Borrowing Trouble....What happens to YOU If Bogaerts and Devers Go the Way of Mookie?

brienc

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It would definitely impact my interest and I would probably give up my season tickets. When all is said and done, I invest over $5000 a season in this team, and it’s really the only way I can show my satisfaction or dissatisfaction to the front office. I’m not naive enough to think they actually give a shit about my money, but it’s what I got. I love the Sox, but I really love the players. I’m excited for Mayer to make it so I’m sure I’ll come back. But to say that having two stalwarts leave won’t have any effect on my interest would be a lie.
I am in the same boat. I haven’t been to Fenway since before the pandemic, mostly because of the Mookie trade. I’m not boycotting the place, but am not interested enough to put the effort into getting to the ballpark, or spending stupid money while I’m there. Being convinced that Devers is also soon to be gone isn’t making me want to get off my couch and go either. I’m just a five games a year level customer of theirs, so I doubt they care either way, but if thousands of season ticket holders feel the way you do, I’m sure that will affect their thinking sooner than later.
 

NoXInNixon

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95% of the Red Sox players who I have deeply, deeply loved and made me into the fan I am are no longer with the team. Some retired, some were traded, some left as free agents. Some left on good terms, some left on bad terms. They're all part of Red Sox history, and history rolls on. I'll be a Red Sox fan long after X and Devers are gone, whether that's in ten years or ten days. My #1 hope as a fan is that the Red Sox stay as exciting to watch as possible, and that's mostly tied to them winning a lot of games.

And once a player hits free agency, or close to it, there's no more surplus value in having them on your roster. Players with established track records are rarely signed for less than they are worth, and yet the only way to put together a championship roster is to have as many players as possible getting paid less than they are worth. It's why I'm not so excited about emptying the farm system for Soto. In 2 years, he's going to be paid what he's worth, so as great as he is he's not adding championship equity.

So, sure, it's great when a player I love stays with the team for a little bit longer. But I've been around long enough to know that there's always someone new who comes along that makes me love the team. No one is irreplaceable.
 

sodenj5

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Xander and Devers are in two completely different camps for me.

Love X, but he’s already gotten an extension from Boston and if he chooses to opt out, that’s him making the decision he thinks is best for him. I don’t begrudge him that one bit. Bottom line is he plays subpar defense at a premium defensive position, and thus far has given no indication he’s open to moving off of SS.

Devers has the ceiling of an MVP. He’s 4 years younger than Bogaerts and an extension would almost certainly lock up his prime. He might not stick at third his entire contract, but his bat plays at first or even DH.

I’m far more willing to watch X leave than Devers. If both leave, they had better be aligning an allocation of those resources that blows my socks off.

I have faith that they’ve been rebuilding the farm system and stripping salary to realign the roster and organization to run more sustainably moving forward. That being said, I’m not willing to watch 3 or 4 years of poverty level roster building.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Losing either or both players would make me very upset, but wouldn’t impact my passion or interest in the team. And really, it depends on what either guy gets on the open market. If someone throws $450 million at Devers I would be sad to see him go, but glad the Sox didn’t match it. I love individual players, but root for the team first and foremost.
 

RedOctober3829

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There's a lot of people on this board who watch the Red Sox as if they're watching a person play fantasy baseball, without any real attachment. If Player X leaves, that person will just plug in Player Y and life will go on. And that's cool, no judgement from me. Honest. But that's not how I like to watch sports. One of the reasons why I love the Red Sox are the people that make/made up the team. Going back to Roger Clemens and Jim Rice and Dwight Evans and Dave Henderson (I realize he was here less than a year, but his ALCS homer is what made me the fan I am today) and Burks and Greenwell and Wakefield and Nomar and Pedro and Manny and Ortiz and Pedroia and Varitek and Lowe and Betts and Bogaerts and JBJ and Benintendi and Lester and so many more.

The reason why I'm a Red Sox fan--and a baseball fan really--is because for seven months a year, day-in and day-out, I follow these guys and are happy when they do well and grouse when they do poorly. And it's not because Devers happens to be the third baseman right at this very instance, it's because I've watched Devers grow and become the best third baseman in the league. I have made an investment in him. If the Red Sox let him go based on money, then that sucks. And I'm not going to get into "Well, the Red Sox are just being cheap" because that's kinda the answer. I roughly know how much the Red Sox are worth and I know that they make a profit. I roughly know how much that FSG is worth and I know that they make a profit. I know how much John Henry is worth and I know how much money that I spend on tickets, sodas, hot dogs, shirts and caps every year. It's disheartening to hear the billionaire owner of a billionaire business that runs a team making millions that "Player X just wants too much money."

Because I know that's not true.

And again, if you take the opposite view point, more power to you. I'm not sure why you give a shit about how much money John Henry and FSG make, but I couldn't care less. Watching the Red Sox with the best players (and they've had three who've come up through their system in the last ten years) is really the only thing I care about. Watching Chaim Bloom dumpster dive for the best value on a conga line of anonymous players is frankly really uninteresting. It might not be for you, and that's great--to each his own. But I enjoy watching stars that I have a tentative connection play for my team.

So yeah, I'll probably be really pissed with X and Devers leave. Will it be enough to ruin my Red Sox fandom? I don't know. I doubt it, but I have to say watching players leave and excelling elsewhere really sucks.
You couldn't have done a better job describing my thoughts on this topic. Great post. Why people care that John Henry saves a few bucks here and there is beyond me. I used to be like that, but taking management's side is tiring. I don't look at the roster and think "oh that's awesome they saved money by doing X or Y". This isn't a salary cap sport. I want the best team possible and that includes spending big for big-time players. Watching guys come through the system, getting to "know" them, and seeing them succeed is a fun thing. I understood why they traded Betts, but damn it was painful. If Bogaerts and Devers walk out the same door, it will be just as painful or more. Rooting for the laundry is for some people, but not me. I like getting attached to players and following their careers. I really hope this team doesn't turn into a churn and burn organization where they just cycle through players when they become expensive. Becoming the Dodgers is the goal. Pay your young star players while cycling in young star minor league talent.
 

