All thoughts about 2013 being a bridge year for the Red Sox were brushed aside this morning when Red Sox owner John Henry said in an interview that the Red Sox were going to push to win the division next year. Henry said that he was deeply disturbed by what this team has become in the past few years– how they’ve abandoned their ways to essentially become the Yankees. Needless to say, it’s an approach that hasn’t worked out for the Red Sox as they’ve missed the playoffs the past two years and are eleven games under .500 right now at 62-73.
“No, none of us are satisfied with the vetting process and it’s something we have been discussing this year consistently,” he wrote in part in an email that came as a reply to specific questions. “One of (the) biggest issues we’ve had is that Bill James was a great resource for us but fell out of favor over the last few years for reasons I really don’t understand. We’ve gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly.
“He’s the father, so to speak, of baseball analysis and a brilliant iconoclast who looks at things differently from everyone else. But Ben is the right person to make the final decisions for the club.”
To summarize, Henry says that next year and this offseason, Bill James will become a bigger part of the front office. James helped the Red Sox immensely during the “Moneyball” period in the early 2000′s when the Red Sox won the World Series. He’s an incredibly smart baseball man and has introduced MLB to countless advanced statistics.
On one hand, it’s great that the Red Sox are going to try and put together a winning team. However, on the other, I can see how this could be very bad. With the Gonzalez trade last weekend, the Red Sox just got out of a mess induced by freely spending large contracts on older players. If the Red Sox are going to try and contend next season, they may get back into that mess by signing players like Zach Greinke and Josh Hamilton to huge contracts.
Personally, I’d be open to waiting until 2014 for the Red Sox to try and contend. While it’s true that one can’t depend on prospects, 2014 is the year when a number of Red Sox prospects will be ready for the big time– players like Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Workman, and Bryce Brentz should all be in the majors by that time. I think the Red Sox should spend 2013 grooming the young players to try and meld together as a team. Seeing guys like Ryan Lavarnway, Mauro Gomez, Rubby de la Rosa, and Pedro Ciriaco handle themselves in the majors will be fun to watch even if the Red Sox don’t win a ton.