By Jon Flanders – @redsoxviews10
The pace of the average Major League Baseball off-season is often boring and cumbersome. Typically, moves are sprinkled along allowing fans to savor over a hot signing, or a juicy trade. Each fan refreshes their ‘mlbtraderumors’ app or twitter multiple times a day. Many days are filled with wonder and hope. Not a day goes by that a new object of fixation allows us fans to think about fielding THE best team in baseball.
What seems odd about this, is that off-seasons are in the eyes of the beholder. Expectations allow for us to change exactly how we view the ‘success’ of that specific off-season. Most fans seemingly expect the Red Sox to add half a roster in new and upgraded players. Those who realize moves take time and effort, are the ones that don’t view the off-season as a complete dud. Each signing and trade is meticulous, and the behind the scenes is not as simple as a trade on ‘MLB The Show’.
People always want something to complain about. As much as I point that out via my personal Twitter account, I believe it is a part (not right, but part) of being a fan. Fans differ in what is considered a success, whether it a trade or off-season as a whole. One step forward, one step back, no one ever knows for sure what the roster will look like until that magic Opening Day date hits.
The pace of the average Major League Baseball off-season COULD be viewed as fast paced and speedy. As a die-hard Red Sox fan, baseball lover, and player, I can tell you that the amount of time I spend keeping up with our team that dons red, white, and blue, the off-season goes by pretty quickly. I construct what certain free agents could do if they wore a Red Sox jersey. I think of which trades could allow for an overall improvement in the structure of the team and farm system. Most of the time, say 65% of the time, my mind goes to trades rather than free agent signings. Why you ask? I have not been on the train of ‘overvaluing prospects.’ I prefer proven talent. Talent who have successfully proven themselves against Major League pitching aside from less challenging Triple-A pitching. So many over hyped prospects seem to stumble once finally reaching the majors, and not even to justify their once hyped ‘prospect’ status, let alone a passable Major Leaguer.
Some signings will show a certain aggressiveness where a team clearly threw in a few logs to fire up the ‘ol hot stove. Just to be clear, I am not against signings if they are a good fit. I enjoy the Moreland signing, because last year he WAS the guy at 1B. He ended up playing a ton, and through a broken foot no less. Moreland hit .246 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI. He sported a .993 fielding percentage, saving his infielders multiple errors and earned runs for his pitchers. He wasn’t the sexiest signing compared to the likes of Eric Hosmer and JD Martinez (who I think will end up a Red Sox once Dombrowski includes the ever-precious seventh year to the contract). However, it was a necessary signing. Moreland proved he could play in Boston, and could have given three years on his new deal, simply for what Hanley Ramirez’ 2019 option is set to pay.
This year, Moreland doesn’t have to be THE guy at 1B, and won’t have to the cleanup hitter. I firmly believe that a healthy (non-broken foot) Moreland playing roughly 130 games will lead to a slight bump in batting average with similar power peripherals. If the Sox get 20+ homers and 70+ RBI from Moreland over another 130-game season, you would have to firmly believe he lived up to the value of his $13M contract. What the Sox do over the remainder of the off-season will render the final verdict as to whether the Moreland signing was appropriate. He could be the regular 1B if Sox add JD Martinez, and at least one other power bat.
In closing, what we all believe is good or bad may differ. How we view the off-season, be it a success or a failure due to the lack of sex appeal, it’s your right to feel that way. I encourage fans to see positives about this team, and focus less on what other teams have already done, or will do. An MLB season lasts half a year, many things can happen. Even if a team looks better on paper, it doesn’t automatically translate into wins on the field, or wins in a playoff environment.
ICYMI: EPISODE 26 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST!!! THE RED SOX OPT FOR MITCH MORELAND OVER ERIC HOSMER!!!
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