Hank Scorpio

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I’ve watched and attended zero games since they traded away Mookie. I still check scores and standings for whatever reason. Same time, I’ve turned down free tickets because I just can’t be bothered devoting an evening to the Boston Red Sox anymore.

I have a pretty good idea of how the players are doing, but almost in a “this show has gone on too long, and I can’t watch it anymore, so I’ll just read the synopsis of TWD episodes on Wikipedia instead” type way.
 

P'tucket rhymes with...

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You couldn't have done a better job describing my thoughts on this topic. Great post. Why people care that John Henry saves a few bucks here and there is beyond me. I used to be like that, but taking management's side is tiring. I don't look at the roster and think "oh that's awesome they saved money by doing X or Y". This isn't a salary cap sport. I want the best team possible and that includes spending big for big-time players. Watching guys come through the system, getting to "know" them, and seeing them succeed is a fun thing. I understood why they traded Betts, but damn it was painful. If Bogaerts and Devers walk out the same door, it will be just as painful or more. Rooting for the laundry is for some people, but not me. I like getting attached to players and following their careers. I really hope this team doesn't turn into a churn and burn organization where they just cycle through players when they become expensive. Becoming the Dodgers is the goal. Pay your young star players while cycling in young star minor league talent.
I don't understand how simply accepting the ownership's approach to salaries and the salary cap is "taking a side." It is what it is. Yeah, you have the right to complain about it on a message board, but you might as well be yelling at the clouds. It's boring, and ultimately quite irrelevant to what's likely to happen.
 

snowmanny

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Kind of a false equivalence given that Williams and Yastrzemski (mostly) played in the reserve clause era where no one was making budget breaking salaries nor signed to guaranteed deals for such salaries. Even with those guys making big bucks relative to their time, it could be off-set by the fact that everybody else was getting paid peanuts, and if they truly reached the end of their productivity, the team could just release them and owe them nothing more. Williams and Yastrzemski were never a hindrance to the Sox improving the roster around them, whereas (for example) a 37 year old Rafael Devers who's making $35M and hitting .210 in the DH spot is taking up money and a roster spot that could possibly be better utilized. To be clear, that's not an argument against extending Devers for a long time, just pointing out that Ted and Yaz were in a completely different world compared to modern baseball.
Obviously I agree. I was clumsily trying to point out that, even today, some Red Sox fans derive some value from those players having played with Boston through their whole careers. To me, being a Red Sox fan is inherently better than being, say, a Diamondbacks fan by history alone.
 

E5 Yaz

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Suggesting that people will drop the Sox cold is an unrealistic, absolutist argument where you either support the team fully, or completely ignore them. It's an unproductive discussion point.
I wonder how many posters we'd have left if everyone who threatened to leave if Mookie, Brady, etc left actually did leave
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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You couldn't have done a better job describing my thoughts on this topic. Great post. Why people care that John Henry saves a few bucks here and there is beyond me. I used to be like that, but taking management's side is tiring. I don't look at the roster and think "oh that's awesome they saved money by doing X or Y". This isn't a salary cap sport. I want the best team possible and that includes spending big for big-time players. Watching guys come through the system, getting to "know" them, and seeing them succeed is a fun thing. I understood why they traded Betts, but damn it was painful. If Bogaerts and Devers walk out the same door, it will be just as painful or more. Rooting for the laundry is for some people, but not me. I like getting attached to players and following their careers. I really hope this team doesn't turn into a churn and burn organization where they just cycle through players when they become expensive. Becoming the Dodgers is the goal. Pay your young star players while cycling in young star minor league talent.
Nobody cares whether John Henry saves a few bucks. Seriously. This is such a red herring.

People just have different views about what is the right way to manage a team in an luxury tax era where free spending has consequences on the field because of the rules of the game. (Edit -- and also on the impact long term of big free agent contracts.)

If you want to make an argument that luxury tax consequences are irrelevant and will not impact the ability of the team to win, so that they should spend freely, that's a valid argument. I don't personally agree, but it's a discussion worth having. But there's literally not a single person here who cares about the zeros in John Henry's bank account.
 

snowmanny

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Obviously ownership has a right to make money and obviously a lot of these big money contracts (and less big money contracts: Victorino, Kiké - one-year winders) blow up in their faces.

But guess what: under this ownership the Red Sox have always had big money contracts blow up in their faces and it is a fair assumption they always will. I want them to take the risk in Devers rather than the next Carl Crawford or the next David Price or the next combinations of Barnes and Story. ( edit Pablo and Hanley a better example)

They are going to blow the money either way - they always do - so do it on our superstar.
 

Seels

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I wonder how many posters we'd have left if everyone who threatened to leave if Mookie, Brady, etc left actually did leave
Some of us stay because we keep up with the culture of the team, and other Boston sports.

I think there's a real amount of people that either did leave or had a significant drop off after the Mookie trade, and you'll see it again when/if Devers happens. Part of it is that we're spoiled with championships, but part of it is that the culture of this team is absolutely not the culture that was present 15 years ago. They've taken the moneyball / Bill James approach to seemingly everything, and trying to run a team based off efficiencies might work for the Oakland Athletics, but it sure isn't a fun way to see stars, managers, and even announcers come and go in the AL East.
 

