On Nov. 2, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner uttered the words that would be used as a mantra for the offseason: "full throttle."
Werner said the Red Sox would be using the full extent of their power, and their wallets, to make the team better in 2024, because the way the 2023 season ended was unacceptable.
On Jan. 16, after a relatively slow offseason and no big purchases to that point, Werner retracted his statement.
Three days later at Winter Weekend, the Red Sox offseason fan festival, CEO Sam Kennedy declared that the team's 2024 payroll would likely end up being less than the uncompetitive, unacceptable 2023 figure.
Besides being forever known as the day Werner went back on his promises, Jan. 16 was an important date for some Sox fans — the Fenway Park season ticket renewal deadline.
Some fans have theorized the Red Sox front office has pulled the ultimate razz on its paying customers by swiftly and completely shifting its offseason philosophy at a very convenient time.
Did Red Sox openly deceive fans before season ticket renewal deadline?
Before the 2023 season was even over, Boston's front office entered damage control mode. The Sox were set to finish in last place in the American League East for the second consecutive year and the third time since 2019. In September, Chaim Bloom was fired, and fans were relieved a new voice would be entering the front office.
On Oct. 25, Craig Breslow was announced as the new chief baseball officer in Boston. A week later, Werner said "full throttle," and he officially set the standard for the Red Sox 2024 offseason rebuilding plan.
Just before the 2023 holiday break, Boston traded Alex Verdugo, acquired Tyler O'Neill, and signed Lucas Giolito, the club's only free agent signing of consequence all offseason. Just after the break, the Red Sox traded Chris Sale to Atlanta for Vaughn Grissom.
Besides "showing interest" in other available candidates or in making trades, the Red Sox haven't done anything else. It still promised that it was involved in trade discussions and free agent talks. Then, all of a sudden, the plan changed completely.
There's no way to prove that the Red Sox front office planned for the offseason to go the way it has. But after owner John Henry's recent change in his spending philosophy after the trade of Mookie Betts and the failed extension of Xander Bogaerts, some fans wouldn't put it past him to pull such a stunt.
After making promises they didn't keep and completely changing direction on Red Sox fans this offseason, many Bostonians have lost trust in Red Sox ownership.
And if it eventually comes out that lies and deception were spread to secure financial gain for Fenway Sports Group, they may lose the faith of the rest of Red Sox Nation.