This past weekend, I asked you all what you wanted from the Winter Meetings. Let’s see what you responded with.
What they said - Choose a direction. We could trade high priced players out. We could go after prospects, rebuild, reload, or do nothing at all. Not endless possibilities, but many! My personal choice would be to trade Nate Eovaldi and Jackie Bradley Jr, and plug the rest with cheap holes like Blake Treinen, Taijuan Walker, and Cesar Hernandez. In Bloom we trust.
At the very least, I agree with the assertion that the Red Sox need to pick a direction. My personal pet peeve in sports is always “trying to have your cake and eat it too”. The middle is truly mediocre, and mediocrity is the enemy of success, not failure.
If the Red Sox are not going to try to contend in 2020 (which generally requires buying, something the Red Sox appear resistant to do), then they should probably move as many non 2022 and beyond pieces as they can to reload the farm for the next true run (which could come really soon with the current core, especially if they can bring back Mookie Betts).
This is operating under my own feeling that I do not believe we can truly compete in the AL East as constructed, and think both wild card slots are going to be too high up for us to reasonably acquire. Getting into the playoffs is all it takes to have a chance to win the World Series, but there’s reasonable doubt this team can make it there next year.
If the Red Sox were to sell Eovaldi and Bradley and just accept back the salary relief, the team would be very close to the luxury tax threshold and be able to reset their tax burden without giving up anything of vital concern in future seasons. It would be a bridge year, but it would be a bridge year unlike any we’ve seen in recent history. The trick would be finding any team willing to swallow Eovaldi’s contract (It may be necessary to move a prospect to facilitate the deal). If you can do so, it would be like finding a hundred dollar bill on the side of the road (and then having to pay taxes on it I guess, but whatever, still free money).
Taijuan Walker is probably my favorite type of player that we could realistically acquire while pinching pennies. He’s post-hype enough that he won’t command a huge salary, but has just enough promise that he could actually represent a post-hype breakout and provide value significantly higher than his contract would warrant. And if he fails, oh well, we’re playing with house money anyway.
What they said - Choose a direction! We want clarity! What Chaim Bloom does will be interesting in his first season as the head honcho. Was he hired to imitate the Rays style of high value players at low costs via the draft? Are they intentionally constraining him while he gets the chance to revolutionize the system from the ground up? What’s his MO? What is the plan? I can say what I’d like, but frankly, it would be a relief just to know what they’d actually like.
I’m sensing a theme here. It’s one of direction. Both FanPosters had the same idea: The desire for direction, clarity, and purpose. And I can’t say I blame either one. I also desire these things greatly.
With the Yankees signing Gerrit Cole, and the Angels (potentially among the top competitors for one of those wild card spots that are in high demand and low supply) signing Anthony Rendon, the teams the Sox need to beat are getting better, while the best the Sox can hope for right now is that they simply don’t get worse.
If the Red Sox trade a big contract, such as David Price, it goes a long way to healing the constrictions on the budget for 2021 and beyond (and might open the door to a signing of Mookie Betts), but it also leaves the Red Sox with a fairly big hole in the rotation that they are unlikely to invest in for the 2020 season. If they move a shorter term player they don’t expect to be around after 2020 (like Mookie Betts), it may signal some other troubling things.
No matter what they do, most people seem in agreement that it would be best to have an idea of what the plan is, for better or worse.
My own plan will be more detailed later this week. I don’t feel 300 words is enough to discuss what I’d like to do, and frankly, I haven’t determined which of my two plans I like most.
What I can say is that, like the posters above, I do wish for clarity and direction so I can better determine what lays ahead for the 2020 Red Sox. The mystery of the 2020 Red Sox only makes me more anxious.
See you all on Friday!