The menu looks fine, but I smell a rat in the kitchen.
This is how I feel today about the Boston Red Sox.
I'm surprised the Sox got an All-Star for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, and proven major-leaguers for John Lackey. Like many of you, I expected to be looking up minor-league prospects online to see where they rank in Baseball America’s Top 100.
Cespedes is a very good player; not the same caliber of Lester, but I get it. Lester is a rental and that lowers his value. Cespedes can hit for power and has a great arm. He isn’t a great fielder, lacks plate discipline and has a history of injury. Other than his age, what can you criticize Lester for?
Speaking of age, Cespedes will 29 this October . . . which means he'll hit John Henry’s magic number of 30 when he becomes a free agent. Does this mean the Red Sox, who have a new philosophy of kicking the over-30 crowd -- regardless of resume -- to the curb, will let the man walk?
If the Red Sox sign Cespedes to a big-money, long-term deal, John Henry will appear to be a hypocrite. You pay up for Yoenis Cespedes, who can’t hold Jon Lester’s jock, but you let Lester go? Of course, the Red Sox can make the argument that as a pitcher Lester is a greater risk. But what about Cespedes' injury history? He’s more of a risk than Lester.
Then, if Cespedes isn't signed by the Sox, Boston will have given away a No. 1 starter with two World Series rings for a one-and-a-half year rental. This makes no sense.
Or does it?
My concern is that John Henry is more concerned with winning just enough to keep the fans interested while maintaining a sensible payroll. Cespedes and a James Shields -- a potential offseason free-agent signee -- could keep the Sox “in contention” in 2015. If Cespedes leaves, they'll fill his spot with another Jonny Gomes or Shane Victorino. This would expose this new Red Sox philosophy for the scam I think it is. Keep payroll in check while fans skip the mortgage payment for a trip to Fenway.
After yesterday’s trades, do you feel as though the Sox are championship driven?
I don’t. But that won’t keep them from charging you championship-driven prices.