When Ben Cherington filled the void at General Manager for the Boston Red Sox last winter, he knew he was stepping into Theo Epstein’s shadow. Every move he made would be compared to what Theo would have done and win or lose, it was Theo’s name that would be included in the same sentence.
Now Ben has put his own stamp on the Red Sox club after the trade that shocked the baseball world on Friday, and it should now be called Ben’s team. He did something that Theo never had the fortitude to do; gut the roster and blow it up when things weren’t working. Cudos to you Ben Cherington for doing the right thing.
Theo left Boston for the windy city of Chicago and he also left behind a trail of destruction. Multiple contracts that appeared to have handcuffed the Red Sox ability to improve their team via the free agent market. Even trading for a top level talent that was making good money by baseball standards was proving difficult given the total amount of payroll that was already committed. Not only committed for this year but for many years to come.
Of course winning cures everything and had the Red Sox not collapsed last September or played like substandard school boys this year, the roster might still be the same as when Theo left. But the wins failed to come at the level that was expected and now Red Sox fans are excited about this new opportunity that lies ahead in the form of a financial second chance.
In life and in baseball there aren’t many times when you are given a second chance, but for Ben Cherington’s team that is exactly what this is; a second chance. Gone are the burdening contracts of Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. Millions and millions of dollars just dished away, freed up if you will so that Ben can go out and build a new look to his team after this dismal season is complete. Ben wanted to mold a team to meet his expectations, well now he’s been given that chance. He can build his team.
It will be tempting to go after players like Josh Hamilton and Zach Greinke, but that would be jumping right back into the type of contract that Ben just got rid of. He wants character players, ones that bring a good vibe to the clubhouse and put the team on the front of the jersey first, not the name on the back (road grays).
Yes, he’s been given that all elusive second chance to rebuild this historic club and bring them back to greatness. It couldn’t have been easy pulling the trigger on the mega blockbuster deal, knowing you’re giving up a pure hitter like Adrian Gonzalez. But it was for the greater good of this team and for this fan base.
It may be too soon to judge this trade given the prospects coming to Boston are a year or two away from being major league ready. Of course if the Sox go on to win a World Series during Ben’s tenure then this trade will again be dug up and re-examined and likely labelled as the best trade in Sox history. And it will have Ben Cherington’s name beside it.
Ben just performed a bold move to say the least, so does that make him a hero? Did Ben Cherington just go from a zero to a hero given the move he’s made? Take part in our latest poll and tell us what you think. How would you grade Ben’s performance of the latest trade?