Red Sox Admit Mistake With Downs DFA
Downs was a big piece the team acquired in their trade of superstar Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move made by team President Chaim Bloom continues to look worse by the day as Betts continues to perform.
What Went Wrong With Downs?
The main issue for Downs appears to be his inconsistent contact rate. During his two seasons in Worcester, he struck out 230 times while walking just 76 times. He also had an average that rarely peaked over the Mendoza line, hitting .197 in 2022 after a disastrous 2021 season.
The Red Sox were also super aggressive in assigning Downs to AAA when he only ever played a handful of games in AA for the Dodgers. It was clear from the get-go that he wasn’t ready for the leap, which probably hurt his overall confidence at the plate. Looking back on it now, it was a massive mistake they didn’t have to make, quite frankly. There was no need to rush him.
Looking Back at The Mookie Trade
In December 2022, it’s hard to think of the Mookie Betts trade as anything but a disaster for Boston. Sure, they got Alex Verdugo in exchange, but he’s basically a poor man’s Andrew Benintendi (who they also traded for little return in 2021). They were also able to unload half of David Price’s contract, but doing so limited the overall talent return from LA.
So now, with the DFA of Downs, the only real piece of that trade that can bring any value is backstop Connor Wong. According to many evaluators, Wong profiles more as a backup than a true everyday impact player. Yeah, so not exactly maximizing your assets.
Why Did The Sox Even Trade Mookie?
Boston made the move because Betts was due for free agency at the end of 2020 and would have likely gotten a massive contract from another team had he hit the open market. By trading him away before then, they thought they could get some good prospects while still having financial flexibility going forward.
But now, with the departure of team captain Xander Bogaerts to San Diego, John Henry and Red Sox ownership have shown an unwillingness to spend to keep their homegrown talent around for the long term. They also weren’t even in serious discussions for free agent shortstop Carlos Correa, who signed with the Giants earlier this week.
These recent developments worry fans that they aren’t committed to fielding a winning product but instead cutting costs to maximize their personal profits.
What This Means For Rafael Devers
Unfortunately, in the days of free agent spending eclipsing $300 or even $400 million, the Red Sox have yet to be able to allocate that kind of money for their players. This could mean bad news for Red Sox fans, who may also soon see franchise cornerstone Rafael Devers traded away with only one year left on his contract. Until proven otherwise, it’s hard to see the Sox offering the type of money a player like Devers would command.
The thought of going from a core of Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts, and Devers to absolutely nothing is something that makes every Red Sox fan feel sick. For a team that generates as much revenue per season as the Red Sox do, it’s flat-out unacceptable to lose those kinds of talents.
Red Sox Continue To Show Lack of Direction
Fans are increasingly frustrated with the organization’s lack of direction and clarity. The Red Sox roster has as many (if not more) holes as they did when Chaim Bloom took over in 2020. As team president, Bloom has shown an overall lack of aggressiveness that has seemed to bite them in the butt.
Even if the Betts trade was mandated by ownership, the return they got was unacceptable. The way I see it, Chaim Bloom has made way too many blunders to be still sitting in his position. Going from Tampa Bay to Boston is a giant leap, and he has shown he might not be quite ready to be the top guy.
The off-season is still ongoing, but with most of the top free agents off the market, and a slow trade market, it’s tough seeing how Bloom can right the ship for 2023. The next few months should be telling about the overall direction of the franchise going forward into next season and beyond.
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