So those Red Sox are looking a little bit better, huh? In the last few weeks, they’ve added three big time pitchers to their staff: legit ace David Price, best closer on the planet Craig Kimbrel, great when he finds the plate Carson Smith, and Chris Young, a veteran outfielder wanted for murdering left handed pitchers in thirty-eight states and six territories.
What’s really interesting here is the sequencing of these moves. When the Sox traded four prospects to San Diego for Kimbrel, most smart baseball analysts were slightly mystified; it’s commonly accepted in the sabermetrics community that closers and relievers in general are fungible and that paying for a proven ninth inning guy is a waste when you’re not a good team. The additions of Price and Smith likely make the Sox a good team, which makes the cost of acquiring Kimbrel a lot more palatable. It’s a strong reminder that personnel moves are like online dating profiles; they can’t and shouldn’t be analyzed in a vacuum even though doing so is kind of fun. At least go out a few times before you start thinking about putting a ring on it.
But with all of those moves combined into a giant baseball player Voltron…I’m willing to at least offer the Sox a solid cubic zirconium and a really tight prenup. The pitching’s going to be better. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, and Eduardo Rodriguez should continue to improve. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can’t possibly be as terrible as they were last year. And there’s still plenty of time left to add a few more pieces. In an American League that’s looking about as messy as last call at the local dive, the Sox are starting to smell like an early wildcard contender–which should be more than enough to get us all through the boring ass no-baseball winter.