The Yankees ….. the Red Sox on Saturday night in convincing fashion again.
Less than two years ago — TWO!!! — the Boston Red Sox were the unquestioned best team in Major League Baseball. They effortlessly won 108 games and then steamrolled the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers en route to a World Series title, led by AL MVP Mookie Betts.
Fast forward to Aug. 1, 2020, and this team is trotting guys like Ryan Weber and Zack Godley out to the mound. One of the richest sports franchises in the entire world has a rotation that looks like it’d feature on a downtrodden, failing to rebuild small-market team.
And let’s remind everyone that this was totally avoidable. The Red Sox could’ve just paid Mookie Betts and remained one of the league’s powerhouses. They could’ve gotten more crafty on the trade market or been more aggressive in free agency to sign better pitchers.
But for some reason that dominant 2018 championship team was neutered in arguably the most avoidable tear-down we’ve witnessed in recent memory, and their lifelessness was on fully display once again during Saturday night’s loss to the Yankees.
The franchise wanted to stop spending money after a World Series victory to avoid luxury tax payments. It’s a luxury tax! You’re living a life of luxury and it costs you a few extra bucks. Just pay up when you’re worth $3 billion (looking at you, John Henry).
Sure, they had some not-so-great contracts (and still do), but isn’t that the sacrifice most top teams must cope with? Every deal you give out isn’t going to pan out seamlessly. Some underperforming players make more than your top talent. You overpay to keep players you don’t want to get away. That’s just the way it is.
But what the Red Sox have managed to do in 22 months is what many fans would call an atrocity. A team that doesn’t exactly draft well was too cheap to pay their best homegrown star since Ted Williams, and instead traded him for spare parts and watched him sign a mega extension with his new team.
Their best healthy pitcher is Nathan Eovaldi and the front office was somehow content with signing Godley and Martin Perez to round out the rotation alongside Ryan Weber and Eduardo Rodriguez. Heath Hembree is STILL on this roster, too!
While they still possess a promising core with Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis and Andrew Benintendi, this Red Sox team just looks completely dead. Injuries/other factors affecting Rodriguez and Chris Sale have certainly deflated them to an extent, but they just don’t have the same energy or moxie as 2018, which felt like it could’ve lasted for a decade.
But Yankees fans aren’t complaining. The Red Sox are kind of right where we want them to be. They’re not rebuilding. They’re not fully star-studded. They’re not spending money. They’re not making trades.
They’re just floating along after being stripped of their identity.