moondog80

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You couldn't have done a better job describing my thoughts on this topic. Great post. Why people care that John Henry saves a few bucks here and there is beyond me. I used to be like that, but taking management's side is tiring. I don't look at the roster and think "oh that's awesome they saved money by doing X or Y". This isn't a salary cap sport. I want the best team possible and that includes spending big for big-time players. Watching guys come through the system, getting to "know" them, and seeing them succeed is a fun thing. I understood why they traded Betts, but damn it was painful. If Bogaerts and Devers walk out the same door, it will be just as painful or more. Rooting for the laundry is for some people, but not me. I like getting attached to players and following their careers. I really hope this team doesn't turn into a churn and burn organization where they just cycle through players when they become expensive. Becoming the Dodgers is the goal. Pay your young star players while cycling in young star minor league talent.
Nobody cares that John Henry saves money. Literally nobody. They acknowledge that, while there is no salary cap, there are penalties in spending beyond a certain amount, both in terms of finance and the ability to add young players to the team, and that every organization in every sport has a limit to what they will spend. Within those realities, the Red Sox under John Henry have consistently been among the top spenders in the game, including in the post-Mookie Betts era. So yes, when they have a player who produces at a cheap cost, I think it's awesome. Not because I care about John Henry or because I root for players to not get paid, but because I root for the Red Sox, and the more they save on player X, the more they can spend elsewhere on the roster.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I almost wrote a post to this effect a couple of days ago, but the Bloom regime seems overly reminiscent of the late 80's/pretty much all of the 90's Gorman/Duquette eras. A lot of talk about financial responsibility, letting beloved players walk (often with hard feelings on the way out), multiple scrap heap pickups, and the occasional moderately splashy free agent signing. Those teams were frustrating and often boring, with occasional flashes of brilliance sprinkled in - a Tim Wakefield out of the dumpster, a Nomar developed from within. They seldom made the post season (admittedly harder then) and never challenged for a championship. Bloom in particular seems like Duquette, more interested in doing something clever than just getting out there and winning.

I followed those teams pretty closely but I'm less inclined to do that again. As I said, in hindsight, they were often boring teams and I find the random faceless players who repopulate our annually shuffled roster hard to care about (modern baseball with its 14 man pitching staffs, four inning starters and 8 interchangeable middle relievers doesn't help). Having been to the promised land of 20 years of very competitive teams and 4 championships, a +/- .500 team is just not going to compete with the other things going on in my life at this point.

In my mind, it's not accident that the Sox started winning championships when they stopped screwing around with cheap, stopgap solutions and started acquiring players like Manny and Pedro and Damon and Foulke. The Red Sox had the resources to do this on a way that other teams did not and they finally used their muscle to reach the top.

There's still room for Blooom to be clever just like Theo was clever in signing Ortiz and Bill Mueller, or developing Pedroia and Lester. If the Sox were to resign Devers and acquire Soto, there'd probably be even more need to be clever. There would still be plenty of need to develop cost-controlled young talent.

All that said, I'd be okay with letting Xander walk. He's already a bad shortstop. His bat won't play well enough at first (well, maybe if we've still got Dalbec and Franchy as the alternatives...). Devers is another story. He's a generational talent, they need to make every effort to keep him if they want me to remain day-to-day interested.

The Sox retain everything that made them successful in the early part of the Henry era - a deep pocketed owner, a large affluent catchment area of devoted fans, a treasured ballpark parked every night by those devoted fans plus a lot of tourists (paying the highest prices in baseball) a lucrative regional sports network, ever increasing national broadcast revenue. The only thing that we don't have, apparently, is a brain trust that doesn't seem particularly interested in exploiting those assets the way that it used to.
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Pretty clear from your Mookie posts that you feel this way. And it's completely legitimate. I actually don't think there is anyone that disagrees that it's best when the guys stay -- everyone feels that way. But it's a bit like shouting at clouds. The trends are against you. It's really not just the Red Sox. You just can't fall in love with players in 2022 and if you do you're going to be perpetually disappointed. Maybe you get lucky here and there. Maybe it will work out for Devers or Xander. But in the long run, this is just not the way of professional sports.

Not saying something you don't already know. But you're going to be disappointed. If not now, eventually. It's just inevitable. I'm not saying it's going to turn into European soccer. But it's going to get more like that than it is going to get less like that.
I know and it's something that I've thought about a lot over the last couple of seasons.

Baseball, as a whole, has gotten completely obsessed with efficiency and maximizing every dollar that they spend. And that's great for the people who run the business, the people who own the teams; that's what John Henry wants and Chaim Bloom would be stupid to go against his boss' wishes. But what John Henry wants out of the Boston Red Sox and baseball in general is in direct opposition of what I want from the sport. You're right, it is like screaming at clouds. It sucks that the Lowell Spinners don't exist any more. It sucks that the baseball draft is shorter. It sucks that "stick to the fucking script" mandate of MLB is followed to the letter.

One of the reasons why I like baseball is that it's unlike a lot of other sports, for lack of a better term, it's weird. Funky things happen in a sport like baseball. Baseball matters and it can be a connection to the community unlike any other sport--whether this happens on the major or minor league level. Sanding down the rough edges, making things more efficient; that's robbing baseball of its uniqueness and a lot of its soul. Maybe you don't care, and again that's cool, but I think that baseball is losing a lot more than fan interest. For 50 years, they've tried so hard to be like the NFL and it doesn't work for a billion reasons. But instead of leaning into what makes baseball BASEBALL, they keep moving away from it.

Do the people in power care? No. They're making money. Do "regular" fans care? No. It's just another sport. But I care, because I love baseball. I'm not anti-change or anti-progress, but you keep chipping away at the soul of the sport (and that includes trading players for dimes on the dollar) and something is going to break here. I'm not sure when, but it will.
 

Coachster

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I love baseball. I'll watch no matter what. Part of the reason I love it is that you can do other things while watching. The pace allows less attention than the other major sports.

However, there are guys you just love to watch hit, and you stop what you are doing to watch their plate appearance. Ortiz, especially near the end, was fascinating. He seemed to have reached this zen level with his hitting; each at bat was an individual war with the pitcher; an adventure. Manny was the same (to a lesser extent). I have to say, Devers is right there too. Every time he steps towards the plate you might see something you've never seen before.

