Red Sox could use a special jolt
Google it and the Boston Red Sox of 2019 are certainly one of the top entries, right?
If Monday night’s “thrilling” walk-off win over the Chicago White Sox (quick, name three starters … no chance) proved anything, it is that something just is not right for this $240 million compilation of Red Sox. Boston struggled, from the game’s first pitch and survived yet another purely mediocre Eddie Rodriguez start thanks to Chicago’s latent inability to close.
The Red Sox aren’t quite baseball root canal, but they’re close.
The bullpen doesn’t have a pitcher willing to try and throw a fastball by anyone.
Both Chris Sale and David Price ($400 million worth of lefties) have been nursed through the first half, compiling a 7-9 record in 29 combined starts.
Neither JD Martinez nor Mookie Betts have come close to their MVP-like paces of 2018.
And the power position of first base has yielded a robust .235 average this year.
Yet, somehow, 80 games in entering Tuesday night’s epic battle with the ChiSox, Boston is all but one game out of the playoffs. To digress for one second, I have to bring up that money now means everything in MLB.
But back to the subject at hand here. What do we do with these Red Sox?
Sell off assets to build the future? Add for the present?
I think the answer lies in learning from the recent past here in Boston sports. It’s time that the Red Sox remember Danny Ainge’s mistakes.
On paper, the Boston Celtics, like the Sox, appeared superior to their competition.
We all have been bombarded by the narrative. A team that went to the conference finals added NBA All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward from the injured list. It should have been basketball bliss.
Instead, it was a mess. Ainge did nothing to alter the course of events. He and coach Brad Stevens fiddled and hoped.
If Dave Dombrowsky and Alex Cora do the same, Fenway will be empty come September, this well-paid group of superstars will melt into a Texas Rangers-like abyss.
But this is no fire sale. And it’s no time to overpay for some aging fat-cat, looking for a change in scenery.
The Sox brass needs to tweak the current roster. The mix here isn’t working. It’s time for an old-school type of move, one where both teams sacrifice and both teams look to improve.
I keep thinking about 2004 when Boston dealt away the face of the franchise, Nomar Garciaparra, in a deal that yielded Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera.
The deal sent shockwaves through the clubhouse. The jolt was brutal and it was telling. The team — not numbers and not individual players — mattered most.
These Sox need something similar. I couldn’t tell you who needs to go, but it has to be substantial. The return on the deal is huge, but again we’re are measuring it by the impact on the players still here.
Will baseball matter when the leafs start to turn? Ultimately, it will be the deciding factor.