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This Offseason, The Red Sox Should Target Goofs

Who needs stats when you have vibes?

Another offseason in Boston is under way, meaning that, sprinkled between blizzard forecasts and the ongoing downward spiral of Elon Musk’s tenure as CEO of The Bird App, Red Sox fans will be flooded with deep analytical dives into baseball players whose services are available.

It’s certainly an interesting time to be doom scrolling as a fan of the Sox, considering the crossroads the franchise is at. Young talent from the farm system appears to be either ready to make its mark or just around the corner from joining the big club. But other franchise icons such as Xander Bogaerts could have one foot out the door and the other on a rug adorning all the logos that make up the FSG portfolio.

It’s certainly understandable, then, that Boston followers would want to keep up with all the transaction possibilities prior to Spring Training.

Over the next few months, a number of aspects are in need of addressing by Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and Co. (What’s the rotation gonna look like? Who’s making up the outfield? Who’s getting the ball out of the bullpen when it really counts? What is a horseshoe?) With indications pointing towards the checkbook being cracked wide open this winter, it’s interesting — if not nerve-racking — to think about how those holes are going to be filled.

Plenty of articles and social posts will be making arguments for and against certain players through these lil’ things I like to call “statistics” and “data.” For the uninitiated: these are raw pieces of objectively correct information that can be quantified and compared alongside similar metrics. They’re often used to provide insights into how good baseball players have been in the past and how valuable they can be going forward.

Sure, that’s all well and good. There are plenty of smart baseball minds out there that can outline the importance of a hitter’s launch angle improvements or how a pitcher could have fared better in 2022 had they been pitching in a different environment. Read all of those takes and learn from them.

But I’m here before you to show you another way to build a roster. A method based off ~~~~vibes~~~~ rather than stats. I hate to sound like a stereotypical sports radio caller, but this must be the path forward for our beloved ball bat team.

If the Boston Red Sox want to be successful in 2023 and beyond, their primary offseason goal should be to acquire the services of Certified Goofs.

There’s no real definition of a Certified Goof. You know a Certified Goof when you see one.

In a sport that’s already so goddamn weird, there’s something to be said about steering into the skid of absurdity. We’re talking about a game where men try to hit a round object with another round object… squarely. It’s a sport where a 70% failure rate is not only tolerated, but celebrated. With 26 players working together for over half a calendar year, keeping things loose and fun should be a factor weighed as heavily as ERA and RBI.

It’s a similar idea to watching somebody play and saying to yourself, “Man, they’ve got that dog in ‘em.” There’s no statistical evidence to back that claim up, but true Ball Knowers and Appreciators would appreciate the observation.

Boston needs more guys with that silly goose in ‘em.

I think it should be pretty obvious as to why targeting Certified Goofs would be a winning strategy for the Red Sox this offseason: targeting Certified Goofs has been a winning strategy multiple times for the Red Sox in the past. The proof is there already!

In the four championship years for the Sox since the turn of the millennium, seemingly countless Certified Goofs have called Fenway Park home.

2004 had Millar, Manny, Pedro—I mean the team was literally nicknamed “The Idiots” after all.

2007’s Certified Goofs included the aforementioned left fielder along with Jonathan Papelbon and Coco Crisp.

2013? Ridiculous amount of goofy antics in that clubhouse–don’t even get me started on Mike Napoli.

Even the best team in Red Sox history, an absolute wagon of a squad from start to finish, was full of Certified Goofs back in 2018:

Conversely, some disappointing seasons could potentially be attributed to a lack of Certified Goofs. 2011? Less goofy and more menacing. Chicken and beer-induced collapses are not considered goofy in this man’s eyes. 2020 was just depressing. There might have been one singular goofy moment in the second half of 2022, if we’re being generous.

Bloom is fortunate enough to be working off a solid foundation this winter when it comes to Certified Goofs. Kiké Hernandez feels like a natural to be Captain Goof; the dude loves his shenanigans. A healthy 2023 campaign from him would go a long way towards raising the goofy ceiling of the club. Rafael Devers is a funny guy as well.

But to quote Michael Irvin, “We want more. We need more.”

Joey Gallo, are you funny? I’m sure a lot of fans would love some more Italian flavor on the team, and it only helps on the field that the shift is being banned. More on-base opportunities means more goof opportunities.

On the flip side: I don’t care if Aaron Judge hits 90 home runs in a year and Roger Maris Jr. is vindicated. Judge is not a Certified Goof; let someone else overpay for him. Jacob deGrom might be the best pitcher of this generation, but there’s one thing he is not: goofy. Keep him, Steve.

These are the important qualifications we simply cannot afford to ignore. Anyone can highlight “good baseball metrics” and call it a day. Here in Boston, though, there has to be a clear emphasis on the tradition of goofiness.

Dollar bills alone don’t lead to banners. It’s not about excellent player development and scouting, sound strategies, deep rosters, and a knack for coming up clutch. No, none of that is what counts.

It’s all about the vibes, baby.