When Theo was here, I used to wonder about his philosophy. He loved his farm system. He loved the idea of bringing up cheap young players to form the basis of your team. He often referenced the Atlanta Braves, and their ability to call up one key contributor seemingly every year. There was always something that bothered me about that analogy, though. The Braves only won a single title in their decade plus of dominance. They were always very good, but seemingly never great.
I felt that was a trap that Theo fell into. He held onto his prospects like they were solid gold. He felt they were needed in the future. He wasn’t going to mortgage the future for the present. It’s a good plan, really. But like every good plan, there needs to be some flexibility in it. Dave Dombrowski seems to understand that.
Let’s look at the Red Sox right now. There’s David Ortiz playing in his final season. So, there’s the temptation to say this is an “all-in” sort of move to send him off with a ring. But, look a little further. When David Price signed, everyone kept telling be it was a deal contract because of the three-year opt out. The Sox would pay for is best years at the beginning of the contract, then he’s be on another team while he grew old. So, the Sox have a couple years left with their ace. Rick Porcello only has a few years left on his contract. Pedroia’s almost 33 years old. Hanley Ramirez has three years left on his deal. That’s a pretty big glut of stars that are short timers. And the kids? This isn’t the seventies anymore. When you have a young stud, he’s not yours for the next 20 years. You’re looking at around six years of control. Bogaerts, the Boras client, is about halfway through that.
What’s my point?
There’s a window here. There’s about a three to five year window where the Sox can really do some damage. You know who can’t help you during that window? Anderson Espinoza. You know who can help you during that window? Drew Pomeranz can.
This wasn’t a rental. The Sox didn’t send their top pitching prospect for three months of someone. This was a trade that helps the Sox for three seasons. The three most important seasons. This is a trade that makes the Sox great right now.
Will they be good later? I have no idea. Neither do you. Maybe Espinoza is everything people think he could possibly be. Maybe he ends up being Pedro Martinez. But, by the time he gets here, the team will have practically turned over. If the Sox fill the holes with talent, the team will be good. If they fill those holes with stiffs, they won’t be. Espinoza doesn’t solve that any more than Pedro could. With so much other work to do, one player isn’t the key to it all.
If he’s the next Pedro? I’ll be bummed that I won’t get to watch him pitch every day. If he’s the one that actually comes through, unlike all the other top of the rotation talent the Sox have had in the minor leagues. But, that’ll be tempered a bit why what I assume the Sox will be able to accomplish by the time he reaches those heights. The Sox have filled three glaring holes in the last two weeks on a team that was just a couple games out of first anyway. They made themselves a force to be reckoned with. I’ll take the trade to make them great today.
I’m willing to see just how good they’ll be tomorrow.