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Saturday, August 2, 2014

They're shipping out of Boston once again


By on 8/02/2014 01:09:00 PM

The Boston Red Sox have done it again - had a virtual fire sale, and let go of 80% of their starting rotation. The question that begs to be asked is will this strategy work twice, and will they be able strike gold once again as they did last season?

Losing ace Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and budding star Felix Doubront seems like insurmountable odds for any club to overcome. For the Red Sox, however, these are not uncharted waters. Boston unloaded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and slugger Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal that initially left fans and media alike scratching their heads. Cut to the 2013 World Series, just one year later, and Boston held up the trophy for the third time in a decade, making management look more like modern-day prophets than pariahs.

This time around, the club did manage to set themselves up for the future offensively by grabbing two-time defending Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes from the Oakland Athletics in the deal for Lester. The heart of the order for the Red Sox shapes up nicely with David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and now Cespedes, this triple-threat is as potent in any in baseball. The glaring concern for the Sox will be their starting rotation going forward.

If Boston is to make another turnaround like they did in 2013, they are going to have to acquire some big arms in the offseason. Clay Buchholz is the only starter left from the opening day roster, and he has not been able to return to form after solid campaigns the last few seasons. Possible targets to land in Boston could include Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer and even a possible return for Lester. According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com , as stated yesterday on Michael Kay's radio show on their New York affiliate, this does not appear to be likely. The Red Sox offered Lester a four-year deal for $70 million, but he turned it down as well as shut down contract talks for the remainder of the season with them.

The Red Sox have managed to calculate a winning formula unseen before in baseball. As an organization, they know when the time has come to bow out for a season and look towards the future.Contrary to this approach, the New York Yankees continue to make minor moves each and every season to stay in contention as long as possible. This strategy does not appear to be the right one, only winning one championship since 2000. This time around though, Boston is facing adversity with a market that is thin on pitching, and quality pitching at that. It may prove to be too daunting of task, especially given how much the club relied on Lester during the playoffs in 2013.

Parity in baseball is virtually gone for the remainder of the 2014 season. The Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels are without question the best teams in the American League. Their dominance rivals that of what we saw from the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the NBA, quickly rising to and staying at the top all season. No other team in the Eastern Conference really stood a chance, and the same goes for the AL in baseball. Sure, a club could catch fire and overthrow one of these powerhouses, but the dominance of all three of these clubs in all phases of the game makes it almost impossible.

Only time will tell if the Red Sox made the right move clearing out their rotation. They will surely have to make smart moves in the winter to sure up their starting staff as well as their bullpen.With the highest ticket prices in baseball, the team cannot afford to stay down for long, literally. For now, we can sit back and watch management wave their magic wands once again and see if they have one more rabbit hiding in their hat in 2015.

Email Chris: NYSports1129@gmail.com


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