While waiting for the new decade to roll in, we have all been reminded of the Red Sox’ dominance in the 2010s. Two World Series titles. A new single-season win record. Four division titles. Remarkable trades pulled off by Dave Dombrowski and Co. This past decade has been a great one for all Red Sox fans. But with the reminders of these great moments also come stories of the uncertainty that surrounds the Sox for the 2020 season. They spent big in this decade, but that should significantly change in the 2020s.
The intent for 2020 is clear
As the disappointing 2019 season came to a close, the Sox made their goal to get under the luxury tax threshold known throughout the baseball community. This process began with the firing of the aforementioned, big-spending Dave Dombrowski. When the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom in late October, they further prioritized their avoidance of the dreaded luxury tax. That initiative has taken its full form this offseason. The Sox have been inactive for most of the winter, and when they have made signings, they’ve been cheap and manageable.
A look at Sox’ moves in preparation for 2020 (or lack thereof)
This December, the Red Sox first looked to acquire another arm for the starting rotation. They accomplished this by signing lefty Martín Pérez to a one-year, $6.5M deal. Pérez has struggled in his past years in the majors. He’s posted a 4.61 ERA and FIP in his career. But, Pérez has a lot of upside, as he’s been pretty unlucky posting a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .315. After the starting rotation was addressed, the Sox moved on to finding a cheap utility man. This infield is still a big question mark, as it is unknown if Dustin Pedroia will make his return. But the signing of José Peraza created a bit more certainty in that regard. Although, this signing may lead to the departure of the beloved Brock Holt. Lastly, the Sox added to their bullpen by claiming Chris Mazza off waivers on December 20th.
What to expect in the first year of the new decade
In the first months of the new decade, the Red Sox should continue to look for a trade target for veteran starter David Price. The trade of Price would allow the Red Sox to be under the luxury tax threshold (considering they pay less than $8M dollars of Price’s 2020 contract). Along with this shopping of Price, it is likely the Sox will attempt to sign another cheap bullpen piece. This would help to boost the bullpen from last year and allow them to stay under the tax threshold. In this decade, management is likely to continue with the trend of building a cheap, sustainable roster. Look for less big-time trades and signings and more cheap players with high upsides. Bloom created success with this style while he was in Tampa, and with access to more money in Boston, he could build a championship team during the 2020s.
A turning point in 2020 is not necessarily a bad thing
Although most are looking at 2020 as a worse team than 2019, that may not be the case. Please bear with me as I try to bring some optimism to the new decade. The Red Sox still have the same young core (if they don’t trade Betts). They also have the ability to improve the rotation performances of 2019. Chris Sale had a rough year and should improve in the new decade. The same goes for Nathan Eovaldi, as both are looking to rebound from injury-riddled 2019’s. A cheaper roster-building style could benefit the Sox in the long run, as it is more sustainable for longer periods of time. The big-spending 2010s are over, but that doesn’t mean these Red Sox can’t be just as dominant in the 2020s.
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