Since the Jon Lester negotiations fell apart, or turned out exactly how the Sox wanted, depending on who you ask, they've been busy. Last night they acquired Wade Miley from Arizona for Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Then in the last few hours they've unloaded Cespedes, getting Rick Porcello in return from the Tigers and during my original attempt to write this signed Justin Masterson. People are and will overreact to this in both directions. Some people will complain that they're signing all #3 starters and that's all they'll have. Others will overhype these guys and look at the potential. These deals will likely fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I just question their strategy.
In all likelihood the Red Sox will acquire an "ace" by Opening Day. If by ace, you mean a name we've all heard before. The names Shields, Hammels, and Cueto will be tossed around, at least for a few days. But why are the Red Sox operating like this? These moves happening so immediately after Lester signed with the Cubs proves that I was right about the Red Sox true feelings, in never wanting to sign Lester. And when you break it down, probably for good reason. They saw a league full of aging pitchers with beg deals that weren't performing. I don't agree that Lester would have been that guy, but they have history on their side. So are you going to give 5 years to James Shields, who is older than Lester? Or do you sell the farm for Hammels or Cueto? A farm systemthat has taken a couple years to rebuild to the level it's at now. I'm all for trading prospects, but are those really the guys you want to do it for? Neither of them have ever had to pitch in the American League. And as for Shields, we saw him underperform in the playoffs this year, and while he's been a serviceable pitcher, no one could argue that he's a true ace.
It may be a hard pill for the Sox and their fans to swallow, but the second they traded Lester, they should've gotten into rebuilding mode. The signings they made will likely keep them out of the basement this year. But unless they bring back Johnny Gomes and Kevin Millar to perform whatever witchcraft they did in '04 and '13, they aren't a championship team. And yes, they have a lot of men who are able to make a major league roster, offensively. However it's not the offense everyone is making it out to be. The core of your lineup is a, nearly 40 DH, an MVP second baseman whose had trouble staying on the field and underperformed the last few years, and a brand new, overweight 3rd baseman who has never played in this environment. They're taking the approach of the Yankees in the early 2000's, without the name recognition.
They have a mish mosh of systems and philosophies that have created one giant shit storm of a roster. They have a group of young guys waiting in the wings with nowhere to play. A core of veterans, some still in their prime, some just over the hill. And a group of role players who would be nice on a championship caliber team, but instead have to be top of the rotation or middle of the order guys. The Red Sox need to decide which direction they're heading. Do they want to give the young guys a chance and see what they can do? Or are they all in on making a championship run? Because they obviously can't handle both.