Earlier today, I discussed the Giancarlo Stanton trade that sent the slugger to New York from the point of view from the Red Sox. Essentially, I argued that this shouldn’t alter Boston’s plans and they certainly shouldn’t go out and make a quick panic move to keep up. Now, I want to look at things from the fans’ point of view. Obviously as fans we don’t have any real say in what the team does. We’re not in the meetings and Dombrowski probably isn’t following us on Twitter taking notes of our offseason suggestions. We vent and we share our opinions because we care and (hopefully) other people care what we think. In this case, it’s been a lot of venting.
As I said in the linked post above, it is entirely understandable why people are angry. The Yankees lineup is absolutely bananas right now and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for years to come. Who wouldn’t be distraught after seeing that. Hell, it’d be upsetting enough if it were any other American League competitor, but it’s made approximately a billion times worse when it’s the goddamn Yankees. People are mad, and many of them are directing that anger towards the Red Sox. Specifically, they are mad that Boston didn’t prevent this trade to New York and they are mad that the Red Sox haven’t done anything yet this offseason. Anger and dejection are natural, but if you’re one of the people mad at the Red Sox for their slow offseason, just chill out for a few minutes.
First, we’ll look at the whole Stanton thing. It’s always frustrating when the Yankees add a big-time player via trade, and the natural reaction for Red Sox fans is always that they should have blocked it. This has been a dynamic between the two teams for the better part of two decades (probably longer, but I’ve only been watching baseball for about 20 years and anything that happened before 1998 doesn’t count) and both sides expect it to happen every time. This was a unique situation, though, as Stanton had a full no-trade clause and could pick his landing spot. Although reports indicate that Boston never really showed a ton of interest in Stanton, they also indicate that Stanton never showed a ton of interest in Boston. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, but the bottom line is that the slugger gave Miami a list of four teams to which he’d approve a trade, and Boston was not on that list. There’s been no indication that there was a course of action for Dombrowski that would have ended with Boston being on said list.
The other part of the anger towards the Red Sox front office right now is about the fact that Boston has yet to make a move this offseason. This is coming from a place of pure frustration, and it’s a nice reminder that frustration is rarely logical. People are craving a big bat in the middle of Boston’s lineup and apparently aren’t willing to wait for it. It’s hard to even understand what people have expected them to do, as the only two big pieces to move this winter have been Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. Boston made a push for the latter, but like Stanton he did not put them on his list of potential suitors. There’s nothing the Red Sox can do about this.
Now, the Red Sox can start really making moves for their lineup. While Boston probably would love to get things done as quickly as possible, free agent signings and trade markets are two-way streets. The agents running negotiations for players as well as opposing GMs who are selling off their pieces aren’t idiots. They knew that teams would be focusing on Stanton and Ohtani and that there would be plenty of teams left in the dust with neither. Now that we’re at this place, the markets are clearer for players like J.D. Martinez and Jose Abreu. The competition is clear and negotiations can start in earnest. If the Red Sox were to make a move earlier, they would have had to overpay by a fairly large margin to convince the agent/team to act prematurely, and everyone would have been complaining about that overpay.
Right now it’s only December 11 and the Winter Meetings have been going on for less than 24 hours. Patience is important in the baseball offseason and the roster as it appears now doesn’t matter. The point of this post is certainly not to say that the Red Sox front office is beyond criticism. There are many potential permutations of this offseason that will cause me to criticize their decision-making. Instead, it’s simply saying that it’s too early to complain about the team “sitting on their hands” or “falling asleep at the wheel” or any other folksy way of saying they aren’t doing anything. Nobody has done much of anything yet this winter, and there is still plenty of time for moves to be made. Once the Red Sox roster is set for 2018, we can form our opinions on whether or not Dombrowski and company did enough. Until then, we have to find somewhere else to point our frustrations.