Unfortunately, for the past couple of seasons, as the World Series wraps up and baseball fans start to look towards the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox have been in the news.
But its not for the right reasons.
Instead of talking about the prolonged dynasty and potential World Series championships that Boston has won, we continuously talk about the necessary moves to get the Red Sox back into contention and blowing up this team. As we look towards the offseason and potential moves that could be made, one thing is for certain: the Red Sox need a complete change in their philosophy.
With the hiring of Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox have done just that. Instead of caring about ticket sales and merchandising on NESN, the Red Sox have clearly gotten the message from fans; we are tired of watching this team lose. In no way, shape or form am I trying to persuade you into thinking that the Red Sox don't care about making a profit anymore, because they do. A lot. However, the Red Sox aren't making as much money when this team performs at the same level as the Saugus High School Junior Varsity squad.
Dombrowski will make an emphasis on turning this team into a contender as soon as humanly possible and, thankfully, the Red Sox aren't that far away. In fact, they have some eerily similar attributes to the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.
The pitching staff and bullpen are something that needs to be addressed. There is no way around that. Acquiring a #1 ace, and possibly a solid #2, starter is a necessity. This team and their fan base will not let this team go into the season having Rick Porcello take the hill on Opening Day in 2016. David Price, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Zimmerman, and Zack Greinke are all available via free agency, while Sonny Gray, Chris Sale, and other front end of the rotation guys may be stolen from their respective clubs if they receive an overwhelming package of prospects in return. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but I think that the Red Sox are going to get this one right. There is to much riding on this decision for them to get it wrong. Looking at the World Champs, and their move at the deadline to get Cueto and put them over the top just cements this point to ownership.
The bigger concern, and something that ultimately won the Royals a World Series, is their bullpen. A group of 5 or 6 guys that can shut down the opposing team for an inning with 98 mph hairy cheese is something that the Red Sox desperately need. We have heard names, such as Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel, but they are going to need more than that. Junichi Tarawa is a good piece, and, while he is older, Koji Uehara, when healthy, has good off-speed pitches to switch things up. However, the Red Sox are going to have to do some searching for a couple of good arms to solidify their bullpen. They can't afford to strut Craig Breslow and his 90 mph heater out there every 6th or 7th inning.
The young core, similar to that of the Kansas City Royals, is set and ready to be the cornerstone piece of this Red Sox team for the next 5 years. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Blake Swihart (Although I may trade him for the right starting pitcher) compare well with the young core of the Kansas City Royals in Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. Each player is unique, but growing these pieces and watching them blossom into All-Star caliber talent is something that Dombrowski will need to learn in his new role.
Here's to an interesting offseason, Red Sox Nation.
By Pete Packowski