2022 Boston Red Sox are built to be competitive and lose

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 20: A general view of the Boston Red Sox playing against the Houston Astros in the third inning 2of Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 20, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 20: A general view of the Boston Red Sox playing against the Houston Astros in the third inning 2of Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 20, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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The Red Sox will be good but not good enough

Red Sox owner John Henry and his fellow oligarchs of MLB have reached an agreement to send the serfs back to the salt mines such as Fenway Park. The fiscal blowback regarding expenditures is the great demon of Luxury Tax has been expanded. Is it still the LT, or has it been rebranded?

The spend-happy fans can now be delirious as the demarcation line is now $230 MM for 2022, and the Red Sox war chest is about $205 MM. Some wriggle room. The penalties kick in if the Red Sox suddenly go all Mets. And that penalty would be about $4 MM if they pushed the fiscal envelope to the $250 MM mark.

This team is not built to win but is built to be competitive. With a playoff structure allowing 12 teams into the fray, Boston could slide in where anything can happen; according to my crystal ball, that will be a quick departure.  They will be good but not good enough.

A big splash may still occur as premium free agents have been picked off rather rapidly, especially pitching. Pitching is the lifeblood of baseball success, and Boston needs a transfusion that is not Rich Hill or Michael Wacha.

The Red Sox lack team speed, present an occasional porous defense and can be remarkably inconsistent on offense. The pitching is pedestrian with plenty of the usual question marks at both rotation and the bullpen. The reality is there is not that much on the baseball landscape to dramatically improve those three categories unless Mike Trout and Juan Soto arrive. Maybe Freddie Freeman will arrive?

The kicker is that you need star power even if you lose. Maybe Rafael Devers passes for star power, but not for me. The one or two players worth seeing, worth waiting for, worth paying for a $100 seat. A Pedro Martinez‘s circus environment start or waiting anxiously for a David Ortiz at-bat even down five runs.

George Steinbrenner or the Donald Trump of baseball knew the power of a star player and made every effort to get them or maintain them. Boston generally has near the highest ticket prices in MLB, and – quite frankly – I’m paying Broadway prices for a community theater production. The excitement level of this team is almost as rewarding as reading the dictionary.

A big-ticket signing generates excitement, and right now, that excitement level for me is a yawn. Of course, winning can undoubtedly mollify the angst over a cupboard lacking. And that brings us to the circle back, and just what is in store for the 2022 Red Sox?

The Red Sox are a good team that occasionally will wander into very good status, but they are in a division with three teams that should reasonably keep Boston nestled into fourth place. Naturally, there are stories to be finished since spring training awaits, and Boston will undoubtedly explore trade and free-agent options. Maybe a rookie will energize other Debbie Downers and me. Arguably the story is not finished, but the opening act lacks punch and the curtain is closing.

Next. Red Sox have no excuse for failing to qualify. dark

The Red Sox will draw since they arguably have the most loyal, vociferous, and knowledgeable fan base in MLB. Gone are the Fellowship of The Miserable days, and the occasional World Series flag is now expected, and that flag may have to wait. But if I wait, I want to see someone that will keep me glued to my seat.