It’s a good thing one of my New Year’s Resolutions wasn’t to be more patient, because the Red Sox are trying my patience like no other. I’ve tried to give them time, but it’s 2018 now, and spring training is right around the corner. On January 9, it will be three full months since the Red Sox were eliminated in Game 4 of the ALDS. Since then, the Red Sox have fired John Farrell, hired Alex Cora, re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland, and they have done almost nothing else.
I hope they’re enjoying their winter vacation because I sure as hell am not. This is the slowest off-season since the MLB =strike of ’94-’95, which lasted 232 days. The difference is, there’s no strike this time; everyone’s just boring. As of last week, 136 free agents are still without teams. I thought once the season was over, I’d be able to stop writing these whiny, complaining articles about how frustrating this team is. But the Sox didn’t sign Shohei Ohtani or Giancarlo Stanton. Free agent RHP Doug Fister left the Red Sox for the Rangers. Numerous players, including Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia, who won’t be healthy until May at the earliest, are spending the off-season recovering and rehabbing from surgeries. This off-season feels as endless as, well, winter in Boston.
And yes, I know that Scott Boras is holding prize clients JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer’s futures hostage with an iron fist. The Red Sox have offered Martinez a 5-year contract somewhere in the ballpark of $130 million, so we all just have to sit here and wait. Boras wanted a 7-year, $210 million deal for Martinez. It wouldn’t be the first time the Red Sox gave an undeserving player an enormous 7-year, $100+ million-dollar contract: I’m looking at you, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Thankfully, the Red Sox have smartened up a tiny bit.
I’m not saying that signing JD Martinez is a life-or-death situation. I’m not even saying I really want him. But after all this time and build-up, it’s beginning to feel like the only solution to this lackluster, underachieving team. The Red Sox already spent one season without a big bat, and I don’t think a second season without one will yield better results. Sure, the young core might improve under a younger, more compatible manager in Cora, but I doubt he’s a miracle-worker. For whatever reason, these young, incredibly talented guys are not meshing. They finished last in the AL in home runs. They were ridiculously outmatched by the Houston Astros in a postseason they never deserved to get to in the first place. In the first year of a Red Sox team without David Ortiz, it was a never-ending parade of disappointment.
And while mediocrity might be acceptable in other baseball cities, Boston won’t stand for it. We’re staring down the barrel of a 2018 season in which the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. The Cubs, Dodgers, and Nationals will all be strong, to name a few. It’s only the Red Sox whose future seems bleak.