Red Sox Adopt ‘Win Now’ Mentality After Disappointing Playoff Run
WASHINGTON D.C. – Tuesday morning began with the start of Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings in America’s capitol. But it also began with the key acquisition of Tyler Thornburg by the Boston Red Sox in exchange for 3B Travis Shaw and infield prospect Mauricio Dubon. Thornburg had a 2.15 ERA and 13 saves for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016.
But the Red Sox weren’t done. Less than four hours later, they orchestrated arguably the biggest trade of their franchise since August 2012 – when they gave up Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and V. Diaz in return for five-time All-Star ace Chris Sale.
Sale had 17 wins in 2016 and boats a 3.00 career ERA wit the Chicago White Sox.
Still, though, Boston was not finished yet. Just after 6 PM, they signed former Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million. Moreland had 22 home runs last season and won the American League Gold Glove Award at first base.
Needless to say, Dave Dombrowski and Co. were busy yesterday and have been since the prior’s arrival in Boston in late 2015. Since being appointment President of Baseball Operations, Dombrowski has relied heavily on trades to raise the position of his ball club.
He has also been quick to trade young talent in the farm system in order to get players like Sale, Thornburg, Craig Kimbrel, and Drew Pomeranz. Since taking the helm in Boston, Dombrowski has parted with all the aforementioned prospects plus Manuel Margot and Anderson Espinoza, all of whom were at some point top players in the system. But to his credit, he has held on to guys like Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, and Mookie Betts who were already talented young guys at the big-league level.
Their clear focus is to win within the next three-year window through the mix of veterans and cornerstones up the middle, especially considering the failures of the pitching staff down the stretch and into the postseason.
The addition of Sale and Thornburg make the Red Sox automatic American League favorites, just one season after winning the AL East and just two seasons after finishing last. Any Red Sox fan should be ecstatic about that opportunity. But it remains to be seen whether or not this plethora of moves over the last thirteen months will hurt the team in the long run once players like Betts, Bogaerts, Rick Porcello, Sale and perhaps David Price become free-agents and once Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez retire. This is also barring any elbow injury to Sale, which, considering his pitching delivery, is always in question.
It should also be noted that the team which they’ll probably face next year, the Chicago Cubs, just won the World Series because of solid young players which Theo Epstein developed.
Additionally, the departure of Moncada and Shaw simultaneously signals the commitment to Pablo Sandoval at third base, at least until Rafael Devers is developed. That is, considering the latter isn’t dealt for another middle-aged pitcher.
Regardless, this is a franchise-defining move for the Red Sox. They now have the opportunity to put together consecutive winning seasons for the first time in almost a decade. They also have the potential to win championships with everyone still under team control. We should all celebrate that possibility.
The only question that remains is, will they actually win one?
Baseball’s power rankings have trended upward, but the sport is still just as hard to predict as a presidential election.
Until next time.