Back in November, when the Boston Red Sox introduced former big-league reliever Craig Breslow as their new head executive, team chairman Tom Werner declared the franchise was going to be “full throttle” this winter. The implication was clear: the Red Sox intended to behave like a large-market behemoth again if that’s what it took to return to competitive status.
Two months later, the Red Sox’s offseason has largely been stuck in neutral.
Boston has made moves, to be certain. The most notable among them included trading away outfielder Alex Verdugo and lefty starter Chris Sale, as well as acquiring outfielder Tyler O’Neill, infielder Vaughn Grissom, and right-hander Lucas Giolito. Breslow, though, has been unable to land impact-caliber players, consistently coming up short in those pursuits.
Put another way, FanGraphs projects the Red Sox to have just four players on their Opening Day roster who were not with the organization last season: the aforementioned O’Neill, Grissom and Giolito, plus reliever Justin Slaten.
In the interest of record-keeping, Warner was asked this week about his “full throttle” comment given the Red Sox’s offseason. To his credit, he acknowledged that it wasn’t the “most artful comment,” but reiterated his maintained belief in Breslow’s ability to build a winning team ahead of Opening Day.
“I guess the message is that we are confident that we’re going to field a competitive team and that we’re going to let Craig do what he does best, which is to build exactly that,” he told MassLive’s Sean McAdam.
The Red Sox are coming off a season in which they finished last in the American League East with a 78-84 record. Their Pythagorean record, or their estimated won-lost record based on their run differential, was better, at 81-81. Even that mark, though, would have the Red Sox in the basement.
If there’s good news to be found for the Red Sox, it’s that there are still plenty of talented players left on the market. Whether or not Breslow will be able to add enough to make good on Warner’s confidence is to be seen, but the window remains open.