Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Epic Trade Remakes Red Sox Roster, Restores Hope

To say that this season hasn't gone the way the Red Sox or their legion of fans had anticipated is an understatement. With a roster full of former All Stars costing $175 million this year alone, the Red Sox woeful 60-66 record and tepid individual performances are monumental disappointments. Burdened by a roster full of entitled underachievers, the Red Sox simply are not a likable club.

The team seems to have just given up and thrown in the towel on an already miserable season.

Going into Friday's contest, the Sox were 6-15 in August. They had lost four straight and 11 of 15. They were 29-37 at Fenway Park this season and had lost nine of their last 11 games there. The once-mighty Red Sox were 16-21 since the All Star break.

Playing sub-.500 baseball has become a way of life for the lackluster Red Sox over the last calendar year.

This club lacks chemistry, heart, desire and will. They are simply an abysmal bunch, given the huge payroll and high expectations.

Boston is on pace to finish with a losing record for the first time since 1997. Considering the high-level talent on the roster and the money committed by ownership, that is simply unacceptable.

However, it seemed that there was nothing the Red Sox could do about their roster until the offseason, at least. Even then, there was a strong chance that they were just stuck with a series of really bad, long-term contracts doled out to disinterested players.

What team in baseball would want Josh Beckett's bad attitude, bad back, dubious shoulder and 90 mph fastball? Who would take the passionless, aimless Carl Crawford and his newly repaired left elbow?

Becket is owed nearly $32 million over the next two seasons and Crawford is owed more than $100 million over the next five. Both players and their contracts seemed virtually unmovable. For guys making so many millions, simply for playing a game, both seemed miserable. Had anyone seen either player smile in the last two years?

The Red Sox appeared stuck.

Then, quite suddenly, along came the Los Angeles Dodgers with an answer to the Red Sox prayers.

Goodbye Beckett. Goodbye Crawford. Goodbye Adrian Gonzalez. And goodbye Nick Punto, a guy known for nothing more than taking up space and destroying his teammates shirts. Thanks for nothing fellas, you're the Dodgers problem now.

Good riddance.

In one fell swoop, GM Ben Cherington has put his stamp on this team and freed up roughly $260 million in payroll. Think about that for a moment; that's more than a quarter-of-a-billion dollars. John Henry must be dancing on a table inside his yacht, drinking champagne straight from a magnum.

The fact that Cherington was able to send three absolutely massive contracts to a single team — and only have to kick in about $10 million in the deal — is stunning. The GM's behind-the-scenes machinations can only be viewed as a coup de tat.

Additionally, the Red Sox will be free of Kevin Youkilis' $12 million salary and Daisuke Matsuzaka's $10 million salary at season's end. At that point, the club will finally be rid of virtually all their bad contracts, save for John Lackey's.

Think the Dodgers could again be fooled into taking another Texas Trouble-Maker? After all, Lackey really seemed to love Southern California.

From the Red Sox perspective, this deal with the Dodgers is nothing more than a salary dump. The prospects (Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan DeJesus and Jerry Sands) are just gravy. One never knows how prospects will pan out. Does anyone remember how good Lars Anderson and Michael Bowden were going to be?

If the two pitchers (Webster and De La Rosa) turn out to be as good as projected, it will only make this salary dump all the better.

Now the Red Sox can go back to focusing on developing homegrown talent. Xander Bogaerts, Bryce Brentz, Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley Jr. (the Killer B's) are all just a couple of seasons away from the Show.

If you are a Red Sox fan, you have to feel a lot better about this team and this organization today than you did 24 hours ago. And for that, we can all feel grateful

Thank you, Ben Cherington. You are not tone deaf after all. You were really listening to the fans and seeing what the rest of us were seeing.

Now we can go back to rooting for this team again. Better days are surely ahead.

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