The Boston Red Sox have had one rough offseason. The most devastating news was that they had to let go of their manager. Then, they dealt superstar outfielder Mookie Betts. It was a smart move since Boston received assets for Betts instead of losing him for nothing in free agency, but it certainly makes them less competitive in 2020. Here’s one more reason why the Red Sox have had the worst MLB offseason.
The Red Sox fired their manager
The first reason the Red Sox had a bad offseason? They were essentially forced to fire their manager, Alex Cora.
Cora, a former big-league player, got his managerial career off to a great start. In his first season as Boston’s skipper in 2018, he led the Red Sox to a World Series championship. In 2019 the Red Sox finished a disappointing third in the AL East, but they still had a winning record. Cora’s first-year championship certainly earned him a grace period.
The problem for Cora was that the past caught up to him. Before Boston hired him to manage the Red Sox, Cora was the bench coach for the Houston Astros. After allegations of the Astros illegally using technology to steal signs, MLB investigated and found evidence that Houston did, in fact, illegally steal signs. While no current players were named, the report did single out former player Carlos Beltran. It also positioned Cora as the ringleader of the scheme.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch was suspended for a year then fired. Rumors began to circulate that Cora would be hit with an even harsher penalty. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Red Sox fired him. Now they await the result of that investigation and possible further punishment while they look for a manager.
Boston had goals for this offseason
Regarding their short- and long-term goals, the Red Sox have spoken out of both sides of their mouth recently. Last year they emphasized the need to cut payroll. There were rumors they may trade star outfield Mookie Betts due to him having an upcoming high price tag. Then owner John Henry clarified, saying the team’s goal was to remain competitive for the next five years.
It seems as though trading Betts — one of the league’s truly elite players — doesn’t really square with the idea of remaining competitive. Boston looked like a team in flux, a rudderless ship. They appeared not to have a concrete plan of attack for this offseason.
It appears as if things may have gotten worse. Not only did the Red Sox not have a plan, but they barely made progress in any direction when it comes to offseason moves.
One more reason the Red Sox had the worst MLB offseason
What have the Red Sox accomplished since the 2019 season ended? Not much, until trading Mookie Betts andDavid Price trade. They avoided arbitration with Betts, awarding him a one-year, $27 million deal, then they moved him. The Red Sox signed Jackie Bradley to an $11 million deal. The salary “slashing” still leaves them with one of the highest payrolls in MLB.
If the Red Sox are looking to compete, dealing Betts and Price isn’t a great way to do it. They lost one of the game’s best everyday players and a serviceable (if not stellar) starting pitcher. Meanwhile, they’ve watched as their rivals, the New York Yankees, added Gerrit Cole, the best pitcher in the league. Boston didn’t make a play for any of the top free agents this offseason.
Essentially, Boston needs to pick a strategy. If they want to start over, they should shed their payroll and start over. If they want to compete (which they should — they’re one of the wealthiest teams in the league and can afford the luxury tax payments), they should be looking to plug holes.