X, not so much. He's a good hitter, but what he brings to the table is general competence and consistency.

I didn't start out as a Sox fan, so I don't have the whole 'I loved Yaz and Boomer and Nomar' thing going for me. I grew up idolizing Steve Garvey and Ron Cey. (Could I be any more boring?) Anyway, I adopted the Sox because I was here, so I might not be quite as sensitive about who they are, as long as they can play.

Lets see who they get to replace them. If we end looking like this year's Cubs, with 8 guys you've never heard of, I might do the pink hat thing and stay away till some people step up, but if there are guys to watch hit who are really good at it, I'll be around
 
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TapeAndPosts

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Of course you didn't say anything about New England falling into the ocean, it was a joke. Lighten up.

But you keep saying that Mookie didn't make the relationship (I'm assuming between him and the Sox) a "priority" and that's not correct. He didn't leave here. He was traded. If anyone in this relationship was downplaying the priority, it was the Sox who traded him.
Well, we will just have to disagree about that. If staying in Boston had been Mookie's priority, he had ample opportunity to make sure it happened. Something else was a bigger priority. He just wasn't that into us. Sucks I know, but there it is.

Players like Dustin and Papi (and Wake, and Varitek) stuck around. I hope we have more players like that, and honestly in the longer term I am pretty confident we will. Maybe Devers will be one of them. But for any individual player, it's up to them as well as the team, and for me personally I can't let any one player's decision control my feelings about the Red Sox.
 

Bread of Yaz

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What's interesting to me is the contrast to football. BB and the Pats are celebrated for their cold-blooded devotion to team first, their willingness to dispense with a player a year earlier rather than a year late, and other strategies that place little weight on retaining popular players because of their popularity. I guess its the nature of baseball, with minor leagues where loyalties get built up, and generally longer careers further entrenching that loyalty, which makes this approach harder to swallow.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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What's interesting to me is the contrast to football. BB and the Pats are celebrated for their cold-blooded devotion to team first, their willingness to dispense with a player a year earlier rather than a year late, and other strategies that place little weight on retaining popular players because of their popularity. I guess its the nature of baseball, with minor leagues where loyalties get built up, and generally longer careers further entrenching that loyalty, which makes this approach harder to swallow.
Football has a hard salary cap for all teams, which greatly affects team construction. Football players have a much higher rate of both injury and falloff in production.

I think it's the football mentality that's penetrated the baseball mentality. Not the other way around.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I know and it's something that I've thought about a lot over the last couple of seasons.

Baseball, as a whole, has gotten completely obsessed with efficiency and maximizing every dollar that they spend. And that's great for the people who run the business, the people who own the teams; that's what John Henry wants and Chaim Bloom would be stupid to go against his boss' wishes. But what John Henry wants out of the Boston Red Sox and baseball in general is in direct opposition of what I want from the sport. You're right, it is like screaming at clouds. It sucks that the Lowell Spinners don't exist any more. It sucks that the baseball draft is shorter. It sucks that "stick to the fucking script" mandate of MLB is followed to the letter.

One of the reasons why I like baseball is that it's unlike a lot of other sports, for lack of a better term, it's weird. Funky things happen in a sport like baseball. Baseball matters and it can be a connection to the community unlike any other sport--whether this happens on the major or minor league level. Sanding down the rough edges, making things more efficient; that's robbing baseball of its uniqueness and a lot of its soul. Maybe you don't care, and again that's cool, but I think that baseball is losing a lot more than fan interest. For 50 years, they've tried so hard to be like the NFL and it doesn't work for a billion reasons. But instead of leaning into what makes baseball BASEBALL, they keep moving away from it.

Do the people in power care? No. They're making money. Do "regular" fans care? No. It's just another sport. But I care, because I love baseball. I'm not anti-change or anti-progress, but you keep chipping away at the soul of the sport (and that includes trading players for dimes on the dollar) and something is going to break here. I'm not sure when, but it will.
It's hard. The winning is seductive. You start to think that you'll take a corporate edge-polished product for that feeling once every 10 years or so. But you do lose in the process. I loved the Red Sox maybe more before 2004 than after and it's for many of the reasons that you note. Yaz. Mike Greenwell. Ellis Burks. Jason Varitek. Pedro obviously. Those are the reasons why. But that has been replaced with some amazing memories. Mitch Moreland came and went, but I'll never forget some of those moments, and his tenure on the Sox probably reflects more of the efficient soul-sucking approach.

Stuff changes. Not just baseball. And if it gets too far from my romanticized version, I'll be bummed but move on to other interests. Some of this is grass is always greener stuff. For example, the Fenway experience is pretty incredible now. I romanticize going in the 70s with my dad, but the truth is that it's a much more pleasant experience now and there's no doubt that the current owners have been good stewards to the best venue in American sports. Maybe because they had a financial incentive. And obviously the prices of going to the game are absurdly high relative to what they were in the past. But just in terms of the park itself, can we go back? Would we? Would we realize that what is in our imagination is not quite what it was in reality?

Dunno. Hard questions.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, and it’s cool to keep the team together now, but will anyone be thrilled if the team is paying a 36 year old, hobbled, Xander Boagerts $32M? Hell, it’s sort of happening now with Sale and it’s not pretty. Things change, many of the legendary Red Sox players did not end their careers in Boston. As far my own fandom, I can’t imagine losing any one player impacting it much. Players have always come and gone.

