One of our readers, Rob Aguilar, sent me a link to February’s Off-Season Report Cards by the Sporting News. His point, as he indicated in his email, was that nobody was gloating over the Red Sox model before this past season began. Anyway, it’s funny looking back and reading these three particular capsules in hindsight.
Toronto Blue Jays: A
When general manager Alex Anthopoulos finally made his move, he didn’t mess around. The impact was felt all the way to Las Vegas. When Anthopoulos convinced the Miami Marlins to make their salary dump in Canada, the Blue Jays became favorites to win the World Series.
What a dump it was, with the Blue Jays acquiring one of the game’s top shortstops in Jose Reyes, two proven starters in Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, and speedy second baseman Emilio Bonifacio. The deal was expensive—the Blue Jays took on nearly $150 million—but Rogers Communication can afford it.
Los Angeles Angels: A
Having a local TV deal that brings in $150 million a year sure is nice. It allowed owner Arte Moreno to nab the top player on the free-agent market for the second consecutive year. Josh Hamilton, armed with a five-year, $125 million contract, should fit nicely hitting cleanup behind Albert Pujols.
Boston Red Sox: C
No team overpaid more free agents. The Red Sox overextended for a shortstop, Stephen Drew, one starter, Ryan Dempster, two outfielders, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, and a backup catcher, David Ross. Only the Mike Napoli signing looks reasonable, and they needed nearly all winter to complete that.
There is good news, though. The six signings combined will cost around $100 million, or about $40 million less than what they threw at Carl Crawford two offseasons ago. The Red Sox fared better on the trade front, acquiring All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates.