Red Sox spring training offers hope for 2021
I’m not going to sit here and blow smoke to you my friends, but I also won’t pull out an umbrella in expectancy of rain. The Red Sox may not have brought in any of the big-name sexy free agents or splashed a ridiculous amount of cash as many desired, but this team is absolutely better than in 2020. Are they going to be back in the Fall Classic, probably not, but there is plenty to be optimistic about with this team, and rightfully so.
Let’s look at some of the problem areas that the Red Sox have run into over the last few seasons since they won it all in 2018. The starting pitching has been unpredictable and downright poor, the bullpen has been unreliable, and the defense has been one of the worst in the league. Chaim Bloom and his team looked at every one of these deficiencies and brought in players to remedy them right away.
Over the course of the winter, I saw the fanbase pretty split on whether or not they wanted the Red Sox to bring in Trevor Bauer. When the offseason started I was in the camp that wouldn’t hate seeing him in Boston but then as things went on I switched sides and realized his ability may not be worth the headache. Instead, Bloom brought in guys like Garrett Richards and Matt Andriese while re-signing Martín Pérez. The three may not light up the marquee but they’re damn good arms that can get the job done this season.
For the bullpen, Boston brought in Japanese powerhouse Hirokazu Sawamura and traded with the Yankees to bring over Adam Ottavino. Andriese is also expected to become a long-reliever once the dust settles on the starting rotation battle. Add in the possibility of Tanner Houck being moved from the rotation to the bullpen to continue his Major League career and the relief staff is pretty stacked compared to previous years.
Next up on the list of issues was the defense and the Red Sox not only took some steps in the offseason but have made it a focus of spring training. Bloom brought in Kiké Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez to be utility players that can be moved around the field. Both have postseason experience, solid bats, and are known for being strong defenders. Hernandez will likely see the lion’s share of time at second while Gonzalez gets added to the outfield corps. Hunter Renfroe was also brought into the squad and bolsters a career .968 Fld%.
This team was never going to go out and write a handful of blank checks despite many members of Red Sox Nation wanting them to do so. Bloom was brought here to get the budget back in line and to beef up the farm system to build toward future success. So far, he’s done exactly what his bosses have asked him to do.
For those that are chirping that they’re not the Boston Rays, well, the Rays were just in the World Series while the Sox finished fourth from the bottom. Bloom’s style of team building is effective and will allow this team to win for more than just a single season.
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This has been the issue with the team since John Henry and the crew have taken over. Spend a boatload of cash, win a title, fall to the bottom of the standings. Wash, rinse, repeat. With Chaim, he’s putting a focus on trading dying contracts and rentals for prospects that can flourish into players that help this team win years from now. I for one would rather have a stretch of success that sees the Red Sox make it to October several seasons in a row rather than win and not sniff the postseason for years.
That’s why I’m optimistic, what Bloom has done this winter has set this team of for longstanding success. Not only has he worked the budget to perfection by bringing in strong and experienced players on the cheap, but he’s also done a solid job of refilling the farm system. We not only have a squad of MLB-ready players ready to prove the league wrong but we also have a handful of prospects who are ready to storm the league and make their names known.
It’s ok to be positive about this season, and honestly, it’s good. The past few seasons have given us nothing but doom and gloom and it’s time we get out of that mindset. Long gone are the days of writing big checks for a player that may or may not deserve it and now are the times of bringing in the right guys for the right price. Winning will return to Fenway Park and it’ll be done through a gameplan that’s in motion as we speak. Don’t be afraid to voice your positivity for this upcoming season, and if someone wants to give you hell over it, that’s their problem.