Baseball, Columnists, Sports

On-Deck Circle: An offseason to forget for the Red Sox

Come the end of March or the beginning of April every year, there is a certain buzz around Kenmore and Fenway. 

Chloe Patel | Senior Graphic Artist

Boston residents, being from a city with a rich sports culture and history, know the sights and sounds of the ballpark are right around the corner. 

But to me, this year feels different already — in a bad way. 

The season is still young, the full Red Sox roster reported to spring training yesterday.

So how can I, as well as other Red Sox fans, already be feeling so negative about the upcoming season? 

A month ago, I wrote about the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offseason spending spree, signing top free agents and putting themselves miles above every other team. Ex-Red Sox and current-Dodgers star Mookie Betts told reporters that every game they play will be the other team’s World Series. 

In that column, I also wrote about how the success of a team’s offseason is marked by the moves the front office makes off the field, signing key free agents or trading players to improve their roster. 

This offseason for the Red Sox has been disappointing, to say the least.

While the team did a great job at sending key players away, what they failed to do was bring real impact players into Boston. 

In December, the Sox traded outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees for three young pitchers. A few weeks later, the team dealt starting pitcher Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves in return for infielder Vaughn Grissom. 

Grissom will be a solid addition to the Red Sox defense as an average fielder, making 10 errors in a little less than 180 innings in the last two years. It’s not a big enough move to satisfy the diehard fans who call Fenway Park a second home, though. 

Earlier in the offseason, the team acquired outfielder Tyler O’Neill from the Cardinals, as well as signed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito to bolster a lackluster rotation. 

Just yesterday, the team signed Liam Hendriks, an All-Star closer. The only problem? The team already has an All-Star-caliber closer in Kenley Jansen. 

These moves just are not enough to move a team that finished last in their division for the second consecutive season to anywhere near contention. 

One could argue that the team is in a rebuilding phase. 

According to, the team had the No. 14 best farm system last year, bringing up a few consistent players from AA and AAA, but showed nothing special. 

The team can’t expect to improve greatly, ranking No. 13 in this year’s rankings. 

While there are a few promising prospects making their way up to the big leagues, such as Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony and Kyle Teel, these players can be hit or miss. 

Boston has put so much pressure on their farm system by staying relatively quiet in the offseason. It could take years for these players to develop and make a true difference in the MLB, and that’s if they even pan out. 

It could be my impatience, not wanting to watch another 162 games of Red Sox mediocrity, but the quiet offseason will probably mean another long season for Sox fans. 

Last year, I gave the Sox the benefit of the doubt and wrote how they would surprise the league and do well.

I can’t make that mistake again. 

The team can’t hope to contend with their division foes, like the Yankees and Orioles, who both made big offseason splashes. 

The Yankees not only acquired Verdugo from the Sox, but traded for slugger Juan Soto and signed pitcher Marcus Stroman. The Orioles boosted their rotation by acquiring Corbin Burnes, the 2021 Cy Young winner.

For all I know, this might be part of the big blueprint plan the Red Sox front office drew up. 

They might be okay with a few more years of finishing the season in the AL East basement. 

But for a city known as the “Titletown,” fans won’t settle for being a “small-market team” as they’ve made themselves out to be this season. 

It will take a lot to turn this team around, and it might be a long time before “Dirty Water” is a daily listen at Fenway, as it has been for ages.

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