Truth be told, this should have happened months ago, right after the Boston front office buried an axe so deep in Terry Francona’s back that it would have taken a two to-be-concluded episode of House to figure out how to remove it. The Red Sox have crossed over into something most Boston fans never wanted to see. They’ve turned into a team that overspends on talent and then disappoints miserably, otherwise known as the Mets model. And guess what? We only have ourselves to blame.
That’s right Red Sox Nation, we’re the problem. We sold out for a World Series and got two in one decade, we wanted the Sox to be the alphas in the AL East, and now thanks to Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, and John Henry, the Red Sox — to put it plainly — are victims of our own creation. It’s not the first time that this has happened in sports, but it’s the first time it’s happened in New England, which is precisely why the Red Sox should be ripped apart piece by piece, leaving only a few straggling remnants of their current roster.
It’s easy to blame Larry Lucchino or Theo Epstein for most of the debacle that has become the Red Sox, just like it was simple for Lucchino to blame Francona for the disaster at the end of last season. But it’s not that simple. We’re just as guilty as the guys at the top. We purchased the hats, overpaid for bleacher seats, bought into the hype the team’s front office spoon-fed us through their personal news syndicates, and now we have the 2012 Boston Red Sox — a team that is currently 12-18, and frankly far more interesting with pups like Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, and Felix Doubront taking their lumps as opposed to their big money counterparts.
If Ben Cherington called and asked for my advice (which I’m still waiting for) I would give him this small tidbit: do you know why Baltimore and Tampa whooped up on the Red Sox last season? Because they were tougher. They had guys that just flat-out wanted it more. To the Orioles, sending their division nemesis home with their tail between their legs was the equivalent of Jason Varitek going glove-to-grill with A-Rod in ’04. It was a message that effectively said You’re paid, and we want to be. I would tell Cherington that as much as I love advanced metrics, there are still no statistics that track drive, hunger, pride and the ability to just say “Eff it, I got this.”
I suspect the reason Cherington doesn’t walk into Lucchino and Henry’s offices and start playing operation with this team is the same reason Theo kept throwing good money after bad: he was afraid the powers that be would scoff at the idea of the Sox having to admit to “rebuilding.” Currently the Red Sox have $41.7 million committed to salary for players on the Disabled List. By comparison, the total payroll of the Oakland A’s, whose record is 16-15, caps out at $49.1 million. Just let those two numbers soak in for a moment. The Red Sox have more money committed to three players (Dice K, Carl Crawford, and Kevin Youkilis) than the Oakland A’s do for their entire roster. Therefore, aren’t the Red Sox somewhat rebuilding by default?
I know it sounds drastic and over the top, but so is having the fourth highest payroll in baseball, while at the same time having the fourth worst record in baseball.
So why not blow it up? The Dodgers could be legitimate contenders in the NL West this season, have new ownership, and are in need of another front line pitcher and first baseman. If Boston has to take 50 cents on the dollar to move Youkilis and perhaps Josh Beckett out west, how terrible would the implications really be? Ted Lilly, his 3.26 FIP, and roughly $22 million left owed to him would welcome in Boston. If he waives his no-trade clause, John Henry can give him a ride on his Yacht, and get you new Beats headphones. Prospects Josh Lindblom and Chris Reed, welcome to Boston as well.
Do you think it’s any coincidence that nearly all of the big name free agents of the past several years, from Mark Teixeira, A-Rod, Jason Bay, John Lackey, Jayson Werth, and Carl Crawford have failed to live up to their massive paydays. In the movie Moneyball, John Henry and Boston were made out to look like pioneers embracing the new age of baseball, and for a while they did. Now they’re trapped in the Frankenstein monster that they’ve created, and the only way out is to essentially go all Portland Trail Blazers at the deadline.
The Sox front office hasn’t figured it out, and they probably can’t. Yes, Red Sox fans have been spoiled by winning over the last seven years. Yes, losing to the Yankees is an impossible and insufferable experience. Yet do Henry and crew really think it’s worse than having one of the most lucrative rosters in baseball only to be the caboose of the AL East?
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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