Red Sox fans need to relax about Winter Meetings inactivity
By Sean Penney
The Winter Meetings have come and gone but there is plenty of time for the Boston Red Sox to make moves to upgrade the roster for next season.
Frustration is boiling over in Beantown over the lack of activity from the Boston Red Sox. The backlash spreading across social media shows fans are ready to hit the panic button now that the Winter Meetings are behind us and the team has yet to make a splash.
The New York Yankees have made their presence felt this offseason, landing reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton in a deal with the Miami Marlins. Fans are calling for the head of Dave Dombrowski for failing to respond immediately with a move that will keep the Red Sox ahead of their division rivals.
All Dombrowski did this week was talk, talk, talk, with no action. This has led many fans to believe that the Red Sox plan to punt on the 2018 season and let the Yankees steal their division crown.
To those fans, I’ll take a page out of the book of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers by saying: R-E-L-A-X.
Last I checked, it’s December 15, not April 15. We still have a long way to go before the season starts and Dombrowski will use that time to shape the roster.
We know the Red Sox talked to top target J.D. Martinez at the winter meetings and they have interest in double-dipping into free agency by pairing him with first baseman Eric Hosmer. People are actually upset that Dombrowski walked away from these discussions without a deal firmly in place. Do these “fans” have any semblance of how free agency works?
The Yankees were able to strike quickly because they were dealing with a Marlins team holding a firesale to slash payroll. Free agency runs on an entirely different timeline.
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Martinez and Hosmer are both represented by super-agent Scott Boras, who has a history of holding out until he can get the best deal possible for his clients. Why would anyone believe that either of those targets would jump at the chance to sign as quickly as possible?
Fans clamoring for the Red Sox to hurry up and sign these free agents must realize that it’s not entirely up to them. We know who they want to acquire but it’s not Dombrowski’s fault if those players aren’t ready to sign yet. The players would be foolish to rush into a deal without taking time to speak to other suitors and evaluate the market. Blindly throwing a blank check at them in hopes it will convince Martinez or Hosmer to skip meetings with other teams would be a disastrous mistake.
Dombrowski is playing a chess game where he’s thinking a few moves ahead. He certainly has backup plans in mind and could be looking at lower cost options to fill out the roster but can’t move forward with any of them until he knows how the process pans out for his top targets. Signing any of the top free agent bats could drastically reshape the team’s 2018 budget and the trickle-down effect will dictate what other moves he can make.
Fans blasting the front office for not taking action must not have realized that none of the top free agent hitters the Red Sox are chasing have signed yet. Martinez and Hosmer are still on the market. Jay Bruce, Logan Morrison, Mike Moustakas? Those second-tier bats aren’t likely to sign until the guys at the top set the market.
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Just because the Red Sox haven’t made a move yet doesn’t mean they won’t. Fans are anxious only because the Yankees made a significant upgrade by trading for Stanton. Waiting a few more days or weeks for free agency to play out won’t give the Yankees a head start in the division race. It doesn’t matter what the roster looks like today, only what it looks like when the season begins.