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To Spend or Save? Are the Red Sox Better Off?

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

When the infamous Megadeal took place in August, a new realm of possibilities opened up for the Red Sox going forward. With almost all significant contracts either expiring or dumped onto the Dodgers, Boston essentially had $105 MM to burn…or use responsibly, because that would be cool too. The Red Sox were no longer crippled by mammoth long term deals, there were no clubhouse malcontents for miles and miles, and the future looked bright. The possibilities for the Red Sox were endless.

Months later, Red Sox fans are looking at a 4th place team in a best case scenario.  The 2013 payroll is expected to be around $176 MM, essentially the same as last year.  Despite promises of fiscal responsibility, Boston is spending just as much as in 2012 and 2011, albeit with a somehow even less talented roster. It begs the question: Has the roster overhaul made the Red Sox better off?

The Case for Being Better Off

  • The pre-megadeal team was never going to contend and was more dislikable than the racist, redneck, one-handed guy on The Walking Dead.
  • Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino, and company seem like decent human beings.
  • Newly acquired long-term flexibility allowed more wiggle room for overpaying on aging platoon players.
  • David “Savvy” Ross. Anytime a backup catcher signing is considered “savvy” it must be good. Not pathetic.
  • Stephen Drew’s choice of wearing his brother’s No. 7 allows Red Sox fans to reuse their forgotten JD shirts. They can now use those savings towards buying Koji Uehara tees.
  • John Lackey may still stink, but at least he won’t have any friends on the team anymore.
  • Toronto extended RA Dickey for about the same amount as Boston signed Ryan Dempster. Surely that means Dempster is just as good.

 The Case for Being Worse Off

  • Boston’s offense was 8th in Runs, 9th in total bases, and 10th in RBIs. Boston’s pitching was 27th in ERA, 20th in Ks, and 24th in Opponents’ Batting Average. With that in mind, it definitely makes sense to spend a majority of available payroll on hitting.(AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Christopher Evan
  • The last time the Red Sox won a World Series, Julio Lugo was the starting shortstop. Julio Lugo is not the current starting shortstop.
  • Despite the claims that overpaying aging veterans is clearly inferior to developing homegrown talent, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnaway, and Ryan Kalish are nowhere near the starting lineup.
  • The Red Sox no longer have Ivan Dejesus and Jerry Sands. The Dodgers, meanwhile, still have all four players they acquired from the megadeal. By that logic, the Red Sox were the losers of that trade.
  • The Red Sox have enjoyed gold glove caliber first base since 2006 thanks to Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez. They totally won’t have problems readjusting to a catcher turned first baseman (assuming the apparently-injured Mike Napoli is signed to a three year contract).
  • Joel Hanrahan played for the Pirates last season. The only good player on the Pirates is Andrew McCutchen. Joel Hanrahan is not Andrew McCutchen, therefore, Joel Hanrahan is not a good player.
  • Unlike the previous manager, John Farrell’s name can not be used as a pun about a holiday.  Newspapers, websites, and blogs will have a much more difficult name coming up with snarky headlines when they all inevitably turn on Boston’s newest skipper.

So?

While both sides have valid arguments, both ignore the fact that the rest of the American League become considerably stronger. The Blue Jays might actually be competitive for more than a month, the Angels dropped another seven figure contract on Josh Hamilton, and never count out the Astros. Actually always count out the Astros. Nevertheless, the race for the second wildcard should be the competitive, Jacoby Ellsbury will probably get injured, and the Red Sox are still hanging around a $176 MM payroll. Some things never change.

Do you think the Red Sox are better or worse off spending what they saved?

About Josh Segal

Josh Segal is a professional shock artist and trash talker. He also occasionally writes opinion pieces about the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and their respective leagues at large. Segal is currently a junior at Kenyon College where he plans to double major in drama and political science. Apparently he also writes his own biographies in the third person.

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