Fanpost Friday: Winter Meetings

I'm not often a contributor to these kind of prompts, because in general I'm less interested than some fans in the logistical details of constructing a roster and otherwise re-creating the team between seasons. So I usually don't have much to say on such topics, and therefore my comments are usually best put forth in, well, the comments section, where brevity can be seen as a virtue. So I won't be laying out the moves I think the team should make, or the trades or free agents they should pursue, because my wishlist doesn't really have specifics like that on it. Instead, I will echo the sentiment that another poster made about desiring some clarity about the priorities of this team going forward.

As has been mentioned a lot elsewhere in various articles, the choice of our new GM and statements about the luxury tax seem to be signalling a desire to dramatically alter the course of the franchise. You could choose to describe Dombrowski in a number of ways, but I'm going to say that he's a manager who was generally shrewd about spending his assets, money or prospects, but wasn't in the top tier when it came to building those assets from the ground up. He had some pretty significant successes while here, but the consequences of his management style are a bloated budget and a depleted farm system. I'm not trying to be critical of his style, overall I don't think you could call his tenure here anything but a success, but you can't always fix problems by using the thinking that caused those problems in the first place. Specifically, the Sox are currently in a position where it's not clear that throwing money or selling prospects could fix their issues, so I tend to think the ownership is being prudent in looking for a different hand at the tiller.

The question for me, though, is one of degree. Epstein and Cherington were, by most accounts, better than average at drafting and developing talent, although they may have had a tendency to hoard prospects too much, an unwillingness to sell high on favorites perhaps. The Rays franchise, whatever else you may want to say about it, has excelled at drafting and developing players for quite a few years now, and frequently field very competitive teams despite a relatively meager payroll. So the natural assumption seems to be that the Sox would like to return to that model in some fashion. But how quickly and how thoroughly? One would presume that even with a desire to get under the luxury tax they're still going to spend at least close to it in any given year. Are they constraining Bloom to rock the boat as little as necessary for the next few years while he revamps the franchise from the bottom up through savvy drafting and development? If so, we might see Betts or Price or someone traded, but probably not more than one. Are they giving him carte blanche to blow up as much of the team as is necessary to restock the farm and let the chips fall where they may for the next season or two? Are they in fact encouraging him to blow the team up and follow the somewhat tried and proven tanking method for getting good draft picks and resetting an organization?

The winter meetings might not provide enough information to truly nail down where on that spectrum the franchise is aiming, or even if they could accomplish an actual blow up and restocking with their high-priced contracts if they tried. But it should at least give us some inkling of what their wishlist is.