February 10, 2020

Finally! Spring Is Here! ... Damn. The Red Sox Are Clueless. ... Sigh. Better Luck In 2021.

Christopher L. Gasper, Boston Globe, February 8, 2020:
The offseason can't end fast enough for your Boston Red Sox.
. . .

Jason Mastrodonato, Boston Herald, February 9, 2020:
What are the Red Sox doing? ... [W]e're now left to wonder if the Sox themselves have any conviction in their decisions. ... [T]he Red Sox don't know what they want.
. . .

Peter Abraham, Boston Globe, February 8, 2020:
The season doesn't start for another 47 days and it already feels like the 2020 Red Sox have lost ...

Mastrodonato expects you to believe that the Boston front office was surprised to learn that Red Sox fans liked Mookie Betts. Seriously. Mastrodonato's contention is that John Henry and Tom Werner had no idea that if they traded the supposedly well-liked Betts, a lot of fans would be upset. (I guess they thought Mookie was perceived as a surly, lazy, selfish, malcontent that should be run out of town as soon as possible.)

And to cover up their shock at this less-than-positive reaction that came totally out of the blue, the front office scrambled and decided to invent some imaginary concerns about a pitcher's medical reports. Mastrodonato says this has happened because of the "public relations circus that has followed this team for the better part of a decade". (Of course, the true circus is the media, which complains about invented (or infinitesimally trivial) issues and spins wacky theories with no basis in reality because of their outdated mentality that fans still hate the Red Sox because they always choke and will win the World Series. (Or, now that they have won a World Series (or two), they should be perfect and any misstep, whether their fault or not, can be pounced on and blown out of proportion.))

Okay, so after trying to deflect attention away from their dumbfounded reaction to learning that Red Sox fans would rather have Betts in a Boston uniform than not, the front office somehow made an even better trade, which (sorry, Jason) lent credence to their supposedly drawn-from-thin-air medical concerns. The trade still went through, Betts is still in a Dodgers uniform (for 2020, at least), and the fans are still upset (though many (like myself) are somewhat content (as much as they can be, because losing Betts still hurts (but dumping Price is frigging great)). Therefore, Mastrodonato's point is . . .

I must shit on the Red Sox and this simplistic, illogical rant is the only way I can figure out how to do it. It requires readers to forget everything they know about how baseball works and it goes against 17 years of public evidence regarding the front office. I hope readers can forget the four (!) World Series championships these guys have presided over. ... What time is it? ... Ack, my deadline for this column is in 10 minutes. ... Dammit, okay, but I gotta slip in some intelligent observations (Betts won't be worth his next contract, one NL exec says the Red Sox did "pretty well", this was "a smart move" because doing otherwise would doom the club financially for many seasons) because I'm not the CHB and don't want to look like a complete moron.

Do you really need another reason to avoid the mainstream Boston sports media?


FenFan said...

It seems some days that the media forgets that baseball is a business and these are the hard choices clubs have to make at the risk of upsetting their fan base.

Betts has been a question mark for the past two seasons because he and his reps have insisted that he would test the free agency market when he becomes eligible. If the team in earnest tried and failed to get him to sign a long-term, big-money contract, then you can't fault them for looking to get as much value in return for him while he was still under their control. In the same breathe, you can't fault Mookie, either; unless he free falls this season on the Left Coast, he is due to get a nice chunk of change akin to the Harper and Trout contracts.

I hate to see Betts somewhere other than Boston this coming season, but unloading Price before he becomes 10/5 eligible to block a trade is a silver lining. Plus, it's not as if this team is suddenly without any talent (JDM, X, Devers, Sale, Benintendi, and EdRo are just a few big-name players on the 2020 roster that come to mind).

allan said...

"The reason the Yankees could sign a great pitcher like Gerrit Cole for $324 million, and the Dodgers can trade for Betts and think they have a chance to sign him long-term, is because in previous seasons they closed their ears to criticism and shaved their payrolls under the luxury tax, which in practice serves as a de facto salary cap."

Why is this so hard to understand? ... I guess because many sportswriters don't bother to explain it to their many readers. And those ignorant readers also listen to sports radio, which can be a Trumpian landscape when it comes to facts.

allan said...

unloading Price before he becomes 10/5 eligible to block a trade is a silver lining

Lining? It's a goddamn silver mine!

Michael said...

The sentiment that this is just billionaire owners nickel-and-diming a fanbase by trading a beloved player and raising ticket prices is disingenuous at best. None of the 30 teams stay above the cap for longer than, what, a couple of years?
It sucks to see Mookie go, but I have a feeling we might have sold high on him.

This is going to sound like blasphemy, or sour grapes or whatever, but he is asking for Mike Trout money with exactly one Mike Trout season under his belt. Take away 2018 and suddenly he is "just" an elite player who relies significantly on defense and baserunning - both of which are going to decline with age.

I'd still love the Sox to sign him back next offseason and if anything this trade improves their chances to do so - I expect them to be in the running but not the highest bidders, as per usual. At the same time they got a solid return - super impressed with Bloom. As it stands, it's one year of Mookie in exchange for a salary dump plus a solid outfielder (as much as I dislike Verdugo's baggage), a high upside prospect and a decent lotto ticket. Not bad at all if you can stomach trading your best player, which is what FOs are supposed to be able to do.

Bottom line, this ownership group gets all the slack in the world from me, for obvious reasons.