Boston Red Sox: Fixing the team in four easy steps
By Drew Athans
Step 4: Rebuilding the Farm System
Rebuilding the depleted farm system is an absolute must. At the start of the 2019 season, the Red Sox farm system was ranked 30th out of 30 teams and by the end of the season (after the draft), it was ranked…30th out of 30 teams.
During his time with the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski did what he’s always done throughout his career and traded the team’s top prospects for major league talent in order to win immediately. This approach has worked for him as he won a World Series with the Miami Marlins, two American League pennants with the Detroit Tigers, and a World Series with the Red Sox.
However, what he’s left in his wake at all three stops is a decimated farm system and a barren talent pipeline to the major leagues. The Red Sox situation is fairly dismal, with their top prospects barely cracking the top seventy of MLB’s top one hundred prospects. With the team being over the luxury tax threshold over the last several years and thus losing draft slots every year, they haven’t been picking as high as they should be.
If we still pretend that my hypothetical Mookie deal from above has happened, this looks to be the case for another two or three seasons until some big money comes off the payroll.
What do we do to fix this? The best course of action (after dumping the three pitchers I hypothetically dumped above which instantly got us under the tax which reset the penalties) would be to do much the same as what Bloom has been doing since he came aboard.
Small low-risk/low-reward deals for prospects to replenish the minor leagues and hopefully hit on a few prospects is crucial just to stock the farm with some talent. If they can offload some of their current lower-level major league talents in trades to bring back multiple prospects in return, that would kill two birds with one stone in shedding money while stocking the minors.
Of course, the Red Sox need to continue to scout and draft smartly while developing talent at all levels as these players are either the future in Boston or somewhere else (and can bring back major league talent in return).
This is not an easy fix nor is it a quick one…rebuilding the minor league talent pool will take several years, but it goes hand in hand with dumping payroll and resetting the tax penalties, so as long as these approaches are working in synergy, things should (hopefully) turn out fine.