Spring training doesn’t start for a month, but I’m already close to writing off the upcoming Red Sox season out of sheer frustration and hopelessness. It’s mid-January, and I can list on one hand the moves the Sox have made this winter: fire Farrell, hire Cora, re-sign Mitch Moreland. End of list. Finito. We’re going to take a Mulligan and skip to 2019, I guess. That or the Red Sox are waiting until the penultimate moment to give us all the shock of our lives.
Back in October, I had hope. I flew home from California to go to Game 4 of the ALDS and I watched my team lose. But it didn’t destroy me because I knew the Houston Astros were a better team. Hell, I said exactly that in the article I wrote in the team store on Yawkey Way an hour after the game while I waited for my ride.
There’s always next season, I reminded myself. If generations of Red Sox Nation could survive 86 years without a championship, surely I could survive sitting through the ending of a postseason after already having lived through not one, but three epic championship wins. And I knew that our abysmal, weird, inconsistent season would be a catalyst for change. Getting eliminated in the ALDS two years in a row had to get the organization in gear, right?
Then, what felt like only hours later, the Sox announced that they had fired John Farrell, and I said to myself, the franchise is already making moves. Here. We. Go.
They hired Alex Cora away from his coaching job with the World Champion Houston Astros; former Red Sox utility infielder, member of the 2007 championship team, the first Spanish-speaking manager in franchise history, a guy in his early 40s who could better connect to the young players who clearly weren’t gelling with Old Man Farrell. Amazing. Smart move. Boston was energized and excited.
And then… nothing. The dramatics of managerial firing and hiring were followed by practically nothing. Boston said goodbye to pitchers Doug Fister and Addison Reed. The Red Sox chose to re-sign Mitch Moreland instead of dishing out the big bucks on Eric Hosmer, who wanted way more than he was worth. And then Dave Dombrowski put his flannel jammies on and went back into a somnolent hibernation that would put the Sandman to shame.
Meanwhile, the Yankees signed Giancarlo Stanton. The Anaheim Angels enticed Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. Even the Giants and Mets have been making moves, and I’m not talking about the Giants deciding to keep Pablo Sandoval around, because that will never make sense.
I never advocated for a big bat, though the team’s collective hitting obviously leaves much to be desired. I just don’t think one person could come in and magically fix this team. Paying someone like Giancarlo an astronomical salary to bolster the entire time won’t replace a player like David Ortiz, nor will it light a fire under the youngest lineup the Sox have had in years, who for whatever reason couldn’t hit more than 24 homers apiece. But I had faith that Dombrowski would do what he’d done the past few off-seasons, and at least go out and get us some players who might be able to help turn the team into a playoff contender in 2018. Instead, when “Dealing Davey” went on MLB Network Radio this week, he said “I’ve never seen a market go this slow, really. Normally you get to this time period and your club is pretty well set.” But, Dave, isn’t that literally your job? To set up your club? There are literally dozens of free agents still unsigned, and the Red Sox can’t even get one of them? After finishing dead last in 2012, they gutted the team and filled it with free agents. We had our third victory parade in ten years in 2013.
Every day, the Red Sox Twitter account puts up their daily ‘countdown to Spring Training’ tweet, and every day, I get more annoyed. What’s so exciting about seeing the same losing team inevitably do the exact same thing this season? There’s not much to look forward to – unless Alex Cora is some kind of miracle worker – about a young, uninspired team that can go games without hitting a single homer. The Red Sox are turning me into a version of myself that I don’t like at all, someone catty and rude and fed up with the team she loves.
It’s not just the Red Sox who’ve been snoozing away the off-season, but anyone who knows me knows that I don’t give a damn about the other teams. Hell, I was walking around an empty Dodger Stadium yesterday, and all I could say was this:
When I made my New Year’s Resolutions last week, I decided that this was the year I’d stop repeating old bad choices. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I’d love to remind the Red Sox of that fact, since it looks like we’re about to have a repeat of 2017 with the same failure of a team. When they hired Alex Cora, I posed the question, “Are the Red Sox Finally Learning From Their Mistakes?” Though things don’t really get started for another month, as of right now, I have my answer, and I’m not happy with it.