Within the last 15 years, the Red Sox transformed themselves from one of the most futile franchises in all of sports into one of the most successful. Since their first championship in 86 years in 2004, the Red Sox have taken two more in the past decade, and have also picked up three other postseason appearances. With a core group of veteran players and the never ending potential of a great farm system, the Red Sox always appear as if they’re in the hunt.
While this year differs from most, Boston’s abrupt fire sale is not a sign of the end of an era, but rather a sign of an off year, and the build to be even better in 2015. The constant rebuilding while staying competitive is something very few teams in all of professional sports have perfected, and the Red Sox have seemed to be able to do so.
Trading off long-term pieces sometimes is necessary, and the great returns that were found by trading away starters Jon Lester and John Lackey give both future and current stars an opportunity in Boston’s deep system, providing the Red Sox with a great chance for sustainable success.
Despite the Red Sox not knowing if they would compete in 2014 or not until the very end, the deadline moves that were made weren’t as much of a fire sale, and appeared more as taking advantage of a seller’s market. With parity throughout the league this season, sellers had a prime advantage, that being proven by holding Lester and Lackey until the very end.
The BoSox have seen a wonderful return, including outfield slugger Yoenis Cespedes to replace the recently traded Jonny Gomes, a replacement that is a marked improvement. The Lackey trade also showed a great return, bringing in the struggling but star-studded utility man Allen Craig, and a potential 4-5 starter in the rotation Joe Kelly. The subtraction of aging stars doesn’t hurt Boston, who still has a strong crop of prospects on the way that may very well make the Red Sox the favorite in the AL East in 2015.
This mindset, in all reality, is what has made the Red Sox a threat since 2003. Whether it was under the old front office of Theo Epstein, or the current front office, orchestrated by Ben Cherington, the Red Sox have consistently found ways to compete. With only four seasons without a playoff appearance, the Red Sox have been able to recycle the replacement level role players, and build around the franchise pieces that have made them a three time World Champion in ten years.
Boston may be frustrated from the results of this season. Yet it will be as soon as next year where the Red Sox may very well see these trades come to fruition, and they will return stronger, perhaps as strong as the teams that have won it all in Beantown.