Red Sox ownership changing their tone will further disenfranchise the fans

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16: President & CEO Sam Kennedy of the Boston Red Sox speaks during the 2020 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner hosted by The Sports Museum on January 16, 2020 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16: President & CEO Sam Kennedy of the Boston Red Sox speaks during the 2020 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner hosted by The Sports Museum on January 16, 2020 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Red Sox ownership is doing a great job of upsetting fans

Here we are, just a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training facilities and the Boston Red Sox have done little to nothing to improve this team before Opening Day. Fans were optimistic going into this offseason despite the bottom of the barrel finish to 2020, but that optimism is all but dead. Small moves here and there that have a small probability of working out aren’t what this fanbase is looking for, not at a time like this.

There’s the argument, and it’s one that both Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy and BSI’s Sean Penney have both made, and it’s in relation to writing checks the team can’t cash. Obviously, I’m not being serious as this team can very well cash any damn check it writes, but in the grand scheme of the Competitive Balance Tax, they don’t want to.

Kennedy recently spoke to Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe and he gave some insight into why the Red Sox are being so quiet this winter despite their numerous deficiencies. The team is in a rebuilding phase and it’s coming at a time when Boston sports are in a bit of a decline. Though just two seasons removed from their most recent championship, it feels like decades. Boston’s CEO would speak to the price the team had to pay for that championship and it’s the reason why they’re in this position.

As a logical person, I fully understand the concept of a rebuild and trying to keep the budget low in order to attack the market in the future, but that doesn’t mean the team needs to be pinching pennies. This is one of the richest clubs in the game and they’re acting like a small market team that can barely afford their payroll. I wasn’t expecting them to go out and break the bank for a George Springer or Trevor Bauer, but something more than what they’ve done so far would be nice.

Remember that time the Red Sox traded away their franchise star and then he signed a long-term extension with his new club just so the team could unload a bad contract? Yeah, me too. At the time it was pitched as a way to reset the CBT penalty marker so they could attack the market this winter, but that story has quite played out. We also heard from Kennedy himself as well as others in the organization that Boston wanted to be competitive in 2021, well, not anymore.

"“I think it would be inaccurate to say we are going for it with an all-in approach that perhaps we did prior to the 2018 title,” said Kennedy.“We cherish that title, and all of them, but the way we built that team came at a price, which included importantly a depleted farm system and some depleted draft picks along the way. So we are building back up, and as we do this hopefully the right way, we’ll have a chance to be competitive in the American League East in 2021, but also for the longer term.”"

The team president finally came clean and made it clear that the Sox wouldn’t be spending the cash necessary to get out of the bottom of the American League. He does believe that the small-time moves the team is making can make them better, but we’ve seen how well that plan has worked out. As much as the organization needs to be wary of how they’re spending their money to avoid another financial disaster, they can’t just give up, and that’s what they’re doing.

Former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni shared his sentiment on the current state of the team on a recent edition of WEEI’s “OMF,” and he was spot on. You don’t have to go out and give the most money to the biggest name right now, but you have to do SOMETHING. Constantly being interested in quality players then signing random ones out of nowhere is going to only continue to annoy Red Sox Nation. It’s one thing to rebuild and reconfigure when the team is a mess, but it’s another to go from one extreme to the other.

When Mookie Betts was traded ahead of the 2020 season the fans instantly knew what was going on and began to turn on the ownership. It didn’t matter they this group is responsible for four world championships within the last 17 years, they went one step too far. Now they’re on a proverbial hiring freeze and aren’t willing to spend anything above a drop in the bucket.

Saying that the team isn’t going to go “all-in,” is one thing, but trying to say they’re going to be competitive using this method is just being ridiculous. I’ve been a defender of Chaim Bloom during his short tenure in Boston, and I’m sure he’s been given some directives about spending, but this is not going well. If trading Mookie was the first step toward pushing fans away then finishing fourth from the bottom this past season was the next.

With fans not being allowed into Fenway Park, you’d think ratings for games would be through the roof, but they weren’t. Red Sox Nation knew that the owners were serving a Fyre Fest lunch while trying to call it a gourmet meal and they weren’t buying.

I won’t lie, there were times where I had to force myself to watch games, and if I didn’t cover the team, I would’ve probably skipped plenty. Eventually, fans will be allowed back into the ballpark, but if the product that’s being provided is still such poor quality, I don’t see 35K heading to Fenway.

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You’ll still have fans in the stands but it sure won’t be like during the good times. If the ownership isn’t willing to put the money into improving this team why would anyone want to pay the insane ticket prices to experience it? Things aren’t pretty right now for the Red Sox and it’s hard to see them getting better any time soon if they continue down this path. Could they use it as a “nobody believes in us,” scenario? Sure, but they could’ve done that in 2020 and they sure as hell missed that mark.

I understand the point of the rebuild and the need to curb the spending after the past few seasons. But you can achieve your financial goals while still putting a quality product onto the field, and it seems like right now, Boston would rather cut off their nose to spite their face. A season or two of a miserable team allowing them to get the budget back in order with a reloaded farm system seems to be the goal.

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At least up until this week, they tried to say that they wanted to be competitive and had to course correct from 2019 and 2020, not anymore. The revelation by Kennedy that they won’t be spending to get back to the top of the AL East this winter contradicts the insinuation that they’ll be competitive. You can’t only shop the bargain bins and try to stand eye to eye with the Yankees and Dodgers. This organization has one of the biggest bankrolls in the entire league and it’s time that they remember that. Don’t blow the whole budget, but maybe stop buying everything from the Dollar Store.