On Arbella Early Edition, Gary Tanguay and Kevin Paul Dupont debate if the Red Sox are now apprehensive to give Jon Lester a big contract due to past contract mistakes.
"I have a feeling they’re afraid to spend money because of what happened with [Adrian] Gonzalez, [Josh] Beckett and [Carl] Crawford," says Tanguay. "If you get burned, if it doesn’t work out for a period, that happens and that doesn’t mean you don’t go back to the table and spend money."
When the Red Sox convinced the Dodgers to take those albatross contracts across the country, it seemed to signal a new approach in Boston. No longer would the team be hamstrung by burdensome contracts to aging stars. The Red Sox changed their approach and managed to win a World Series by bringing in a handful of cost-effective, second-tier, team-first players. This year, the approach was the same, but the results have not been.
"I think what happened here was they went out an paid B-level talent, B-level money… and it worked," says Dupont. "You can’t argue with the way it played out. But you can’t come in and give Lester that low-ball figure and expect that he’s going to stay at the table, which he didn’t.
"The truth of the matter is, the formula they put in place can’t really be successful (long-term). You have to spend to succeed."
Tanguay says the team has to be willing to pay for star talent.
"The John Harrington regime and Dan Duquette set this team up with Manny Ramirez. Now, he turned out to be a steroid user and we know he’s not the greatest guy in the world, but like a lot of guys on roids, he performed and he changed the direction of the team," says Tanguay.
There's certainly a middle ground. The Red Sox don't have to drop a quarter of a billion dollars on aging superstars, but it's not the worst thing in the world to pay market value (or the hometown discount equivalent) to a left-handed ace who has always come up big when the stakes were highest.
Ultimately, the Red Sox will likely shell out the money because fans won't let them get away with being a big-market team that charges like a big-market team but spends like a mid-market one.
“The fan base is smart enough to say, look they won last year, we’ll tolerate this for a summer, but long-term, people aren’t going to watch a Pawtucket product and pay $150 to sit in the loge box," says Dupont.
Do you think the Red Sox should be spending more money?