Ken Rosenthal (who I usually agree with and enjoy) put up an article yesterday calling the Sox a broken-down, unathletic team.
The article is soundly written, and it calls attention to a debate which we've had on this board most recently:
Does this deal (its latest version) make the Sox better? Better yet, does this move help the Sox short-term AND long-term? Have they moved forward or backward since the last out of 2005?
The answer to this question won't be known for a while, obviously because history needs to play out. What we can do, is evaluate. Another thing that's tough to do until we know where we stand after this rumored trade.
All of us knew going into 2005 that the Red Sox were aging. The signs are everywhere. We knew even in 2004 that we were backed up against the old-fence. And again, all of us know going into 2006 know that Boston won't be a bunch of 22-year-old phenoms and rising stars. Those guys are waiting in Pawtucket for this recent crop of fogies to burn out.
What do you do then? How can you bridge the gap between the minor leagues and their future? Can you sacrifice prospects to bring in fading players? Yes. We've done so already (though Beckett does make the team younger). Can you bargain-shop the trade blocks and pick up spare parts while holding on to your prized prospects? Yes. We've done that too. If anything, the Front Office has shown this off-season that they will NOT sacrifice the future for the now. Sign a few free-agents and hope for the best? That's all you can do, especially when the market is lean and you're talking about pitching. Thank goodness we didn't need starters this offseason.
The trick is finding the balance. Because of our Dante Bichette type riddled past of the not so distant memory, the team is left with a 1-2 year gap between contributers from below, and the solid veterans.
Don't get me wrong, not everyone is an aging liability, but we won't always be able to count on guys like Nixon, Manny, or Schilling. Turnover will happen. I think the team would be weaker going into next year had they not made any changes at all.
Here's the question for you readers.
Even if the Sox aren't so good this year, could you deal with it knowing that a very solid team will take the field in 2007-2010 and beyond?
Do you want Boston to be competitive (playoffs) every year, no matter the cost?