The Red Sox are NOT being a “Small Market” Team. They’re Being Smart

After living through the Chaim Bloom era in Boston, which saw Mookie Betts get traded for nowhere near his value and Hunter Renfroe getting traded for an offensive downgrade in Jackie Bradley Jr, and poorly performing prospect Alex Binelas, Red Sox fans were hoping that the hiring of Craig Breslow—who was a member of the 2013 World Series team—would see the team return to big spending. However, many Red Sox fans are calling for a boycott of the Red Sox this season, and it all stems from Breslow’s recent comments about the team’s lack of spending this offseason. Breslow said:

“I think the reality is that it’s going to require a step forward from the young position players. It’s going to require the build out of a talent pipeline of arms that we can acquire, we draft, and we can develop internally. And it’s going to require aggressive player development in the minor leagues and the major leagues go guys that we think are the next wave…are not just big leaguers but impact big leaguers. The convergence of all those pieces is the fastest path to a World Series”

Naturally, Sox fans saw this as another season in which the Red Sox are going to refuse to spend. Another season in which Boston is subjected to spending $50 to park, $65 for a ticket, just to watch a team that won’t compete with Wild Card teams, let alone division title contenders. As someone who grew up in the era of big spending and multiple championships, I understand the frustration with the lack of immediacy, but the Red Sox are rebuilding. They aren’t in a position to spend big money, and by being realistic about that, the Red Sox are making the right move.

As opposed to 2018, there isn’t much of a core for this team to build around. Rafael Devers is the Face of the Franchise—rightfully—and Masataka Yoshida looked good in his “rookie” season, Jarren Duran, Vaughn Grissom, and Triston Casas have mountains of potential, but aren’t at the point of being consistent impact players yet. With that in mind, why should the Red Sox belligerently spend money on a team that is nowhere near competing.

Yes, there are needs that the Red Sox need to address—there’s realistically only two pitchers on the Red Sox that can be trusted. Brayan Bello looks like a stud, Chris Martin was a great find by Chaim Bloom, but everyone else is a bona fide liability. Spending the big bucks on one pitcher doesn’t change much when only 3/14 of the pitching staff can be trusted to ball out.

Moreover, signing a Blake Snell or a Jordan Montgomery would inevitably cause a longer-term problem by solving a short term one. This would put the team in the exact same position that the Red Sox found themselves in back in the 2019 season. Spending $400,000,000 on Xander Bogaerts, Chris Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi “forced” the Red Sox to trade MVP Mookie Betts, because they felt that they wouldn’t be able to afford his contract.

In reality, they could afford his contract because there has never been a salary cap in Major League Baseball. However, it’s been pretty well documented that the Red Sox want to make a competitive team while staying under the Luxury Tax. You can’t change how an owner wants to spend his money. Adding another $20million arm is just 20 million less that could be spent on Brayan Bello, Casas, Jarren Duran, or any other prospect that becomes the impact player Craig Breslow and the Red Sox are looking for.

I’m over the notion that the Red Sox are acting as if they are a “Small Market Team.” In the last three years, the Red Sox have spent nine figures extending Rafael Devers, signing Trevor Story, and signing a player that had never faced a pitch in the MLB in Masataka Yoshida (with the inclusion of the posting fee). Even in the Chaim Bloom era, they spent big money.

Number of $100,000,000 Contracts Signed By Teams (Since Jan 1, 2021)

Since January 1st, 2021, (which was one year into the Chaim Bloom era), the Red Sox have signed more nine-figure contracts than 21 MLB Teams. They’ve signed as many nine-figure contracts as the 2023 World Series Champion Texas Rangers, the spend-happy Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Seattle Mariners, who–according to Nielsen Ratings–play in a smaller market than the Boston Red Sox.

In reality, There’s nothing “Small Market” about the Red Sox, they are just in a position where making big time signings doesn’t make sense, and it’s about time that they recognized that