Let’s be very clear: the Red Sox could very easily be the talk of baseball this morning.They knew the Marlins were entering everything-must-go! mode. They knew it would take little more than money to acquire Jose Reyes (left), Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.
They could have pulled off the exact same deal the Blue Jays reportedly swung last night that radically alters the landscape of the American League East.
And it would’ve been a mistake.
The Red Sox proved they’re committed to the long haul when they shipped a quarter of a billion dollars of talent to the Dodgers. Making a deal like yesterday’s would’ve invalidated that trade and left the Sox chasing the quick fix that got them into this mess.
That doesn’t make it a bad deal for the Jays, however. Toronto needs to win now and with the AL East in flux, picked the perfect time to strike. The Jays could legitimately contend in 2013, and even though the deal will undoubtedly hurt them thereafter, they’re willing to role the dice.
According to FoxSports.com, the Jays will get pretty much every good player on the Florida roster (non-Giancarlo Stanton division), in a blockbuster that rivals Sox-Dodgers in its audacity.
The Jays began the offseason with massive holes in their starting rotation, uneasiness about continuing with homophobic-slur-sporting shortstop Yunel Escobar, and a gaping hole at second base.
Now they’ve got former ERA champ Josh Johnson, who’s entering that pivotal second season removed from Tommy John surgery, as well as steady veteran Mark Buehrle, the second-winningest active left-hander in baseball, trailing only CC Sabathia (and maybe Andy Pettitte, if he doesn’t retire).
They’ve added four-time All-Star Jose Reyes at shortstop and stolen base machine Emilio Bonifacio, who can play second and center. They even got catcher John Buck, a former All-Star who has rapidly declined.
The impact on the Red Sox is immediate. When examining their respective core talent, the Sox and Jays already appeared relatively equal. If Dustin Pedroia-David Ortiz-Jon Lester-Clay Buchholz-Will Middlebrooks surpassed Jose Bautista-Edwin Encarnacion-Brett Lawrie-Ricky Romero, it wasn’t by much. Now the Jays win that race handily.
In the short term, this hurts the Red Sox. They are without a doubt the worst team in the division as we sit.
But the short-term isn’t the priority. No matter how much a move projects to improve them in 2013, the Red Sox will abstain if there’s any chance it hurts them in 2014 or beyond.
That’s why they sat out yesterday’s blockbuster and that’s why it was the right move. Buehrle has bad lifetime numbers against the Red Sox (6-8, 4.64) and terrible ones against the Yankees (1-8, 6.38), and he’s owed $48 million over the next three years.
Reyes, meanwhile, is only in the second year of his six-year, $106 million megadeal, and the last four years of that contract have albatross written all over them.
So be patient, Red Sox fans. Your 2013 hill just got even steeper, but no matter what happens between now and Opening Day, just make peace with this:
It’s not about 2013.
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