When the Red Sox hired Craig Breslow as the organization's new Chief Baseball Officer, a wave of optimism flooded over Boston fans.
The second coming of the Fenway Dark Ages seemed to be nearing an end. Along with Tom Werner's promise to go "full throttle" in the 2023-24 offseason, a new CBO lifted some of the despair of three last-place finishes in five years off Sox fan shoulders.
Now, the weight of another uncompetitive season is back on after Breslow uttered some less-than-reassuring comments about Boston's participation in free agency and trades.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe asked Breslow about the front office's commitment to fielding a competitive team. Breslow gave the least desirable answer possible.
"As I've gotten to know the organization better through conversations I've had with ownership, they absolutely are still supportive of assembling a World Series team as quickly as we possibly can," he said to Abraham.
Craig Breslow's recent comments all but guarantee another uncompetitive season for the Red Sox
But Breslow's idea of arriving at the World Series "as fast as [they] possibly can" involves waiting for Boston's top prospects to reach the major league level. That's at least one more bridge year for a team and fanbase that's sick and tired of waiting.
Breslow also claimed the team would be attempting to reach the World Series by acquiring starting pitching — not by spending any of John Henry's $5 billion dollar fortune — but through drafts and player development ... which means years will pass before Boston is competitive again.
The Red Sox don't need to take more time to field a winning team. Henry has the funds to sign any player that could improve the Sox in any way, at any time. Boston has Yoshinobu Yamamoto-caliber money at its disposal but refuses to spend it to make the Red Sox better.
Ownership would rather build more seats at Fenway Park in hopes more fans will show up to view Henry's mediocre product.
The Red Sox front office's newest face has shown Boston fans the truth, whether he meant to or not. Chiam Bloom's defenders were right all along. The CBO doesn't have the final say about how and where money is spent, ownership does.
And the front office put so much pressure on Breslow. Not only does he have to follow an extremely unpopular man in the position of CBO, but Werner threw around the words "full throttle" willy nilly, knowing good and well that Breslow would be the one to answer for the near impossible expectations set for the offseason.
“I guess the message is that we are confident that we’re going to field a competitive team and that we’re going to let Craig do what he does best, which is to build exactly that," Werner said to MassLive, in justification of his comment.
Ownership hasn't afforded Breslow the opportunity to field a competitive team and they denied Bloom the same thing. He was a scapegoat for ownership. Henry and Co. needed someone to blame other than themselves for fans' dissatisfaction with the direction of the team when the only man capable of making the decision to spend continually refuses to do so.
It feels like Bloom was beginning to realize there was a need for ownership to start spending big-market money. After trading Mookie Betts and letting Xander Bogaerts walk, dissatisfaction with the team was more palpable than it had been in years. Signing Rafael Devers was supposed to be the first step in Boston's upswing, but it was one of the least favorable decisions Bloom was allowed to make before his tenure with the Red Sox was cut short just weeks before the 2023 season ended, without a shred of dignity.
Breslow is hurtling towards the same fate at no fault of his own — Red Sox ownership keeps setting these men up to fail. And some Boston fans will continue to take the bait.
Werner wrote a check he couldn't cash and signed Breslow's name on the front of it. If the front office had been honest about needing another year to rebuild, it's possible the Red Sox wouldn't be in this situation. Instead, they continue to believe they're pulling the wool over fans' eyes.