A Red Sox gutting of the roster scenario to rebuild for success

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Clouds form over the grandstand before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Clouds form over the grandstand before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox are faced with a dilemma on how to get back to being relevant. There are two possible approaches – a partial or total rebuild with this being the total.

Do you go for a half cup or a full cup with the reorganization of the Boston Red Sox? The half-cup is a partial reconstruction designed to get the express back on the tracks after a surprising and disappointing derailment in 2019. The New York Yankees employed a similar tactic, albeit a bit more drastic, a few years back and barely skipped a beat with back-to-back 100 win seasons.

The full cup is just gutting a significant part of the roster via trades, ignoring pending free agents, and exhibiting a fiscal approach that would make Ebenezer Scrooge before he turned twirl with delight with a newfound parsimonious approach. Everyone is expendable.

The most drastic is the full cup since it is a direct assault on corporate philosophy and ingrained expectations of the customer base otherwise define as the rapacious fans of the local nine or Red Sox Nation. Since my mindset invariably is set in Fellowship of the Miserable mode, I will look at the gutting prospect first and look at the half cup in a few days when my sanity returns.

The free-agent approach is obvious and in either possible scenarios, expect Rick Porcello, Steve Pearce, and Mitch Moreland to be elsewhere. Collectively, the three had a $34 million hit on MLB’s highest payroll. One could certainly add Brock Holt to the list who earned a relatively “light” $3.5 million in 2019.

Two other rather extravagant contracts also have the escape clause firmly inserted. The first is Andrew Cashner who did nothing of value except enjoy direct deposit of $9.5 million. Cashner has an option that would automatically be triggered if he reached the required innings pitched in 2018-19 (340) and that potential $10 million is now vaporized.

The last opt-out is that of one of the more successful free agent signings in Red Sox history, that of J.D. Martinez. The summer has produced a will-he-or-won’t-he built up when a media desperation hits for a story (I plead guilty) and if Martinez walks that means almost $24 million in savings. Let him walk if he so chooses.

The next in line is Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. who both await the baseball gold at the end of the rainbow or the 2020 season since they will be released from fiscal servitude. Trade both. And then comes the really big hits and this is not one-hit wonders as two of these hits at over $30 million a year and one hit is just a mere $17 million.

The first hit is lefty Chris Sale whose arm is as fragile as the Venezuelan economy. If Sale was not a Faberge Egg he would be easily passed on to another myopic team with little fiscal sanity. Reality is the Red Sox are stuck with Sale, but test the waters.

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The second is certainly more moveable and that is David Price. Each season shows another $30+ million dissipate from Dave Dombrowski’s gift to the rotation. If the Red Sox so choose, Price could end up elsewhere if the team also entices the next victim with sweetening the departure with a generous contribution to balancing the Price expenditure.

Lastly is the four-year – now three – to Nathan Eovaldi. Is there someone who would risk an adventure with a lightning rod arm that seems to break down with all the regularity of my cheap lawnmower? This is firmly categorized as “maybe,” but my assumption is Eovaldi would – like Sale- have to prove his arm health is worth the risk.

The remaining are the gold in the hills with Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and anyone I may have inadvertently omitted. All have varying degrees of value with Bogaerts and Devers both capable of getting quality prospects by the bushel.

The Red Sox are not the Royals and that is visible with their extravagant payroll. You simply tear it down and rebuild it with money in the coffers and an enriched farm system vis trades. They have not been reluctant to admit mistakes such as Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo and now Dombrowski. Maybe the next management team will refurbish the roster and farm system?

Next. The top five Red Sox stories of 2019. dark

The team the Red Sox would present would certainly be reminiscent of the glory year of the 1920s and early 1930s when they were habitually sequestered in last place or a few games away from the cellar. But that team lacked money, fans, and a vision. Gut and rebuild!