Unless he trades for Matt Kemp and essentially loses all of his integrity, Ben Cherington has been doing business the right way.
While the New York Yankees continue their spending splurge, the Boston Red Sox are quietly refusing to give catchers no more than two years or handing injury-prone center fielders massive contracts. The Yankees, on the other hand, have carelessly committed to two good, but not great players for over $250 million over the past two weeks.
In addition, New York has also given up two draft picks. Instead of building up their already depleted farm system, the Yankees’ front office chose to commit to Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury until they are in their late 30s. To make these signings look even worse, the shopping spree may hurt the chance of retaining Robinson Cano.
The loss of Ellsbury to the “Evil Empire” may sting. Red Sox fans are already putting him on the Johnny Damon “Treason Bus”. They have the right to feel this way, but Sox fans need to realize that Boston are better off, and the Yankees are doing them a favor. Give Jacoby 153 million for seven years? No thanks. I hope he has fun in pinstripes. Boston is staying away from big contracts, and Cherington is making the right decisions by sticking to the blueprint.
Adding veteran players at low-cost deals to a nucleus of young players is an excellent way to be successful. It’s extremely smart. It saves money for the franchise pieces like Xander Bogaerts. The Red Sox refused to give Jarrod Saltalamacchia a third year, and opted to sign A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal in order to let young catchers in the minors emerge.
By not paying Ellsbury, the Sox have essentially paved the way for Jackie Bradley Jr. to take over in center field and reach his full potential. Their pitching depth continues to be prioritized by the organization. The farm system is filled with talent and with more draft picks on the way, it will continue to be strengthened.
It’s obviously not guaranteed that all of Boston’s young prospects will prosper and be part of the future. However, a surplus of prospects gives Cherington leverage in trade talks. The Red Sox have a strong nucleus of young players that can potentially be impact players in the future, while the Yankees’ future looks like a cluster of overpaid 35-year-olds who are on the down side of their careers. The Red Sox are doing baseball right.