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Red Sox owner John Henry is already an unpopular man in Boston, and it looks like his approval rating is about to take another big hit. In his weekly MLB.com article, posted on Sunday night, NESN analyst Peter Gammons casually mentioned that Henry nixed a move that would’ve changed the course of Red Sox history. To avoid quoting Mr. Gammons out of context, here is the whole paragraph:
While owner John Henry this offseason questioned the Crawford signing because of the makeup of the lineup, Boston GM Ben Cherington has steadfastly maintained that he was very much a part of the decision to sign Crawford, which has been posted to the head of the departed Theo Epstein. There has been speculation that the Crawford signing could cost the Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury when he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, since that might require more than $40 million per year tied up in center and left field. Baseball operations folks look back to September 2009, when Epstein claimed Jose Bautista on waivers from Toronto and had the deal set, only to have ownership kill it because what remained on Bautista’s one-year deal would have put Boston above the luxury-tax threshold. Fifteen months later, when the Nationals signed Jayson Werth, the Red Sox signed Crawford.
Step away from the ledge. STEP AWAY FROM THE LEDGE. Take a deep breath. It’s OK, the Patriots are still pretty good.
Well, that’s some owner we have. He overrules his GM to avoid adding $400,000 to the payroll, but then insists that his arm was twisted into agreeing to a $142,000,000 deal.
At the time, Bautista was under contract through 2011. Bautista hit 10 home runs in September and October of 2009 (including three in two days in a late September series at Fenway), 54 in 2010, and 43 in 2011. Think about everything that’s happened to the Red Sox outfield since late 2009. Jason Bay signing with the Mets suddenly doesn’t matter (and the Sox don’t need to sign Mike Cameron). No outfields of Nava, McDonald, and Drew after Ellsbury went down in 2010. Carl Crawford’s measly 2011 batting average of .255 doesn’t look so sad when it isn’t flanked by 160 combined games of J.D. Drew’s .222 and Darnell McDonald’s .236. And this year, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross can happily platoon in LF while Jason Repko and Lars Anderson can stay in Pawtucket.
You know, Mr. Henry, I think that the game of soccer is your true calling. Does Robert Kraft or Wyc Grousbeck like baseball?
Enjoy the AL East cellar, fellow Red Sox fans.