OTOH, if the team doesn’t give the money to the free agents they have, they’ll end up giving comparable amounts of money to other guys we have no attachment to (like with Lester - Price), or they won’t be competitive for a bit. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

How often have the Sox signed one of their marquee players when it gets to the final year of the contract? When it gets to this point, seems like the player has often already visualized themselves leaving.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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How often have the Sox signed one of their marquee players when it gets to the final year of the contract? When it gets to this point, seems like the player has often already visualized themselves leaving.
The only one I can recall is Varitek. Wakefield too, but he signed such a weird deal that I don't find it applicable to any other situation. I don't believe Pedroia ever got to the last year of his contract before his extension.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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It's hard. The winning is seductive. You start to think that you'll take a corporate edge-polished product for that feeling once every 10 years or so. But you do lose in the process. I loved the Red Sox maybe more before 2004 than after and it's for many of the reasons that you note. Yaz. Mike Greenwell. Ellis Burks. Jason Varitek. Pedro obviously. Those are the reasons why. But that has been replaced with some amazing memories. Mitch Moreland came and went, but I'll never forget some of those moments, and his tenure on the Sox probably reflects more of the efficient soul-sucking approach.

Stuff changes. Not just baseball. And if it gets too far from my romanticized version, I'll be bummed but move on to other interests. Some of this is grass is always greener stuff. For example, the Fenway experience is pretty incredible now. I romanticize going in the 70s with my dad, but the truth is that it's a much more pleasant experience now and there's no doubt that the current owners have been good stewards to the best venue in American sports. Maybe because they had a financial incentive. And obviously the prices of going to the game are absurdly high relative to what they were in the past. But just in terms of the park itself, can we go back? Would we? Would we realize that what is in our imagination is not quite what it was in reality?

Dunno. Hard questions.
You're right. I don't want what I wrote to be a nostalgia trip, because it's not. There's a lot about baseball that I like now, the Fenway experience is one of them. Who liked pissing in a trough? I like that the DH is universal. I like the wild card games. I like the WBC. I like that there's going to be a pitch clock really soon.

The point of what I was writing earlier wasn't that progress is bad, because it's not; but that progress for efficiency isn't always great. You lose some stuff along the way. Watching MLB cut the minors down to what they are today angers me far more than Mookie Betts leaving Boston.

If you haven't read "Rethinking Fandom" by Craig Calcaterra, you should. That recommendation isn't just for DDB, it's for everyone.
 

TomBrunansky23

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I am a Red Sox fan and I will die as such with the same level of insanity and bellicosity as I have always had since October of 1986 when as a punk 8 year old I told every Mets "fan" on my school bus to F off. They have been a part of my soul ever since.

I'm beyond past the point of wanting to re-litigate Mookie for the millionth time. Frankly, someone needs to get in his ear out in LA and tell him to STFU about it and worry about being a Dodger. These last set of comments lack any credibility and make him look like either an idiot or a liar. The world crashed down, and he grabbed what he could grab despite earlier comments made under different circumstances, and there's nothing wrong with that...but don't piss down my leg, Marcus Lynn, and tell me it's raining. There is no way he signs his present contract with the Red Sox after 2018 or in 2019, so just stop.

I love Xander. Xander has been an outstanding example of what a Red Sox developed player should become. A leader, a producer, a championship-level player. No I do not wish to pay premium money for Xander's decline. No I do not wish to be the Detroit Tigers. Yes I am excited to see Marcelo Mayer or Nick Yorke or any of the other half-dozen shortstops they've drafted in the last 5 years make us all forget Xander...just as Ellsbury made us forget Damon, and Betts made us forget Ellsbury, etc. etc. etc. That's what sustainable and forward-thinking franchises do, and we have the four straps won with four different rosters to prove it.

Devers is a different case. A serious, major market organization pulls out all stops to keep a player like him at his age and with a higher ceiling to reach and a path to usability as a 1B or DH into the back half of the contract. A serious, major market organization also has all its boy geniuses in a basement conference room somewhere figuring out what, when, and how on Soto, who is an equal or superior generational talent to Devers. The Boston Red Sox(TM) - a global brand with nearly limitless financial resources - had better be all in just as I am sure other equivalent titans (NYY, LAD, NYM, Cubs, PHI) will be. Yes, the Red Sox can afford both. Yes, the Red Sox need to seriously consider a package to get Soto and a full court press to sign him thereafter. Yes, the Red Sox can creatively assemble a competitive roster around the two of them (pointing right to you, Chaim).

Now, if neither happens, will I turn my back on them? No, just like I didn't turn my back on them in 2014 and 2015 when they were disassembled piece by piece. It will be depressing but I'll trudge on, as I suspect just about all of you will do as well. And another way will be found, eventually.
 

cantor44

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Not securing Betts ITSELF long term was a significant blow to my fandom.

My feeling was this: This was a generational talent, in every sense of the word: five-tool player, who was intelligent, humble, an up-standing guy, homegrown player, attractive in every sense, who was still on the young side of his prime. If there is ever a time to give a mega contract, it is exactly for a guy like Betts. What's more - in a city, a ballpark, and an organization, with an ugly racist past, it felt heartbreaking to let an African-American star player go. I understand demographics can't be a criteria for player acquisition. But to me, an added bonus was that the great wave of homegrown players Betts was a part of, was largely comprised of players of color. A balm to a bad history. It still stings to think about it honestly - I can't think of any other fan blow that bad, except maybe the late 70s exodus of Lynn and Pudge.

To let him walk seemed crazy. To sign an injured Chris Sale, in a sense in front of prioritizing Betts seemed daft at the time - absurd even. I think the organization is still in the aftershocks of 2018-19 off seasons, and hasn't quite rediscovered its balance.

If both X and Devers take the same route, that will indeed be crushing. And will kill some more enthusiasm. I do think X is a complicated case, and I can understand the organization hesitating given his age, and so so D. But I do love him - another great guy, so appealing. But if they let BOTH players go, well, fuck. I'll keep watching, but ....with even less enthusiasm. Recoverable, but it would take time - years even.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
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Sep 20, 2005
6,594
How often have the Sox signed one of their marquee players when it gets to the final year of the contract? When it gets to this point, seems like the player has often already visualized themselves leaving.
I feel like this is the norm -- players that hit FA usually end up leaving. The top 12 guys FA on Fangraphs this past year all switched teams. Only 4 of the top 30 stayed put. The top 4 FA included guy who left the Astros. Dodgers, and Blue Jays, all teams with a recent history of spending freely (to different degrees).
 

