Apparently getting swept by Teets Francona in the ALDS crushed Dave Dombrowski’s spirits as much as it did ours. Because the man done went and bought a “sweep prevention package” today in the form of ace starter Chris Sale, set-up man Tyler Thornburg and good-with-bat guy Mitch Moreland. It was the type of drunk sailor spending that DD has built his name on, and a nice way to ensure that our final Red Sox memory of 2016 wasn’t David Price going tits-up in his game two start.
Of course, as my grandfather would say, good things don’t come without a price (at least I think that’s what he said; in his later years, gramps communicated with the family by whispering into a coffee can and then shaking the can above our heads “so the words would fall out.”) For Thornburg, the Sox are sending Milwaukee fan favorite and all-around handsome dude Travis Shaw as well as prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington. For Sale, the cost was a bit steeper: fireballing pitching prospect Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and the incomparable Yoan Moncada, who is, without question, the most highly-touted prospect ever to be made a young millionaire by the Red Sox.
How it all pans out is anybody’s guess. The pessimist in me points to an off-season in which we signed Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez and figured nobody short of the aliens from Independence Day could stop us. Hell, just last year we had a World Series parade route charted mere moments after David Price was signed. But the optimist in me (who spends waaaay too much money on beer and online poker) points to how these moves address a number of concerns and effectively make the Red Sox a better team. Certainly better than the one that got swept out of October:
1. The rotation is now, without question, the elite of the American League. With Price, Sale and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, the Sox can pretty much bank on winning one-third of their games. Yes, the “scissor incident” raises something of a red flag as to how Sale will navigate the commerce-centric forces at work on Yawkey Way, but, hey, I’m sure Papi will keep him in line and… oh… wait.
2. The bullpen is now stronger, with Thornburg as your new eighth inning guy who can also close if Craig Kimbrel ever needs a rest or a team-imposed exile in a Chelsea hotel room.
3. Moreland gives the Sox the option of platooning him with Hanley Ramirez at first or simply turning Ramirez into the full-time DH. That move might effectively be best for both players: Hanley would be hell-bent on filling the hole at DH left by his best bud Ortiz, while Moreland, with his one year contract, will be looking to “make things happen” to ensure a bigger and better paycheck in 2018.
Simply put, it’s an exciting time to be a fan of excitement. And a member of Red Sox Nation. And I thank DD for giving us these early Christmas presents.