Those who loathed the Boston Red Sox’s thrifty approach during Chaim Bloom’s tenure shouldn’t expect much to change with Craig Breslow leading the front office.
When the Red Sox hired Breslow in October, all signs appeared to point toward a welcome change in organizational philosophy. Breslow spoke candidly about acquiring high-end MLB talent and cited ownership’s “unwavering commitment to winning.” In a statement that has since been mocked mercilessly by the fanbase, chairman Tom Werner vowed the Red Sox would go “full throttle” in their quest to assemble a competitive roster for 2024.
Three months later, amid another lackluster Red Sox offseason, questions remain about ownership’s commitment to building a contender. Breslow addressed those questions in a conversation with Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.
“As I’ve gotten to know this organization better through the conversations I’ve had with ownership, they absolutely are still supportive of assembling a World Series team as quickly as we possibly can,” Breslow told Abraham. “But 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 so guys that we think are the next wave — (Marcelo) Mayer and (Roman) Anthony and (Kyle) Teel, that group — are not just big leaguers but impact big leaguers. The convergence of all those pieces is the fastest path to a World Series team. … We want to build this thing in a way that there’s not just quality once in a while but there’s quality paired with consistency.”
Breslow’s answer is eerily similar to how Bloom addressed the same types of questions during his four years as chief baseball officer. It also contradicts the following comment Breslow made during his introductory press conference.
“The goal here, the goal anywhere is not to build the most competitive minor league team,” Breslow said at the time. “It’s to build major league value and major league contributors.”
Now, it looks like Breslow and Co. are content to sit back and wait for their top prospects to develop — a process that will take multiple seasons and indicates 2024 will be another “bridge year” for the big-league club.
To this point in the offseason, the Red Sox’s only notable free-agent signing was right-hander Lucas Giolito to a two-year contract worth $38.5 million. They’ve made three trades: outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees for three minor-league pitchers, two minor-league pitchers to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Tyler O’Neill, and veteran left-hander Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves for 23-year-old middle infielder Vaughn Grissom.
Boston has finished last in the American League East standings in three of the last four seasons. If the timid approach to spending on premier talent continues, fans should brace themselves for a third consecutive season in the cellar.