RedOctober3829

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Jul 19, 2005
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Nobody cares that John Henry saves money. Literally nobody. They acknowledge that, while there is no salary cap, there are penalties in spending beyond a certain amount, both in terms of finance and the ability to add young players to the team, and that every organization in every sport has a limit to what they will spend. Within those realities, the Red Sox under John Henry have consistently been among the top spenders in the game, including in the post-Mookie Betts era. So yes, when they have a player who produces at a cheap cost, I think it's awesome. Not because I care about John Henry or because I root for players to not get paid, but because I root for the Red Sox, and the more they save on player X, the more they can spend elsewhere on the roster.
You(collective you, not directing at you specifically) care if Henry saves money if you support letting a superstar talent like Devers walk out the door. Yes, you are correct that the Red Sox have been among the top spenders in the game since Henry took over. I just am wondering if that is about to change and we'll get a good indicator as to how the Bogaerts and Devers situations play out. I can understand why not locking up a 30 year old Xander to a long-term big money deal is a bad idea. I really do. But, I can not see it with Rafael Devers. I do agree with you that young, cost-controlled players are absolutely necessary to the operation and your point that saving on player X to get more expensive player Y is spot on. I just am very annoyed at the continued low-balling of prominent players. They expect that every star who is up for a new deal to take a below-market contract.

If you don't want to pay your homegrown stars once they are up for a contract, then you better damn well be churning out supreme minor league talent year after year. There is not much major league ready talent quite yet and the most promising guys are a couple years away.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
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Sep 20, 2005
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You(collective you, not directing at you specifically) care if Henry saves money if you support letting a superstar talent like Devers walk out the door.
I support letting Devers walk out the door if it means the money is spent elsewhere in a way they think results in more wins (i.e., Henry doesn't save money).

If he walks and Henry's profit goes up proportionally then no, I don't support that.
 

Jimbodandy

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Perhaps. Perhaps not.

After winning a couple of WS with Pujols, they haven't won one since he departed. There may not be a direct correlation but Pujols' blood was still quite warm when he departed for Anaheim.

Maybe he would have made a difference in the near-misses they had in 2012 and 2013, though. Perhaps not, but there's an opportunity cost there.
The Sox walked away from Pedro's salary demands in 2004 and didn't look back. For many of us, Pedro was the all-time favorite pitcher. Still is for me. Like, he's on a short list of people for whom I'd uber to the hospital to donate a kidney and shit.

I'm glad that they didn't tie down payroll for a guy with one good year left, because they repurposed that money for guys who could help them win in 2007. We won 3 after 2004 with this approach.

edit: frankly, some of what's killing this payroll now is guys like Sale and, to a lesser extent, Eovaldi, who were extended because guys fell in love when them when they shouldn't have.
 

cantor44

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The Sox walked away from Pedro's salary demands in 2004 and didn't look back. For many of us, Pedro was the all-time favorite pitcher. Still is for me. Like, he's on a short list of people for whom I'd uber to the hospital to donate a kidney and shit.

I'm glad that they didn't tie down payroll for a guy with one good year left, because they repurposed that money for guys who could help them win in 2007. We won 3 after 2004 with this approach.

edit: frankly, some of what's killing this payroll now is guys like Sale and, to a lesser extent, Eovaldi, who were extended because guys fell in love when them when they shouldn't have.
Yes, the decision to sign extensions should be informed by age and health history. Not extending Pedro any further was sensible. Guys like Betts, and now Devers, are different.
 

nighthob

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Jul 15, 2005
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I love X but don’t love the prospect of paying his next contract. In fact, I outright hope we don’t. So, letting him go won’t impact me at all. Devers is a different story. He’s a young star hitter who probably hasn’t reached his offensive ceiling. Letting him go would piss me off unless some random team goes full Soto on him or something.
I’m with you, I’d rather they trade him to LA for Miguel Vargas and a lottery ticket than pay for his late 30s.
 

mikeford

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Aug 6, 2006
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Xander I would like to stay for purely sentimental reasons but if he thinks his worth is in the same tier as the FA SS class coming up, god love him go get that bag.

Devers on the other hand should be locked down at any cost, IMO. Sure, the team will soldier on without any one player. But players his age with his power and his hit tool do not grow on trees and letting that walk out the door means your lineup has a massive goddamn hole in it until you manage to find someone else who fills that. Maybe Marcelo Mayer is that guy, I don't know. But given that we already have Mr. Mayer and he plays a different position, I would rather have both of them. And if instead, we let Devers walk over nothing but money, I am going to be mad about it and hold it against the organization for years.
 

Daniel_Son

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May 25, 2021
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I almost wrote a post to this effect a couple of days ago, but the Bloom regime seems overly reminiscent of the late 80's/pretty much all of the 90's Gorman/Duquette eras. A lot of talk about financial responsibility, letting beloved players walk (often with hard feelings on the way out), multiple scrap heap pickups, and the occasional moderately splashy free agent signing. Those teams were frustrating and often boring, with occasional flashes of brilliance sprinkled in - a Tim Wakefield out of the dumpster, a Nomar developed from within. They seldom made the post season (admittedly harder then) and never challenged for a championship. Bloom in particular seems like Duquette, more interested in doing something clever than just getting out there and winning.

I followed those teams pretty closely but I'm less inclined to do that again. As I said, in hindsight, they were often boring teams and I find the random faceless players who repopulate our annually shuffled roster hard to care about (modern baseball with its 14 man pitching staffs, four inning starters and 8 interchangeable middle relievers doesn't help). Having been to the promised land of 20 years of very competitive teams and 4 championships, a +/- .500 team is just not going to compete with the other things going on in my life at this point.

