The date is October 28, 2018. I’m running up and down the stairs of my college apartment, waking up my roommate with Sweet Caroline blasting through the speaker. The Red Sox had just completed their domination of the Dodgers, bringing home a World Series trophy and finishing as one of the winningest teams in Major League Baseball history. Life was good.
One little thing was worrying me, however. The offseason decision-making following a World Series win always tends to include overreactions and overpaying. In particular, after Joe Kelly’s utterly dominant postseason and Nathan Eovaldi’s Superman-like heroics in Game 3, it was clear they would be hot commodities seeking multi-year contracts. While Kelly inked a 3-year, $25 million-dollar deal with the Dodgers, Eovaldi was lured back to Boston on a lucrative 4-year, $68 million contract.
Thus began an offseason of spending. After Eovaldi re-signed in December, Chris Sale was extended for $145 million in March, and Xander Bogaerts was extended for $132 million in April. While this was an attempt to keep the core of a World Series team together, it failed to see the big picture. Although I liked the Bogaerts contract, Eovaldi was still just a year removed from Tommy John surgery. He also had frequent struggles with injuries as well as difficulties getting through a full season throughout his career.
In addition, Chris Sale had become known for breaking down at the end of seasons, and was unable to start a single World Series game in 2018. If the Sox were patient, and had waited till his contact was up at the end of 2019, he would’ve been signed for a significant discount. Not only was 2019 a down year for Sale, it was also his third consecutive year with injury struggles at the end of the season. The Red Sox’ overzealousness clearly cost them a significant amount of money. More than that, however, it cost them the opportunity to pursue more important impending free agents (*Ahem*, Mookie Betts).
Fast forward to present day, and the 2020 offseason has been largely met with disappointment. Mookie and David Price were traded, and while I like Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs, it’s clearly disappointing for me and other Sox fans to see their team virtually wave the white flag before Spring Training even begins. However, Chaim Bloom’s decision-making should be looked at with a full perspective. The 2019 offseason was mostly seen as a success before it became apparent it wasn’t. Perhaps a few years down the road the 2020 offseason will be looked at in the same opposite manner.
To conclude, some of the moves (or lack thereof) this offseason have been attempts to make up for some of the missteps of the previous winter and focus on the totality of the franchise. While disappointing now, hopefully these moves pay off in the long run, and Chaim Bloom is able to build a consistent future contender rather than just a contender for 2020. That’s the goal, at least.