The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. No one told the Red Sox, as so far this offseason their approach to acquiring talent is the same recipe for failure they used the past five seasons.
The Red Sox are Sticking to a Recipe for Failure
Early this offseason, while the Yankees have acquired Juan Soto and the Philadelphia Phillies have rewarded Aaron Nola with a seven-year, $172-million contract, the Red Sox have yet to make a splash. Last week, the Red Sox did acquire some pitchers who have the potential to be important pieces to restoring a disastrous pitching corps. The Red Sox sent Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees and acquired two prospects, Richard Fitts, and Nicholas Judice. They also acquired Greg Weissert who has some Major League experience. It’s not exactly the big splash Red Sox fans were hoping for this offseason, but a seemingly necessary move.
The Red Sox’s Big Splash
Sarcasm is an art that many in New England know well. Last Friday, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Tyler O’Neill from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for (ironically) pitchers Nick Robertson and Victor Santos. Robertson was part of the deal that sent Enrique “Kike’ Hernandez back to the Los Angeles Dodgers back in July. In one major league game for the Dodgers, Robertson was 0-1 with a 6.04 ERA. The head scratcher here is Santos. In his minor league career, Santos is 32-29, with a 3.72 ERA. He did have a dismal 2023 season for Triple-A Worcester, going 10-for-12 with an ERA of just under 5.00 (4.97). Meanwhile, O’Neill did not look great for St. Louis last season, batting an anemic .231 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs.
Tyler O’Neill is headed to Boston pic.twitter.com/1bm7PkmtM6
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) December 8, 2023
Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance
To quote the words of beloved Boston-area-based band Aerosmith, the Red Sox approach so far this offseason does not look like much has changed under new Chief Baseball Officer, Craig Breslow. Recall former CBO Chaim Bloom attempted to replicate the success he had with the Tampa Bay Rays, acquiring “bargain” priced players whom he hoped would reach their full potential. The approach did not work, and that is why Bloom was fired at the end of last season. Before the hiring of Bloom, the Red Sox fired their President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, for spending too much money, though they did win the World Series in 2018 with Dombrowski. Yet, it appears Breslow is continuing to use the strategy that Bloom employed, at least thus far.
The O’Neill Trade
The intent to acquire O’Neill appears to be two-fold. They need another major league outfielder after sending Verdugo to the Yankees. Secondly, the Red Sox are likely banking on O’Neill being the player he was in 2021. During that 2021 season, O’Neill appeared in 141 games for the Cardinals. He batted .286 with 34 home runs and 80 RBI while stealing 15 bases. He also won his second (and most recent) Gold Glove. The likelihood of replicating that 2021 season for O’Neill, however, looks bleak. Over the three surrounding seasons, O’Neill has battled injuries and has been limited to 172 games over those three seasons (including the shortened 2020 Covid-19 season). Thus, if Red Sox fans were hoping the firing of Bloom and hiring of Breslow would lead to a new approach to acquiring better on-field talent, they may be sadly mistaken.
For those Red Sox fans who were glad to see Chaim Bloom go, their anticipation of “better things to come” has been diluted, as the Red Sox are continuing to follow a recipe for disaster. In free agency thus far, they have acquired three pitchers which they needed. However, one of the three has major league experience, and the other two seem like they could have the potential to be, at least, formidable major league pitchers, someday; someday being the keyword. The Red Sox’s biggest move thus far is acquiring an outfielder who had one outstanding season…three years ago. If the Red Sox are serious about contending, they need to sign a big name (preferably a pitcher). If they do not, then the same strategy and mentality will continue under Breslow as it did under Bloom. Sox fans should once again expect the insanity that will likely ensue in 2024.
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