Re-Building a Winner
You know what’s crazy? It’s a rebuilding year.
I had this conversation in July with a new employee here at the Flagship…the Red Sox are, essentially, rebuilding.
That process began when the Sox decided against trading for Johan Santana, for a package of prospects.
Those prospects included (in no particular order): the 25-year old leadoff guy who just finished the ALDS with a .400 on-base percentage, six RBI (ok, three of them came on a three-run single, Tanner Boyle-style); a 24-year old righty who threw a no-hitter last year and struggled finding his command this season; a 24-year old lefty who threw a no-no this year and is emerging as the Ace of the staff.
Not to mention the 24-year old infielder, with the patient eye, steady glove who has been branded as the jack of all trades, master of none…and found the strait of Teixeira between second and first last night, which drove in the gamewinning run. And factor in the tall, 23-year old right-hander that – to my count – has made two gaffes so far: the cross-up to Varitek last night and the Champs Sports commercial with the horrible Jimmy Tingle as a cab driver.
The Red Sox made a trade at the deadline, or so I heard on WEEI. And not to open that can of worms, safe to say the trade has been mutually beneficial. Channeling my inner John Sterling, “in life, all good things have some sort of reciprocation.” Let your mind wander on that one.
But the Sox won 95 games in the regular season due to Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lester, Lowrie, Masterson…and don’t discount the help that Brandon Moss made. Don’t laugh, he won a game in Japan… Even Craig Hansen helped (by leaving and facilitating the Manny-Bay trade).
When injuries arose, there was a steady stream of Jeff Bailey’s, Chris Carter’s, Jonathan Van Every’s, and Joe Thurston’s.
The injuries were to key cogs – starters, infielders, outfielders - yet the machine never had any prolonged stretch of having “out-of-service” tape ribboning around the mechanism thanks to the youngsters.
And as we’ve seen in the stretch run and postseason, Lowrie and Masterson assumed semi-permanent roles and may very well displace a veteran or two. Why Lugo and not Lowrie? Why Timlin and not Masterson? Those are legitimate questions now.
With the New York professional baseball clubs looking to spend more money than Tyco execs with a month full of spousal birthday parties, the Red Sox are primed to dip into idyllic New England towns like Pawtucket and Portland for their help.
There will be tire-kicking on AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, and Mark Teixeira, I’m sure. But the prospects have shown that they might be ready for prime time and they’ve done it during a run to the ALCS. In college, it’d be cutely referred to as the freshmen becoming sophomores.
But in the modern baseball era – the rebuilding process has taken place from within and it’s worthy of taking notice.
Ok, hope to have more as the playoffs continue. But who the hell knows?
On an aside - despite the inactivity/hibernation/sabbatical/laziness/knee injuries that have caused TLBR to not be updated for quite some time, the hit counter went over 300k. Wow. Still amazing. Thanks everyone.