The Red Sox roster is built for the future, but the ‘future’ already here
The writing is on the wall, folks. The Boston Red Sox are not World Series contenders this year, so throw that thought out the window. However, it’s not totally outlandish to think that this team, with the right set of breaks, could be built to win in say, two to three years?
Trading away one of the top superstars in the sport, a generational, home-grown talent in Mookie Betts in exchange for a pair of prospects in Jeter Downs and Connor Wong, along with MLB-ready outfielder Alex Verdugo, (who was nowhere near the level of a Betts) led to fans drawing comparisons of the infamous ‘Curse of the Bambino’ deal back in 1919.
The sky was falling, as they say, but now? Look around. Verdugo seems like he’s more than ready for his ‘sequel’ in Boston, judging by this post on Instagram just a few days ago.
If you look even closer, Downs is hitting .333 with a home run and three RBI over the course of four appearances early this spring.
Zoom out to the outfield next to Verdugo, and you’ll notice a man who’s perhaps the story of the spring so far, Jarren Duran. Clubbing .500 in five total games with two homers and three RBI as well, not to mention he’s played some solid defense.
The emergence of Duran couldn’t have been a huge surprise to the Red Sox, seeing as that could be part of the reason why they traded Andrew Benintendi and opted not to engage too much with Jackie Bradley Jr. this offseason. While it may not be a shocker to them, it sure is to the rest of us, and a welcome one at that.
A left-handed hitting outfielder who’s young, agile, a solid defender, and by the looks of it, can rake. Exactly what both Benintendi and Bradley were to the Red Sox, only Duran is younger and has a much less hefty price tag associated with him.
His swing is a bit unorthodox but when he connects, boy is it fun to watch. As I touched upon in my piece yesterday, it’s the youngsters that make this team so unpredictable, and a bit exciting, frankly.
You know what you’re getting in Bogaerts, Devers, Vazquez, Rodriguez, etc. But how about these other guys? Those ‘other’ guys’ could just be the ones that turn Boston’s future, into the present.
Because all the experts will tell you is that Boston is ‘a couple pieces away’ and the pitching still isn’t good enough. But who’s to say that if some of these players exceed expectations and find themselves contributing to this ballclub halfway through the summer?
This isn’t Ron Roenicke’s team anymore, this is Alex Cora’s team. Remember back to 2018 and the leap that Rafael Devers took that season? The leap Eduardo Rodriguez took? It can be the same type of scenario with either Duran, Bobby Dalbec, Tanner Houck, and potentially even more.
There are a plethora of names Boston could potentially rely on this season, whether it’s being called up for a ‘cup of coffee’ with the team during someone’s IL stint, or because they tore up the minor leagues, the future of the Red Sox may already be here.
Pay close attention to the rest of these games down at Fenway South, because what once were unknown players wearing No. 93 in the seventh inning of a meaningless spring training game without a name on the back of their jersey, could now become household ones and big contributors to your favorite ballclub a lot sooner than you might realize.