Red Sox must decide whether to stay the course or open the wallet

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom of the Boston Red Sox addresses the media during a press conference during a spring training team workout on February 21, 2021 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom of the Boston Red Sox addresses the media during a press conference during a spring training team workout on February 21, 2021 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Should the Boston Red Sox go all-in on the 2021 season?

The Boston Red Sox management is now associated with the word stingy in a word association game. The fan base has long been spoiled with ownership that was freewheeling regarding spending. Tom Yawkey attempted to buy a World Series on more than one occasion.

The latest ownership has exceeded the luxury tax on more than one occasion. Once they established that they were sitting on a baseball gold mine they invested in both park and in payroll. There are two long lists regarding that approach.

The first is onerous contracts and any Red Sox fan can recite the list of failures from Carl Crawford to Pablo Sandoval. The team simply wrote it off. Ditto with the international market – just think Rusney Castillo. The failures were expensive but not prohibitively expensive. They were absorbed and buying a ticket or a hot dog will give you a clue on who ultimately got the bill.

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The second list is the one that is most important. The list is the end result of cumulative failures and successes. The list is 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018. The Red Sox had no aversion to stabilizing each of those teams either in the off-season or during the season. Now the methodology has changed.

The team is barely under the competitive balance tax threshold with minimal wiggle room. This year the only team to be handed a bill is the Los Angeles Dodgers – slightly over $5 MM. In 2019, the Red Sox went financial bananas and ended up doling out $12.62 MM for a disastrous season. They have been rather adamant about holding the line.

Do you do it?

Red Sox fans are like recovering alcoholics faced with an open bar when they see the opportunistic possibilities for 2021. To paraphrase Daniel Farragut: “Damn the fiscal torpedoes.” This World Series is so close the fans are like sharks in a swimming pool with bloody fish. The team needs reinforcements and the failures are lining up to do business. Got a ponderous contract? Call Chaim Bloom. Got a potential expensive free agent? Call Chaim Bloom.

The problem is Bloom is not accepting those calls. The Red Sox are staying the course. Should they? Do you (again) strip the farm system to make a move? Do you (again) go over the payroll dictates? Do you look at that rotation and say how can it survive? The rotation is ranked 20th. Can you continue to win with a lineup punctuated by the Danny Santana’s of baseball?

There are no guarantees. Boston could wave a fistful of dollars and a truckload of prospects and get a top-of-the-line starter, a solid lead-off hitter, and a bullpen ace. All could join and Boston could just head south in the standings. Or, conversely, it could catapult this team into the World Series.

Staying the course has been productive. They are in first place, competitive, and have some prospect traction. A rebuild that apparently is well ahead of schedule. The Bloom method of bargain hunting, building a farm system, and avoiding long-term commitments. And that payroll will see some changes as the Red Sox incorporate a more miserly approach. Bloom’s methods seem to be working.

That said, when opportunity knocks you take full advantage. This is what they did with the acquisition of Chris Sale. The big price tag in prospect blood and team treasure. This season it could eventually provide more dividends. Do you do it again?

This is where I sit on the fence with that picket firmly up my you know what. When I see a few losses thanks to rubber bats and wooden arms I would do anything to flip that to wooden bats and rubber arms. I’d pay the price as a fan and as ownership. Then they win a few.

A few wins and I back down and I am not alone. I see this on social media and read about it from the various pundits. We all – especially fans – sway in the wind. In the dark recesses of my mind maybe a tanked season – a mirror of 2020 – would have been better. No heavy thinking. Jeter Downs and Jarren Duran would be getting trial by fire. No bizarre trade scenarios.

Next. C.J. Cron would upgrade a glaring weakness. dark

Right now I want to mortgage the ranch. Screw the future since the future is now. Yes – I’ll pay $15 for a Sam Adams if you get Adam Frazier. The third decade with a title. That’s what happens when two games get away in LA. A few wins before the All-Star break and I’ll be back into my stay the course mojo. What would you do?