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  Monday, April 21, 2014
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Overdoing It?
By Paul Noonan

     Watching the Red Sox this summer is reminiscent of some of the teams I’ve ‘managed’ to greatness in video games. There’s really no rules. Just add the best players you can and dominate the season. That strategy has worked quite often on PS2 or Xbox. In reality money doesn’t always win; it’s a little more complicated to put those pieces together. Or so I thought. The Sox are looking more like the Yankees this summer, trying to buy everything and anything out there, as opposed to just picking a guy or two and going and getting him.

     It appeared as though the acquisitions of Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett would be the Sox’s big move of the summer. For many teams it would be, a #1 quality, young pitcher as well as a power hitting third baseman, many teams could use that duo right now. However, the Sox don’t seem to feel that’s enough. Over the last week, the Sox have added one of the better second basemen in the league (Mark Loretta) as well as shipping away an all- star shortstop (Edgar Renteria). The latter move looks like it will likely become the foundation for another blockbuster trade, even bigger than the Lowell/Beckett trade.  The Sox now need a SS and still want to get rid of future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez. On top of that the Sox are rumored to be interested in bringing ‘The Rocket’ back to Boston for an encore (which by the way would only give us 8 starting pitchers). Rumors have also swirled that the Sox are trying to acquire outfielder Bobby Abreu as well as trade Matt Clement, and even Trot Nixon’s name has come up as well.

     Confused yet? I hope not because we haven’t even begun. The Mike Lowell acquisition lead to Bill Mueller’s departure (to Los Angeles) because the Sox didn’t need three third basemen, or do they? Youkilis looks to be the back- up in the hot corner again, but in the Renteria deal the Sox acquired a highly touted third base prospect in Andy Marte. That means the Sox probably don’t have either Youkilis or Lowell or both in their long term plans. Speaking of Renteria, last year the Sox passed on re- signing Orlando Cabrera who became a fan favorite in just three months in Boston because they didn’t want to sign a shortstop to a long term deal because of prospect Hanley Ramirez. Then they went and signed Renteria to a four year deal worth $40 million. Then just a year later H. Ramirez gets shipped to Florida as part of the Beckett/Lowell deal. Yet only weeks later Renteria gets shipped out as well, thus leaving a vacancy in a position that the Sox had filled for years to come. The same can be said for the Mark Loretta deal. The Sox gave up back- up catcher Doug Mirabelli, presumably opening the spot for a minor league prospect, which isn’t that hard of a hit, but why did we need Loretta again? Prospect Dustin Pedroia has been receiving a lot of praise within the organization. Some even estimated he could make the jump to the pros for the ’06 season. That looks like it won’t happen now. So what will become of the two second basemen then? Will both of them also find themselves traded next summer, or will just one of them find their stint as a Red Sock short lived? Why do we need Clemens back? Do we really need three #1 pitchers? Better yet, do we really need 8 starters?

     The questions just keep on coming, but out of sympathy for both myself writing this and you reading it I won’t take it much further. Instead I just want to know when we will get a Red Sox team. By that I mean, when will we build a solid core of players who are untouchable? Guys who will be known as Red Sox, guys who will forever be fan favorites, guys who will play enough games in Boston that maybe their numbers will get retired. Guys who play in Boston so long they buy a house here and live here even after they retire.

     As fans, yes, we want the hometown team to be competitive every year and be in the hunt for the title every year. Still do we want it, even if it means that ten new players will wear the red and white every year? As of now it seems that Jason Varitek is the only player guaranteed to retire in Boston, but wouldn’t we like to see Trot Nixon play his last game at Fenway? David Ortiz? Damon? Hopefully, Beckett? Sometimes loyalty should take more priority in sports, and right now it’s tough to tell if the Red Sox care about that.



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New Sox acquisition Josh Beckett.