In this morning’s Notes column, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggests that the Red Sox need to ‘make a splash’ to improve but the on-field team and the organisation’s PR record after the disappointment of 2012. Cafardo suggests targeting Josh Hamilton as a free agent or trading for Joe Mauer to address the team’s lack of star power in the every day lineup.
Quite apart from the fact that the team that couldn’t find a way to add “a great all-around hitter who can hit for power and produce runs but also be a pure hitter who can hit for a high average” has yet to exist, the last thing the Red Sox should be doing now is throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at a player in order to make a good impression with their public. This team needs to rebuild from a 69-93 season and find a way to put the best team on the field for the next several years. If adding a Hamilton for Mauer is the best way to do that then fine, but pretending it should be done just to sate impatient fans and media is wrongheaded.
Cafardo acknowledged that with the likes of Pedroia, Ellsbury and Ortiz the Red Sox do have stars in their everyday lineup. For some reason, this level of marketable, recognisable talent that most teams would love it have is insufficient and needs adding to. Doubtless the Red Sox are a team that have the resources to bring in Hamilton at $25m+ per year, but it seems that it is the GMs that avoid making moves ‘because they can’ are the ones that are more likely to put a winning side on the field.
The Cardinals, for example, could have matched or even bettered the Angels’ bid for Albert Pujols last winter if they’d wanted to. It seems they chose not to not because they couldn’t afford to, but because they decided those resources could be put to better use if they were spread around in other areas. One season doesn’t vindicate the decision, but the Cardinals were clearly successful without Pujols last year despite the obvious PR hit from letting him leave. Red Sox fans should hope Ben Cherington takes a similarly long view this winter.