Red Sox Get Bold in Free Agent MarketAdded - Nov. 19, 2014 - Comments
For years the Boston Red Sox were cursed, as they went from 1918 to 2003 without a world championship. But they have won the World Series in 2004, 2007 and 2013, so by this time the Fenway faithful, which supported this team through thick and thin, may actually have gotten a little bit spoiled. The Red Sox had a rough experience with Bobby Valentine is the manager in 2012, finishing with only 69 wins, and he was fired in in favor of John Farrell, who won the World Series the next year, despite the fact that the Sox traded several good players away. But they were snake-bitten again last season, finishing with a 71-91 record that put them in last place in the very competitive American League East.
Now they must play "catch-up" with the other teams in the division, and there is one way well-heeled teams can do that, which is with something many people refer to as "Mucho Dinero." The Red Sox have already struck twice in the free-agent market, citing two players who will be key components to their offense as they move forward in the 2015 season. And they probably aren't done yet.
Pablo Sandoval is a skilled hitter who has been part of three world championship teams with the San Francisco Giants. And he has a .426 average in World Series competition. He will, we presume, play third base for Boston, having inked a five-year, $95 million contract. And Hanley Ramirez, who actually started his major-league career with Boston, before moving on to the Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, was signed to a deal for four years and $88 million. Ramirez, who was a shortstop by trade but has never been above average at the position, might have to move somewhere else, because the Red Sox love Xander Bogaerts, who they say is their shortstop of the future and present. And they will have to hope that Ramirez, who has been known to misbehave from time to time, can avoid sulking in the clubhouse as he has in the past, sometimes about having to move from his natural position. But he is a .300 lifetime hitter, having won the 2009 batting title with a .342 average, and batted .345 as recently as 2013 with the Dodgers.
As we said, the Red Sox are not through as of yet, and they are expected to make very competitive bids on a number of free-agent pitchers, including Max Scherzer, James Shields and their former left-handed ace, Jon Lester, who was dealt away before the trade deadline last year to the Oakland Athletics. There are also a number of players who are rumored to be trade bait, included Yeonis Cespedes and Mike Napoli. This team would love to rebuild its starting rotation, and this might be a good opportunity. Do not count on the Red Sox being down for long; their bank account will not allow that to happen.