox and the Offseason

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“The key for the Sox is to entertain during the season, not the Hot Stove season.

To do both, it wouldn’t hurt if the Sox had some logs in the fire.

It’s been brr . . . boring this winter.”

That is an excerpt from Christopher Gasper’s column that ran in the Boston Globe on Friday. Often times, I find Gasper to be insightful, smart, and thoughtful. I enjoy listening to him on 98.5 The Sports Hub and reading his pieces in the paper. But on Friday, he couldn’t have been more off base.

In all fairness to Gasper, I understand segments of his argument. The Red Sox hit it big last year and won a World Series, and they shouldn’t sit back in the offseason, leaning on their new-found goodwill that they accrued over seven months of playing excellent baseball. I get that. I’m confident that Ben Cherington does too. The 2013 Executive of the Year has methodically augmented his bullpen by adding Burke Badenhop and Edward Mujica. The former is adept at inducing ground balls, while the latter is a legitimate strike-throwing machine who resembles a JV version of Koji Uehara. A.J. Pierzynski will serve as a stopgap while Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart cook a bit longer. Cherington shrewdly didn’t overextend to retain Jacoby Ellsbury who received a significant overpay from the Yankees. He inked Mike Napoli to a two-year deal worth $32MM, a contract that beautifully represents what the Red Sox philosophy is when it comes to free agency–allocate a higher number dollars to shorter term deals. Flexibility rules all.

For some scribes, like Gasper, and many fans, this is simply not exciting. I don’t get it. I honestly don’t. Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field doesn’t get you fired up because he didn’t look like a world beater in his first 95 major league at-bats? That’s how we’re going to judge our young, promising talent? You should be thrilled, Gasper. The Red Sox are World Series champions, and they didn’t have to supplement their roster by investing in high priced outfielders in their 30’s like Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, or Carlos Beltran. Jhonny Peralta on a four-year, $53MM deal because you have a gaping hole on the left side? Nope. Not necessary. Your farm system has produced quite a fruitful harvest.

There is a very good chance that the Red Sox open the 2014 season in Baltimore with inexperience on the left side of the infield and in center field. Will Middlebrooks has a great deal to prove, but he is adequate defensively at third base and possesses a tremendous amount of power. Bradley will be a slight defensive upgrade in center. He will get on-base enough to hold his own at the dish. It is likely that Xander Bogaerts will take his lumps defensively throughout the course of his first full major league season, but he is just so damn talented.

Writers and fans should not be frustrated or bored with the Red Sox lack of activity this offseason. Instead, we should celebrate the success of the organization that has manifested itself in a club that can infuse young talent to an already strong core of players.

That is not brr…boring. That is exciting.

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7 thoughts on “The Red Sox and the Offseason

  1. Soxfan5 on said:

    I think the young kids are great. They all deserve their shot. However, I think where people get worried is when you truly look back at last year and realize alot of luck went into that outcome. We stayed relatively healthy, our bullpen could have fell apart(which Ben addressed), the BABIP was higher than norm for most of our lineup.

    So i think people see us relying to heavily on the young guys. I think we should only have 1 of Carp or Nava. Trade 1 with a pitcher to land a decent LHB for LF.

    • First, thank you very much for reading. I think a lot of what you said is true. If the Red Sox traded Carp or Nava tomorrow and received a fair return, I would understand. At the same time, they’re both controllable talented players that I’m okay hanging on to, too.

      There is some inherent risk in going with three young players like WMB, JBJ, and XB, but the Red Sox have a ton of depth and flexibility. If there is an obvious deficiency come May, June, July, they have every asset possible to address it.

  2. “I think where people get worried is when you truly look back at last year and realize alot of luck went into that outcome. ”

    Luck goes into every winning or losing season. That’s the one area that affects every team every year, and there’s no way to predict it. In other words, yeah, luck played a factor. No shit. It will this year too. You put the best team you can on the field and hope for the good.

  3. “I think where people get worried is when you truly look back at last year and realize alot of luck went into that outcome. ”

    No shit. Luck goes into every season, good or bad. Every. Season. You hope for good luck, but you can’t control it, and basing any moves on the previous season’s luck is a fool’s game.

  4. Pingback: Daily Red Sox Links: Will Middlebrooks, Stephen Drew, David Ortiz - My Website / Blog

  5. neil fitzgibbons on said:

    In sales, “getting lucky” means showing up again and again, game face on, relentlessly, until one day you are “lucky” to be there when needed. Kind of like batting in many ways. Wow! World champions. Again. I’ll bet that really irritates the Yankee fans. Which is one of the major goals, yes? Well, down here in Atlanta, we would love to be in the position of dealing with the Red Sox’ winter problems. Keep it up Dan!

    • Thank you for commenting, Neil. Luck goes into every successful season for sure.

      2013 was quite a nice surprise. I didn’t take it for granted.

      I hope things are going well in Atlanta. Let’s chat soon.

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