Albert Einstein said that insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Einstein didn't know the Boston Red Sox, but this definition is completely appropriate, especially following the inactivity of this week's trading deadline.
Over the last 11 months, dating back to last September, the Red Sox have struggled to gain any sort of momentum, other than the negative kind. Terry Francona
was fired left the team, and Bobby Valentine was brought in. That was the change that was supposed to create new results, and positive momentum. Einstein would have been proud.
In defense of Bobby Valentine (words I never thought I would ever type), he has done a commendable job with this team. Injuries, spoiled stars, and more injuries have made his job really hard. He had a tough time in April and May managing the pitching staff, leaving pitchers in for one batter too many and also trying to find roles for bullpen pitchers. He's fixed both these problems and should be recognized for it.
While Valentine is trying to mold his managerial style to this group of players, the team he was given for a playoff push is not going to meet him in the middle.
The fact that this team did not make a big move, either to trade away Crawford, Beckett, Ellsbury, or a young prospect for a piece that will help build toward the immediate and distant future. (Note: Ellsbury will most likely be gone after next season; they need to get something for him. Scott Boras' clients never return to their team, they take the money and run.)
The biggest issue with this lack of movement is the perpetuation of the status quo. The company line all year has been that they are waiting to get everyone back. In Larry Lucchino's embarrassing letter to the season-ticket holders he said, "The one constant off the field is that we have had a veritable All-Star Team on the disabled list. As we begin the second half, we look forward to the return of the 'varsity,' including Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and the ever-dirty Dustin Pedroia." Now you can add David Ortiz to that list of injured varsity players.
Keeping the status quo with this team a dangerous concept. The club has lost fans, they have not captured anyone's imagination this summer, and they are on the brink of missing the playoffs for the third straight year. They have not won a playoff game since 2009 against the Rays, and were swept in 2010. The Red Sox are mediocre, and they are being allowed to continue on that path because Ben Cherington and the Red Sox brass are refusing to shake things up.
The club has lost fans, they have not captured anyone's imagination this summer, and they are on the brink of missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
The lack of a trade sent a signal to the players on the team. They pretty much said, Hey guys. So I know we're barely over .500, and people are pretty unhappy, but I really think we have a chance. Everything you're doing is really super, if we keep it up I think we can make a run to the playoffs!
That brings me to the final question: Is this team, if they get healthy, good enough to win the World Series? Isn't that the question we should be asking?
Instead, Boston fans have been focused on one thing all season — staying above .500. You know who isn't doing that? New York, Anaheim, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, or even Baltimore (BALTIMORE!!!).
The other scary thing is that the players are also focused on being above .500. Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedrioa have referenced the team's record during interviews. Gonzalez even said it was "awesome" that the team had made it back to .500 in May, like their work was done.
In my mind, this team is not ready to win a World Series. They are not ready to beat the Yankees, Rangers, or Angels. I know that anything can happen in the playoffs, but I don't really trust this team. They can barely win three games in a row. New blood could have changed that.
The decision to stay quiet and only make one minor deal before the deadline might be a last ditch effort to win with this set of players. If things go poorly in the next two months, and they miss the playoffs, the Red Sox will have to look at themselves in the mirror. They brought in a new manager and that didn't fix the problem. The next step is to look at the team. Keeping the same players around after this season and expecting different results will continue to make Red Sox fans feel insane.
Fan Hub Action
Marcy Kelly June 12th
Wow! I must have listened to a completely differnt press conference. Oh, wait- you convinently left off all of the good things they just got…
Nathan Devine June 5th
The dude is nasty. The fastball is REAL heavy at 97-100. Steady improvement every year.
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
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