The Boston Red Sox No Longer Appear To Be A Premium Free Agent Destination
Before the 1993 season, the Boston Red Sox signed three different free agents. They signed Scott Fletcher to help with the infield, a new DH in Andre Dawson and closer Jeff Russell. Each player was over 30 and Dawson was 38 with knees so bad, he'd already had seven knee operations BEFORE coming to the Red Sox. Meanwhile that very same off-season, the Braves signed Greg Maddux and the Giants landed Barry Bonds.
The 1992 Red Sox were coming off a last place finish and no elite player wanted to go there. Thirty years later, the Red Sox are in the same exact predicament. You are seeing major free agents Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Trea Turner already off the board. Meanwhile, the Red Sox can't re-sign a long-term infielder who has been a great hitter for them in Xander Bogaerts. Guess what? Thirty years ago, the Red Sox couldn't re-sign a long-term infielder who was a great hitter for them: Wade Boggs. All he did was go to the Yankees and win a title there.
John Tomase is the clown reporter who you can thank for Spygate but he makes a fair point here:
For good players to come to Boston, they will have to overpay to get them here or resort to signing medium talent guys who maybe are a little older or just aren't great. Theo Epstein was great at this when he was able to get David Ortiz, Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar. But keep in mind, that 2003 team also had superstars like Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra. The current Red Sox have Rafael Devers and constantly hurt Chris Sale. I love Devers but he's the only thing close to a championship pillar on that roster.
These Red Sox blogs have been pretty negative but I don't know if I've seen a big market team act so bizarrely since Fred Wilpon or Frank McCourt owned baseball teams. But you could explain that idiocy. Wilpon was a dope and was left broke by Bernie Madoff. McCourt was a walking disaster who had no business owning anything beyond a parking lot. I'm not intelligent enough to know what the fuck the Red Sox and John Henry are doing.
They aren't cheap. They were over the luxury tax last year and I'm sure they will eventually sign some impact players this winter. And yes, I know they signed Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin already. I don't consider either of them impact guys even if Martin is paid like one. Maybe Chris Martin is the best example and the scariest. That's exactly who the early 90's Red Sox would have signed. They were trying but the bigger guys wanted to win. They didn't want to come to a cold city with an old ballpark if the team isn't ultra-competitive.
The 1993 Red Sox weren't good. They went 80-82. They were bad in 1994 too. But by then, they had stopped trading prospects long enough to let players like Mo Vaughn, John Valentin and Aaron Sele to get better and by 1995, they were back in the playoffs again. Free agency can help good teams become great. But to turn a bad team around takes more than that. It takes a strong organization and I can't think of too many that are stuck in neutral more than the Boston Red Sox.