The Vermont Cynic

Red Sox Fail to ‘Buy’ Rings


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The story of the Boston Red Sox for the past decade or so has been one of gargantuan contracts.

First there was Carl Crawford, who was signed to a seven-year, $142 million contract.

Then there was Adrian Gonzalez, signed for seven years and $154 million.

Crawford and Gonzalez were both traded away in 2012, and the following season the Red Sox won a championship, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.

The team’s failures to “buy” a championship show you need more than flashy free agent signings in the winter to build a championship-level baseball team.

It seems to be going in cycles for the Sox.

During the 2014 season, they signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract.

Castillo had no MLB experience before last season.

Generally speaking, he has failed miserably to live up to his expectations for the Red Sox.

The player they expected to light it up over the Green Monster has a .260 career average, seven total home runs and 35 total RBIs in 90 career games.

Plus, he’s 28, well past his prime as a hitter.

Barring a miracle, Castillo has been, is and will be a total bust for the Red Sox.

Then, before last season, they signed Hanley Ramirez to a four-year, $88 million contract.

That offseason, they also went on to sign Pablo Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million dollar contract.

Both had proven to be consistent contributors at the MLB level, although there were glaring concerns surrounding both Sandoval and Ramirez.

For Ramirez, there were extreme defensive question marks, as the former infielder led the league in errors at the left field position.

For Sandoval, there were concerns about his weight.

Before this season, the Sox went after the number one player on the free agent market: left-handed pitcher David Price.

Price was the nemesis of the Red Sox for many years when he spearheaded the Tampa Bay Rays’ rotation before going on to pitch for the Detroit Tigers.

He signed with the Sox in one of the largest deals in history, at seven years and $217 million.

The real question is whether Price will be the bust that Crawford, Gonzalez, Castillo, Ramirez and Sandoval were before him.

His numbers point to him succeeding in Boston for a few years, but as anyone in the baseball world knows, Boston is one of the most stressful markets to play for.

Anything that can happen probably will happen.

In addition, giving such a long-term and lucrative deal to a pitcher carries a few inherent risks.

For one, should the team expect 30-year-old Price to continue his dominance as he leaves his prime?

Also, as a hard-throwing lefty, there are certainly significant injury risks.

This year, Ramirez is making the transition to first base.

He’s never played first base before.

Sandoval isn’t even on the opening day roster, as he got his job taken away by borderline MLB-er Travis Shaw.

Castillo seems as if he’ll be used as a utility outfielder.

If anything, it’s going to be an interesting season to be a Red Sox fan.

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Red Sox Fail to ‘Buy’ Rings