In my mind, it's not accident that the Sox started winning championships when they stopped screwing around with cheap, stopgap solutions and started acquiring players like Manny and Pedro and Damon and Foulke. The Red Sox had the resources to do this on a way that other teams did not and they finally used their muscle to reach the top.

There's still room for Blooom to be clever just like Theo was clever in signing Ortiz and Bill Mueller, or developing Pedroia and Lester. If the Sox were to resign Devers and acquire Soto, there'd probably be even more need to be clever. There would still be plenty of need to develop cost-controlled young talent.

All that said, I'd be okay with letting Xander walk. He's already a bad shortstop. His bat won't play well enough at first (well, maybe if we've still got Dalbec and Franchy as the alternatives...). Devers is another story. He's a generational talent, they need to make every effort to keep him if they want me to remain day-to-day interested.

The Sox retain everything that made them successful in the early part of the Henry era - a deep pocketed owner, a large affluent catchment area of devoted fans, a treasured ballpark parked every night by those devoted fans plus a lot of tourists (paying the highest prices in baseball) a lucrative regional sports network, ever increasing national broadcast revenue. The only thing that we don't have, apparently, is a brain trust that doesn't seem particularly interested in exploiting those assets the way that it used to.
I'm sorry, but what???

Besides Mookie - which, given that it was literally the first move Bloom made when he got here, makes me think it was an JHW mandate and something he didn't have a lot of say in - which "beloved player" have they let walk? X + Devers are still here.

Since Bloom took over, they missed the postseason in a 60-game 2020 season. They followed that by coming 2 games away from the WS, which included a steamrolling of NY and Tampa. This year, they had a crappy start, but followed with a great May and one of the best Junes in team history. How does that translate to Bloom "seldom making the postseason" and "never challenging for a championship"?
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
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One thing I think doesn't get enough attention is that the luxury tax penalties during the Mookie trade/DD era were more punitive than they are now. I don't think the team shows quite that much respect for the CBT threshold, especially if they institute an international draft. The Red Sox can have a $281M payroll in 2025 before they're dinged by any sort of roster-building penalty, and even that is minor (a draft pick at 35 instead of our typical slot at roughly 25).

I like Bloom and think this FO has a good mix of analytics and heart. I have a lot of trust in them. I think the majority of Boston media, however, is made up of conservative old guard goofballs who know exactly how to stoke outrage in the fanbase. Most of these stories about contract negotiations between Bogaerts and Devers seem geared to do exactly that. There's an entrenched narrative about Mookie that's been framed as though something has been taken from us, and that sets up an endless stream of folo stories designed to twist that same emotional nerve. I don't think negotiations with Devers and Bogaerts are as strained as they're portrayed.

But I feel the same as JMOH and others exhausted by the (world's) obsession with efficiency and economic reasoning. I am grateful that among MLB ownership groups, ours are comfortably on the good side -- they do want to spend and win, and their social principles are much better than they could be. I think it's terrible that Mookie is not a Red Sox, but also that it's reasonable the team thought that 5'9" outfielders don't age particularly well in today's game. I think there were decent team-building reasons not to exceed the cap back then.

Those reasons are less decent now, but I'll reserve my frustration for when Bogaerts and Devers are actually gone. I think X is having a good year, but one that more transparently belies his potential decline at the plate. He's a much better hitter at Fenway, and I'm not sure which of the few teams that can a) afford him, and b) need a shortstop value him higher than we do. Devers we need to keep, and I think we will. I think there's a path for both Devers, Bogaerts and Soto to all play for this team, but I'm also prepared for X to sign with the Cubs.

Lastly, I don't think Bloom's plan is done yet. If we get Soto, then I think it rationalizes a lot of what we've been frustrated by the last few years.
 

Seels

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What's interesting to me is the contrast to football. BB and the Pats are celebrated for their cold-blooded devotion to team first, their willingness to dispense with a player a year earlier rather than a year late, and other strategies that place little weight on retaining popular players because of their popularity. I guess its the nature of baseball, with minor leagues where loyalties get built up, and generally longer careers further entrenching that loyalty, which makes this approach harder to swallow.
Well this is a really obvious answer - no one in the Red Sox FO really deserves anywhere near the trust that Belichick does. Even then, Belichick isn't above criticism. But you'd never see an albatross like Carl Crawford or Pablo Sandoval on a Belichick team, and you'd certainly never see whatever happened with Orsillo on a Kraft team.

While the Mookie and Brady things happened weeks apart, one completely lost me as a fan, and the other was justifiable, if not, expected. I'm not above criticizing the Pats -- I've hated their 2019 2020 and 2022 drafts, as an example. But you still have the faith that long term, they have a plan. I haven't had that faith with regards to the Sox since Theo left the first time.
 

Jimbodandy

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Yes, the decision to sign extensions should be informed by age and health history. Not extending Pedro any further was sensible. Guys like Betts, and now Devers, are different.
It wasn't just sensible. Sensible implies that you're just ok on the matter. It was important. It was a brilliant decision, because Pedro wasn't worth the contract that he got. It would have hamstrung the team.

Jon Lester is one that a lot of people still grouse about. Were his 12 bWAR worth what Chicago paid him? Does ownership here go out and build the 2018 world series champions the same way that they did if they're paying Jon Lester 25MM for 0.6 wins in 2017? Probably not.
 

Seels

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It wasn't just sensible. Sensible implies that you're just ok on the matter. It was important. It was a brilliant decision, because Pedro wasn't worth the contract that he got. It would have hamstrung the team.

Jon Lester is one that a lot of people still grouse about. Were his 12 bWAR worth what Chicago paid him? Does ownership here go out and build the 2018 world series champions the same way that they did if they're paying Jon Lester 25MM for 0.6 wins in 2017? Probably not.
I don't think the Sox sign Price if they keep Lester. They paid Price $169m for 9.7 war.

