(Originally posted on 4SportBoston.com )
Have you ever had an aunt stay over at your house for a couple weeks or allowed a friend to shack up at your place or maybe even just moved in with a boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever-the-case-may-be? There's a period of awkwardness where everyone is feeling each other out, bad habits come to fruition, and for the first few days, there is a level of discomfort where you just aren't even sure that this is your house anymore.
Well, this is how I feel with the 2010 Boston Red Sox.
Sure, some of the furniture is the same, but who are these new invaders and why are they way less cool than the other options that were available?
After getting word Monday night about the Sox finally acquiring Adrian Beltre under a one-year, $10 million contract, I can't help but feel like I am getting ready to watch a whole new era of Boston baseball in 2010.The other recent additions of John Lackey, Mike Cameron, and "the other Ramon Ramirez" certainly do not help the situation either.
Obviously Mike Lowell is in no shape to be playing 162 games this upcoming season and Beltre will certainly fill that position very well. Fans had really come to terms with the trade with the Texas Rangers for catcher Max Ramirez falling through. The mild support that had behind him during the physicals and testing expanded greatly once the deal was called off. Fans started coming out of the woodwork with "YEA! Mike is the heart and soul of this team" mentalities and now here we are again.
The Red Sox certainly took an unconventional approach to this move. Rumors have been swirling around Beltre coming to Boston for over a month now but fans all across Red Sox Nation have opposed it. I literally can not recall one supporting comment heard/read on any radio station, blog, or Mike Lowell sponsored event. Not one.
But the unconventional part was that fans were finally resting on their haunches after the big moves in December when the Sox acquired Lackey and Cameron, and the situational coping seemed to be starting. Fans were convincing themselves that this team is built for defense and has a starting rotation that will best any other in the Major League. Card carrying members of the Nation started to understand the philosophy and buy into it and think that this team will certainly be a contender.
Well, the issue with that is that of the teams in Boston (and Foxboro. Hint, hint), the Red Sox and Patriots share more fans than any other two clubs in town. With the recent emergence of the "So-So" Patriots, fans are starting to come to grasp, especially with Sunday's loss of Wes Welker, that maybe this football season is not meant to be...Mind you, the Patriots made the playoffs this year and are headed into the first round...at home...in just days.
Assuming the Pats end the season as fans expect. those same fans are going to expect something more out of the local nine to keep the blood flowing from spring to fall. Sure, we will see plenty of web gem caliber plays in the field from this group of long-time gold glovers.
Beltre will certainly be another addition to the new defensive mentality of the Sox as Gold Glove third baseman in 2007 and 2008. His offense has certainly "fallen in like with the rest of the league through the 2000s era"...if you know what I mean.
In 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beltre batted a spectacular .334 with a league-leading 48 home runs and 121 RBI to place second in NL MVP voting. This season obviously netted him his big contract in Seattle where he finished last year being paid $12 million. In 2009, Beltre played in only 111 games due to injury and batted .265 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs.
Just the kind of guy we needed to replace...an oft-injured, aging veteran. But at least the original (Mike Lowell for you rocket scientists) has a very large ring with a pair of Sox on it and has accepted a home team discount once before while Beltre, a Scott Boras client, just got signed for $10 million to possibly be decent.
I will personally go on the record here as being strongly against this signing and seriously hope that the once farm-funded Red Sox do not continue with this retirement home they are starting at Fenway.
Maybe this will be another case of taking a page of Bill Belichick in other sports and using aging veterans to power a team to victory. I would just like to think that I can click on NESN every night this spring/summer and not feel uncomfortable in my own house.