Oct 10, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington watches the team during a workout in preparation for the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Lets time travel back to the off-season between the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The Red Sox had just endured their worst season since 1965. The saviors we thought we had in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were nothing more than false prophets. Josh Beckett had forgotten how to throw a baseball and was working to take Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Clay Buchholz with him.
Bobby Valentine had been fired (thankfully), Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett dumped in the Nick Punto trade with the Dodgers. John Farrell was the new man (back) in town, and John, Tom and Larry had money bags ready to drop like bombs on the free agent market. And that money was turned into Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara. These acquisitions would amount to $100.7 million in financial commitments, and would account for $53.4 million of their payroll in 2013. We all know how 2013 ended.
Anybody else getting a little deja vu? Enter the off-season between the 2014 and 2015 season. John Farrell is still in town (despite the rumblings that have begun since Joe Maddon became available); after winning it all in 2013 the team (and its fans) endured another 90+ loss season, and once again John, Tom, and Larry find themselves holding stacks of cash after some smart wheeling and dealing mid season along with Ben Cherington’s effective contract structuring work. As you can see above, they possess somewhere in the range of $52 million, not at all far from what they had before 2013… do I smell another World Series run in 2015? We certainly have more punch in our lineup than we did after 2012. With Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, and Mookie Betts (and maybe even Allen Craig?) all expected to do great things next year beside the mainstays Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, not to mention holdovers Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino, this team is loaded with offensive energy. But the pitching on the other hand, is much worse than 2012. Fortunately with a few offensive pieces to spare, and plenty of spending money, this team has the pieces to assemble a strong lineup for next year. Maybe even World Series caliber… but it this team needs a plan. I can only speculate as to Ben Cherington’s, but if I was in his shoes, this would be my plan.