For Red Sox fans used to the off season bombast and fireworks of the past few years get ready for a sharp U turn. This 2012-13 version of Boston’s Hot Stove will be more like a warm campfire.
Boston has made only two significant moves to date; the re-signing of David Ortiz and and the hiring of John Farrell as their new manager. Yes, they have signed Giants catcher David Ross and As outfielder Jonny Gomes as well as replaced much of their coaching staff but haven’t yet solved their starting pitching, first base and other outfield holes. And would it really be a Red Sox off season if shortstop wasn’t a question mark?
If you listen to Sox GM Ben Cherington, who spoke with the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham recently, expect Boston’s moves to have the all flare of a chess match.
“We’re working hard every day to execute the plan that we have, Cherington told Abraham. “I’ve found that the best opportunities in free agency often come later in the offseason…That trade up north got everybody’s attention. But it’s still relatively early… I think most people understand we have a long way to go.”
Now before you go getting your panties all in a bunch about taking long looks at real player value while other teams appear to be running a faster race and eating your lunch remember some of Boston’s signings and how they’ve netted out:
- J.C. Romero – 2007. Romero allowed 24 hits and the 15 walks in only 20 innings. Released on June 19, 2007. GM: Theo Epstein
- Julian Tavares – 2004. Two solid seasons in St. Louis. After being acquired his ERA did the Nike swoop from 2.38 in 2004 to 6.39 in 2007 and his, well, nuttiness became the standard bearer now firmly in the grasp of Alfredo Aceves.Released May 20, 2008. GM: Theo Epstein
- David Wells. One decent year (2005, 15-7) but a chubby 4.45 ERA. Turns out the ERA matched the physique. Wells showed up fat and out shape in 2006, became a clubhouse distraction and was shipped off to San Diego faster than you can say “would you like fries with that?” GM: Theo Epstein.
- Matt Clement. With both Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe gone after the 2004 championship season, Clement was secured to stabilize the staff. He went 10-2 with 3.85 before the All- Star break. In July he was hit in the head by a line drive. He was never the same thereafter. He went 3-3 with a 6.00 ERA to finish the season. 2006 was a blow out. He went 5-5 with a 6.61 ERA before having season ending shoulder surgery. Released in 2007 and hasn’t pitched since. GM: Theo Epstein.
- Edgar Renteria. As Leonard Pinth Garnell would utter on SNL’s “Bad Theater”, “Monumentally ill-advised.” The move was a watershed moment. After the Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in 2004 and received Orlando Cabrera in a three player deal, Boston inexplicably and, as it turns out, stupidly allowed Cabrera to walk after the 2004 championship season. Enter Renteria. Renteria had career low offensive numbers, batting .277 and hitting only 8 homers. His fielding became a joke. Renteria committed 30 errors in 2005. Exit Renteria. GM: Theo Epstein.
- Julio Lugo. Following in what was quickly becoming a rich tradition of Sox shortstop flops, Lugo could neither hit nor field in a Boston uniform..237 with 19 errors in 139 games in 2007. In 2008 he hit .268 and committed 16 errors in 82 games before a knee injury mercifully ended his season. GM: Theo Epstein.
The list goes on: Carl Crawford (Epstein), Adrian Gonzalez (Cherington). If ever there was a case to be made for more measured assessment and sound judgement, this small sampling should put the brakes on your jets.
Cherington told the Globe, “We have a lot of work to do because we lost 93 games but there’s no doubt that with some of the other things you have to do — the manager, the coaching staff, the infrastructure scouting-wise — we’re ahead of where we were last year. We’ve spent a lot more time on player issues at this time as compared to last year. That doesn’t always turn into announcements. You can’t predict when it will happen.”
Ben, I’m in your corner. Here’s to blissful boredom punctuated by diligent player development and the right moves in good time as an organization is rebuilt from the ground up.
The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
- The Waiting, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers