What we’ve seen over the past few days with the Red Sox is the fundamental difference between the front offices and the locker rooms playing in real time.
The players want to win now. Their time in the game is short. No less authoritative on this matter is Derek Jeter who offered his point in the finale of the fourth episode of ESPN’s current series, “The Captain.”
“You have one profession, right?” Jeter said. “Your career is only so many years. The ultimate goal is to win. If we don’t win, someone else will win.”
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You would be wise to believe that Xander Bogarts – Like Jeter, wearing the number 2 – thinks something similar. This would explain why it is He appealed to the Boston administration to enhance the roster during the All-Star break. It could also explain why he was ostensibly frustrated in Houston this week when the Red Sox announced the trade of Christian Vazquez to the Astros.
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Bogarts is likely to withdraw from his contract at the end of the season. He’s a two-time champion in Boston and struggled through a miserable 2020 season and felt some sense of renewal after losing two World Championship wins in 2021. His natural tendency — think any player first — adds to a roster that comes too close to another episode.
Common thinking about baseball as an industry varies widely—you could argue that it is frustratingly important. The Nationals traded in Juan Soto’s generational talent and the Orioles sold master pieces despite being in the midst of a qualifying opportunity for the first time in six years. Even more alarming – there were probably upwards of 25 key CEOs around the league who nodded their heads in agreement.
The Red Sox is in constant flux
The Red Sox is usually not the organization you go to to live by rebuilding or retooling. But the team has been in flux for three years under major baseball officer Haim Blum, trying to buy and sell on synchronized tracks with varying levels of success. Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham give Boston a starting and corner player he could have used since spring training ended – better late than never, right?
Jeter spent two decades playing shortstop for the Yankees and capturing five World Series episodes. His story isn’t typical – the average major league tenure is less than 15% of that time. Most players are not fortunate enough to land in a large market with unlimited resources behind them and an ownership group that has a clear desire to compete annually.
State of mind Xander Bogarts?
So, with that in mind, we go back to Bogaerts and his potential mentality – why not just strengthen? Transferring Vazquez before joining the free agency has organizational meaning, but it undoubtedly weakens the 2022 edition of the club. The hoisting crew stays short of an arm or two, particularly in the role of the lever at the back end of a game of bulls. It would be hard to say in good faith that the Red Sox have deployed all of their available resources to achieve the title push over the next couple of months.
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Wasted over 100 games with Travis Shaw, Franchi Cordero, Bobby Dalbeck at first base and Christian Arroyo, Jackie Bradley Jr., on the right field. According to FanGraphs, Boston has posted shocking numbers so far in wins over substitutions on four sore points — 28 of the 30 teams at first base, 24 on the right field, 26 on center, and 29 on the field as a group. Players know talent when they see it and when they enter the field – it’s possible that the Bogaerts weren’t alone among the Red Sox in privately admitting that this team had fatal flaws.
The Red Sox keeps Nathan Eovaldi
WEEI reported that novice Nathan Evaldi’s asking price was “The Moon” – up to five teams were rumored to have been matchmakers for the veteran right-hand man. The appeal is clear given his previous playoff performance. Eovaldi has been a tiger in October during his four seasons with Boston – you’ll feel confident giving him the ball in any pressure situation.
With that in mind, did Boston really want to keep most of the band together for another run? The guesswork here would be no – Bloom did not find what he considered a suitable value for conducting a series of accessory deals. The Astros met the Vazquez price, but clubs like the Dodgers or the Mets didn’t go the extra mile to secure Eovaldi or soccer player JD Martinez.
The Red Sox have funneled their most important decisions into next season – to retain the Bogaerts, to extend Rafael Devers, to prevent Eovaldi and Martinez from testing the market or to let them go away. Boston is left with this current group to navigate a race packed with wild cards and likely to find little margin for error against MLS competitors.
It makes perfect sense that you’ll be sitting in a Fenway Park office for the next 10 years. It may be less if you are not guaranteed to stay in the home club for longer than the next 10 weeks.
On Twitter: @BillKoch25