Friday, April 19, 2024
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Rafael Devers calls out Red Sox for disappointing offseason: ‘Everybody knows what we need’

For the third time in the last four seasons, the Boston Red Sox finished in last place in 2023. In response, chairman Tom Werner said the club would operate at “full throttle” early in the offseason. Instead, the Red Sox had a fairly low-key offseason, one that has seen them cut payroll approximately $10 million from last Opening Day. The “full throttle” comment has come to haunt ownership.

Boston’s biggest offseason move was closing the book on the Chaim Bloom era and replacing him with former Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow. When a new head baseball operations executive takes over, things can be slow moving initially as the person gets to know the organization and change the processes in place. Clearly though, the Red Sox could have done more this offseason.

It’s not only fans who are unhappy either. On Tuesday, Red Sox star third baseman Rafael Devers came about as close to calling out ownership and the front office for their underwhelming offseason as you can without saying the magic words.

“Everybody knows what we need. You know what we need and they know what we need. It’s just some things I can’t say. I’m not allowed,” Devers said through an interpreter Tuesday, adding he’s met with the front office to say the team needs help. “Everybody that knows our organization, that knows the game, knows what we need.

“They need to make an adjustment to help us players be in a better position to win,” Devers added (via MassLive.com). “Everybody in this organization wants to win. We, as players, want to win. I think they need to make adjustments to help us win. I’m not saying the team is not OK right now but they need to be conscious of what are the weaknesses and what we need right now.”

Closer Kenley Jansen, who pitched in the postseason every year from 2015-22 before missing the postseason with the Red Sox last year, also expressed his frustration with the club over the weekend. Here’s what Jansen said during an appearance on WEEI’s Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast:

“I definitely feel frustrated. I came here for two years where Year 1 we were going to compete but by Year 2 they were really going to go after it. I get it, there have been a lot of changes in this organization. They have a different vision now. I get it. It’s part of business … I would rather not (ask about the reason for the change in organizational direction), to be honest with you. Now I’m in camp and just try and focus to have a great season. Whatever happens, happens at this point.”

In addition to Devers and Jansen, a franchise icon is disappointed with the Red Sox as well. This past weekend, team president Sam Kennedy revealed Dustin Pedroia recently reached out to team executives to tell them they should sign some free agents, according to NBC Sport Boston. “He was very clear about his feelings,” Kennedy said about Pedroia’s call with the brass.

Devers said “everybody knows what we need” and that is pitching. Boston has been a bottom-10 team in just about every significant pitching category the last two seasons, and their only notable pitching addition over the winter was Lucas Giolito. Giolito will step into Chris Sale’s rotation spot and is a much better bet to give the club 170-plus innings. But that’s it. No other pitching upgrades.

Since winning the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox have whittled away at payroll, bring it down from $240 million for competitive balance tax (i.e. luxury tax) purposes in 2018 to a projected $195 million in 2024. That is well south of the $237 million CBT threshold. The Red Sox could sign a top tier free agent like Jordan Montgomery and still not have to pay luxury tax.

Good on Devers and Jansen (and Pedroia). Too many teams and ownership groups do not prioritize putting the best possible team on the field, and what has happened with the Red Sox is especially egregious. That franchise should never be middle of the pack in payroll. Ownership’s commitment to winning should be questioned, and now their own players are questioning it loudly and publicly.

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