Sometimes I think Red Sox general managers have a recognition issue. They know they have the money to get just about any free agent they want. Sometimes, though, they seem to want to show off a little bit. After all, anyone can be Brian Cashman. Anyone can simply buy the best three free agents in one off-season, and then just replace them when an even better one comes along. Where’s the challenge in that? You don’t make the Hall of Fame just by spending money. No, you make the Hall by making moves nobody else would. You make the Hall by correctly predicting that the injured star will regain his form and help your team. You make the Hall by correctly predicting that the misused slugger just needs some at-bats become great. That’s how you do it.
Dan Duquette was famous for it. He was always filling the roster with reclamation projects. Half the team, it seemed, was someone who used to be good before he got hurt, or could be good. Very few were players who were actually good. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, Duquette hit it big pretty early on with Tim Wakefield. He predicted correctly that Tim would regain his form and help the club. And, help he did. That gave Duquette more confidence to fill the roster with those types for the rest of his time in Boston. Unfortunately for Boston, Theo did the same thing when he found David Ortiz. He gets to swing and miss at a lot of “chances” due to the success of Ortiz. The problem is, that it sometimes gets to be too much.
I get taking chances. It’s a part of the process. It’s when you fill the roster with chances that it gets a little tricky. Getting John Smoltz on the cheap is a great move. If he works out, you’re set. If he doesn’t, you didn’t waste a lot of money. Same goes for Brad Penny. You don’t spend a lot of money on him, so if it doesn’t work out, you don’t lose much. Individually, those are fine deals. But, when you have both Smoltz and Penny on the same roster, it gets a little murkier. A couple million on one chance, plus a couple million on another chance is suddenly enough money to afford not to take a chance. Instead of hoping one of four guys comes though, you can just get the one guy you know will come through. Isn’t that a better way to build a team?
I know. It’s an odd time for that little discussion. After all, this weekend Theo didn’t really do that when he picked up Andrew Miller from the Marlins. I see Miller as a wash, worst case. So, it’s not really a hope that he’ll pan out enough to help the team. He’ll help the team. The hope is that he ends up “really” helping the team. That’s a difference. Plus, as I noticed with the SF Giants World Championship…you don’t lose talent. The Giants roster was filled with guys that used to be good, or everyone once thought was good. Those players often end up as decent additions to a team. Andrew Miller is a former first-round pick. He was thought of highly enough to be included in a trade for Miguel Cabrera. There must be something there. Plus, he’s still very young. I don’t know what Theo thinks of Miller long term. But, he’s the type of guy who definitely can fill a role now. As for the future? It has some possibilities. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Along with everyone else.