Some fans and members of media may be surprised that the Boston Red Sox didn’t sign a big name free agent this off-season, but this isn’t anything new. If you remember last off-season, the team decided to cut its payroll by 20 million and add bargain free agents and prospects instead.
Gone are the days where the Sox spent a lot of money during free agency. General manager Ben Cherington has a blueprint where he would rather have a great environment in the clubhouse instead of signing big money players who may not fit in.
During the 2013 off-season, Cherington signed free agents Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Koji Uehara. All three of those players made major contributions through the season and during their World Series run.
Instead of re-signing last year’s starting catcher Jerrod Saltalamacchia, this off-season Red Sox signed the veteran A.J. Pierzynski. Not only is the move upgrade offensively and defensively, the move is only for one-year at $8.25 million.
The Red Sox have two catchers they really like in their minor league in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. That’s is probably the reason the team decided to add Pierzynski rather than re-signing Saltalamacchia for a multi-year contract.
The Red Sox are confident that their promising prospects like the 24-year-old Jackie Bradley Jr. and 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts can step in and start right away. There aren’t too many other teams coming off of a World Series title that would be as confident in their young prospects the way the Red Sox are in Bogaerts and Bradley.
Not only do the Red Sox have Bradley, Bogaerts and their good young catching prospects, they also have good pitching prospects as well. You can probably find right-handers Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and left-hander Henry Owens on top of any baseball prospects list.
The Red Sox plan worked last season and there’s no reason to think the team won’t be a contender in 2014. With their young prospect and veterans, like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedoria, the team should be right back near the top of the AL East.