The Boston Red Sox front office seems willing to do ANYTHING in order to field what they consider to be a World Series
caliber baseball team. Even if that means cutting ties with another iconic figure and going against what many would deem a “gentlemen’s agreement”.
What seems like mere moments after the interim GMs Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer were unable to retain the services of rock star center fielder Johnny Damon, the Red Sox traded local favorite Bronson Arroyo, a slender right hander with a plus curveball, to the Reds for young outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Pena just finished playing in the inaugural World Baseball Classic for his home nation, the Dominican Republic, going 4 for 10 (.400) with an RBI and 3 strikeouts in 3 games. Boston’s need for depth in the outfield was surely what drove them to trade Arroyo.
Earlier in the off-season Arroyo accepted a 3 year, 12.225 million dollar contract (with a 750,000 dollar signing bonus) against the advice of his agent who guesstimated a 5 million dollar/year increase if given time to negotiate further. Arroyo signed with the BoSox anyway stating his love of playing in Boston as the only reason for his rash decision. At the time of the signing interim GM Jed Hoyer assured Bronson that he was NOT the topic of any trade talks. Apparently, that wasn’t the case at all. As soon as they were given a chance to deal Arroyo, they did. What kind of message are they sending to the rest of the team?
A true fan favorite, Bronson Arroyo had become very popular in Boston. It wasn’t just his ballet like leg kick and knee-buckling curve that had Red Sox nation on it’s feet, his guitar and his voice got Beantown rockin’ as well. It was not uncommon to find Bronson strumming and singing in local bars and coffee houses making him far more accessible to the fans than most big leaguers would have the patience for. He even released a CD of his favorite cover songs. He loves blue collar fans that live and die by the game and they love him. He will be sorely missed.
This year’s Red Sox team has more depth in the pitching department than New England has seen in many years but there is much to be desired in the way of outfielders. Pena is as solid a pick up as he is a smart one but he brings little experience and lots of strike outs. If he can improve his approach at the plate, see more pitches and get more at-bats he could shape up to be a serious power threat off the bench. At age 24 he shows promise but his ability to carve up left handed pitching may not be enough to make him worth the loss of last year’s team leader in quality starts.
To those of us on the outside it would appear that the Red Sox management is beginning to get a bit too big for their britches. Surely they realize how desireable a market they are in but if they rely on that alone we will see no more than a steady stream of high priced whiners that disembody the spirit of the club we all know and love. Having a winning team is great but the fans want a winning team to love.