Pretty sure they still win in 2018 with Lester.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
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Well this is a really obvious answer - no one in the Red Sox FO really deserves anywhere near the trust that Belichick does. Even then, Belichick isn't above criticism. But you'd never see an albatross like Carl Crawford or Pablo Sandoval on a Belichick team, and you'd certainly never see whatever happened with Orsillo on a Kraft team.
If the NFL had guaranteed contracts and didn't let you cut underperforming players, you'd definitely see albatrosses like Crawford and Sandoval on a Belichick team.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yes, the decision to sign extensions should be informed by age and health history. Not extending Pedro any further was sensible. Guys like Betts, and now Devers, are different.
Are they, though? We are in year three of Betts deal…ten more to go.

Devers seems different because he’s younger and has more prime years to go….but that likely just means he will require a 12 year deal instead of 8.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
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Sep 20, 2005
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If the NFL had guaranteed contracts and didn't let you cut underperforming players, you'd definitely see albatrosses like Crawford and Sandoval on a Belichick team.
I'm not sure about that -- if contracts in the NFL were fully guaranteed, the kind of contracts they hand out would change radically, right?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

All Hail King Boron
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May 20, 2003
33,069
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I don't think the Sox sign Price if they keep Lester. They paid Price $169m for 9.7 war.

Pretty sure they still win in 2018 with Lester.
Not only that, the Sox made an insultingly low offer to Lester: 4/$70. This was done in the early part of the season IIRC, and it was a clear sign that the Sox had zero intention of re-signing him at all. When they then couldn't come to an accommodation, they traded him away. This was an exact preview of the way the Mookie situation played out later. And the most frustrating thing about THAT was that the replay showed that ownership had either learned nothing from the Lester experience, or had and were OK with it.

To add insult to injury, Lester was 1) very popular with the fans, 2) pitching very well at the time of his trade, 3) would continue to pitch well for Chicago and help lead them to the long-awaited WS title, 4) the trade took place in the middle of two consecutive last-place finishes, and 5) the Sox wound up paying a lot more money for a less popular and less effective pitcher in the person of David Price, although he did play a big role in 2018 which salves a lot of wounds.
 

Seels

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If the NFL had guaranteed contracts and didn't let you cut underperforming players, you'd definitely see albatrosses like Crawford and Sandoval on a Belichick team.
I mean - maybe - but this is really kind of making my point? The MLB doesn't have a cap and the Red Sox were hamstrung by these obvious bad contracts they never needed to make in their first year?

Can you see any scenario in which Belichick signs a guy like Pablo Sandoval? What's the worst contract Belichick gave out, Adalius Thomas? Shawn Springs?
 

Seels

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Not only that, the Sox made an insultingly low offer to Lester: 4/$70. This was done in the early part of the season IIRC, and it was a clear sign that the Sox had zero intention of re-signing him at all. When they then couldn't come to an accommodation, they traded him away. This was an exact preview of the way the Mookie situation played out later.

To add insult to injury, Lester was 1) very popular with the fans, 2) pitching very well at the time of his trade, 3) would continue to pitch well for Chicago and help lead them to the long-awaited WS title, 4) the trade took place in the middle of two consecutive last-place finishes, and 5) the Sox wound up paying a lot more money for a less popular and less effective pitcher in the person of David Price, although he did play a big role in 2018 which salves a lot of wounds.
Well right, and this is why I say not everything is in a vacuum. I don't think people would be as upset with the Mookie stuff if we didn't see the exact stuff playout with Lester just 6 years earlier (or whatever it is). Now we're seemingly seeing it play out in real time with Devers.

Lester Mookie and Pedroia are my three favorite players of my lifetime. It's beyond disappointing that two of them the team didn't have high opinions on, and the third had his career involuntarily ended by Manny Machado.
 

brs3

sings praises of pinstripes
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May 20, 2008
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If you haven't read "Rethinking Fandom" by Craig Calcaterra, you should. That recommendation isn't just for DDB, it's for everyone.
This book confirmed a lot of my feelings in recent years and has made me embrace watching more baseball but less Red Sox, and exploring different sports from a casual fans perspective. I feel like this book would hit well for anyone in the 40ish+ age bracket.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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I want players I like to stick around but I also don't want to see the last years of Pedroia on the team. I don't give a flying fuck about John Henry saving money or whatever other bullshit is thrown at posters that point out budget issues with long term contracts. The amount of money players make is obscene. Fucking obscene. The amount of money John Henry makes off the team is obscene. It's disgusting. The amount it cost to go see a damn game is stupid. My honest preference is for professional sports to all just go the fuck away. Take a small chunk of their salaries and pay our fucking teachers and public workers and health care home workers. The fact that I still pay attention to baseball and professional sports in general makes me hate myself.... but as long as it's still there I can't stop looking. Our culture is completely out of whack and the fact that Henry and Devers are feeling "insulted" over the difference of $2 million per year is insanity.

All that said... I'll still watch the Red Sox with or without players I've grown to care about. Out of Devers and Xander, I think Xander makes more sense to sign what the stupid market will determine.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I want players I like to stick around but I also don't want to see the last years of Pedroia on the team. I don't give a flying fuck about John Henry saving money or whatever other bullshit is thrown at posters that point out budget issues with long term contracts. The amount of money players make is obscene. Fucking obscene. The amount of money John Henry makes off the team is obscene. It's disgusting. The amount it cost to go see a damn game is stupid. My honest preference is for professional sports to all just go the fuck away. Take a small chunk of their salaries and pay our fucking teachers and public workers and health care home workers. The fact that I still pay attention to baseball and professional sports in general makes me hate myself.... but as long as it's still there I can't stop looking. Our culture is completely out of whack and the fact that Henry and Devers are feeling "insulted" over the difference of $2 million per year is insanity.

All that said... I'll still watch the Red Sox with or without players I've grown to care about. Out of Devers and Xander, I think Xander makes more sense to sign what the stupid market will determine.
Huh. I was trying to find these figures earlier. Is his Red Sox income actually posted somewhere?