Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Show me the money!

In 2012, the Red Sox famously shipped Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford off to Los Angeles, shedding more than $250 million in future salary obligations in the process.

While the Sox held on to the big salaries of fan favorites such as David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, they didn't take on any new big salaries; instead, filled the gaps with a ragtag group of journeymen.  And as a result, absolutely nobody expected them to contend.  (Just as an example, when over 40 "experts" at ESPN were polled before the 2013 season, only two predicted that the Sox would even make the playoffs, in each case as a wildcard.)

But contend the Sox did, and suddenly team owners and management looked like the smartest guys in the room.  They could win without spending money!

And indeed, that seems to have been the mantra for 2014.  (Ellsbury, who needs him?)  Thus, whenever there has been a hole to fill, all the Sox have done is called up one minor leaguer after another.  It doesn't even matter if they play the position that needs filling.  (Is the outfield still not producing?  Try Mookie Betts!)

Already, the Sox are one of only four defending World Series champions ever, and the first since 1998 to have three or more rookies start 40 or more games in a season.  And we're not even to the midway point yet!  By the end of the season, Betts and perhaps some others will be added to the list as well.

It's no wonder the Red Sox offense is foundering, despite the obvious passion of Pedroia and the other team leaders.  But in the meantime, what's been overlooked is what an impressive display of pitching the Sox arms have been putting on.  So, here's a nice stat: between May 28 and tonight, the Sox have held their opponents to three runs or fewer in every home game, the longest such streak in team history. But what do they have to show for it?  The Sox are either losing games by a single run (18 so far, the most in the AL), or they are having to send Uehara out in the 9th yet again.  And Uehara is starting to fall apart under the workload, even if Farrell won't admit it.

What is the solution?  Offense.  For starters, put someone in the outfield who can hit, finally.  Find a real replacement for Ellsbury, someone who is proven at the big league level.  In other words, John Henry, show me the money.


  1. Excellent points. What's so frustrating about this team is that with one or two better players/hitters (catcher, any outfield position) they would be light-years ahead of where they are. But instead we're in the position of getting swept by the Cubs!

    As for Koji, it sounds like he recognizes he's been overworked:

  2. Yup. Very often, a single player can't solve a team's problems. But given the number of one-run games the Sox have lost, and the number of men the Sox have left on base, one more player could have a huge impact.

    While Koji realizes he's overworked, Farrell's opinion is, "Can't say that he's been overused."