The Red Sox soothed a worried fan base a month or so ago by announcing that they planned to spend money to bring in new players and the spending has begun with contract agreements made with catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino. Let us hope for Boston’s sake that it is money well spent and that’s not all the money that will be spent because the Red Sox need more help.
Also added in recent weeks has been Jonny Gomes, no doubt seen primarily as a back-up outfielder and back-up designated hitter. He is a guy who can be valuable in certain spots.
The 2012 season was one of the great disasters in recent franchise history. The manager and the players didn’t get along. Players didn’t get along with other players. The team had more injuries than it had suffered in 40 years. Management decided that new faces and a new attitude were needed to revive a team that already seemed to be feeling a hangover from the sour finish of 2011 when the squad blew the playoffs that September.
Bringing aboard Mike Napoli with a three-year, $39-million deal seems like a very solid hire. Catching was not a Sox strong point last season. Smart, good move. Bringing in Victorino, also with a three-year, $39 million deal, is less scintillating, but potentially useful. Not a slam dunk either way.
The real thing I wonder about is why the acquisition of Victorino means that Jacoby Ellsbury must go. There’s been a lot of chatter about that the last couple of days. If Victorino is in and Ellsbury is out I’m not sure the Red Sox are any better off. Keeping both of them seems to be a much better idea.
Unless the Red Sox really go all in on chasing down and capturing Josh Hamilton. Hamilton could create mayhem in Fenway Park and his arrival would stir things up big-time in the American League. The main problem with Hamilton is that he wants too much money for too long a time. Last I heard he was sitting on a seven-year, $175 million contract request and not budging when reality dictates that he should not be signed to a deal longer than four years at the most. Hamilton is 31 and turns 32 early in the 2013 season.
Word leaked out from the winter meetings this week that the Red Sox and Hamilton met, although autographs were not exchanged. Hamilton had to at least talk to the Red Sox. He owed it to his swing to explore Fenway Park. I’m not sure what team out there is willing to go to seven years for Hamilton at an annual rate of $25 million. Typically, only the Yankees would be crazy enough to cut a deal of that sort. But the Yankees don’t seem up to such showmanship right now with all of their older, rich players with injuries complicating matters.
There is no other comparable position player prize on the market, so Hamilton does have that going for him. He would do well in Boston, and after dispensing with Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and others the Red Sox do have the money in the war chest. Some might prefer they spend it on a couple of pitchers and keep their options open for later, at the trade deadline if this team has actually jelled and is threatening to win something in 2013.