The 2014 season for the Boston Red Sox has been very disappointing to say the least. It all goes back to a statement that President and CEO Larry Lucchino made last offseason at the DVD premier of the 2013 World Series. He said, “You can’t fall in love with veterans,” meaning of players on your ball club. That is exactly what one of the biggest mistakes is that happened with this team.
You see, there was Mike Napoli who was a free agent coming off a great season, but had the hip concerns and was only on a one year contract. He led the team with the longest beard, and started the beard theme that carried the team all year in 2013. The time came to re-sign him and all in New England would have been mad if he didn’t come back, right? WRONG!!!
There happened to be a young power hitting future All-Star first baseman from Cuba named Jose Abreu, or “The Canon” as broadcaster Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson calls him. He wound up going to the Chicago White Sox for a six-year contract worth a total of 68 million dollars. That deal looks like a bargain as he is now a franchise player for the White Sox. He had defected last August and was declared a free agent in October. The White Sox had a tough decision to make too, as they would have to wave goodbye to full-time play of their franchise favorite, first baseman Paul Konerko.
There were rumors the Red Sox had looked into him, but they wound up bringing Napoli back. It isn’t clear if the Red Sox made him a serious offer, and it would have taken huge grapefruits for the Red Sox to sign an unproven player and let Napoli go. Imagine what Abreu’s .287 batting average, 28 homers and 71 RBIs would have brought to the Red Sox line-up? David Ortiz isn’t getting younger and Abreu would have been the bridge to the future.
It’s hard to look back now, but as Lucchino said, “Can’t fall in love with veterans.”