Red Sox: The Less Evil Empire

Carl Crawford reportedly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox today. (AP)

Carl Crawford reportedly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox today. (AP)

For years and years, Red Sox fans have complained their bombastic baseball neighbors to the south represent all that is wrong with pro sports. Yankees and their deep pockets buy championships and denigrate the game, we say.

With the additions of both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and assuming Gonzalez signs an extension, the Red Sox will have spent almost $300 million over about 80 hours. Suddenly the Sox look like the new spoiled brat with a black AmEx.

Epstein’s gigantic spending spree has many fans around the world thinking the Red Sox are baseball’s new “Evil Empire” — taking the mantle from the free-spending, win at all co$t$ New York Yankees.

That comparison, however, might not be so accurate.

Suddenly the Sox look like the new spoiled brat with a black AmEx.

There’s no denying that spending $296 million to lock down just two players — in this economy, no less — is crazy. That, however, is the market baseball teams operate in.

The market, unfortunately, forces teams with less money, such as the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays, to trade away talented players they have no chance of making a huge offer to. The Sox, as a big-market team with rabid fans and its own TV network, are in the enviable position of being able to capitalize on that market.

Both the Red Sox and the Yankees have huge payrolls and will for some time. The difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees is in the future.

Signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal is a huge commitment. Known for his speed, Crawford will be 36 at the end of his contract and likely need to change his game to remain effective at that age.

The Yankees recently came to terms with team captain and icon Derek Jeter on a new, four-year contract. At 35, Jeter is in the twilight of his career. His new contact is worth at least $48 million.

The Sox have five of eight position players, all 31 or younger, locked up though 2013. Combine that with young pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz, the Sox are well-positioned to contend for the near future.

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