MLB Winter Meetings: Lack of Noise Sets Eerie Precedent for Boston Red Sox

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIDecember 5, 2011

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 01:  Vice president and general manager Ben Cherington introduces Bobby Valentine as the new manager for the Boston Red Sox during a press conference on December 1, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

It was almost a year ago that Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox. I know that because I had a final that night, and a year later I am once again in finals hell.

I had a finance final that night. I remember walking out of the building and looking at a text message from my dad proclaiming "THE BOSTON RED SOX JUST SIGNED CARL CRAWFORD!" I practically skipped down Campus Way (if I could go back to that night, I would probably trip myself).

Looking back, my surprise was unfounded. For weeks, it was reported that the Angels and Red Sox were finalists for Crawford and were brawling it out in the arena of contracts and signatures. That was the thing about last offseason: it was noisy—as are most Boston Red Sox offseasons.

In an offseason that started, by many peoples' judgments, far too early for the 2011 BoSox, everyone expected noise. And, in October, there certainly was a lot of it. It may have been frustrated, angry and shocked noise of disappointment, but it was still noise.

Two months later, as GMs touch down in Dallas, Red Sox Nation is lucky to hear whispers.

Boston has never been a team to keep things quiet. Whether it was their interest in Dice-K, or A-Gon, the front office has always been active. In fact, in our world of social networking, "under wraps" has become an enigma.

For fans, noise (even if just rumors and whispers) is soothing. Knowing your team is doing something, or trying to do something, can put a mind to ease. When the home front is silent, it is, for lack of a better word, creepy.

No team is perfect, and Boston always made sure the fans knew they understood that concept. However, this fall, it is hard to know if they are even keeping up with their due diligence.

In an offseason that has been headlined by pitching trade speculation, Jose Reyes' Miami quinceanera, the Brewers' chances at Prince Fielder and the future of Albert Pujols, the most Boston has delivered is "We hired Bobby Valentine...woo-hoo."

And, as Boston stays gagged, other teams sound like the Kardashian sisters fighting over a pair of Manolos (I think that is a relevant metaphor...).

Boston has a great team, but as I said above, no team is perfect. September made the the pitching staff look like a slice of swiss cheese.

As Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell fall off the table, things are only getting worse for Boston. With the Winter Meetings starting, it is only a matter of time before the trade market starts to dwindle. The latest news: Boston is bargain hunting.

I am all for low risk/high reward, but come on, Boston!

You cannot bargain hunt for an ace who will solidify that rotation; you cannot bargain hunt for a 35-40 save closer. I have been a proponent of reduced spending in baseball, but if you have it (which Boston does), spend it. I do not mean blowing money on C.J. Wilson or Roy Oswalt, but Heath Bell would have been a damn good investment.

And, with a trade market headlined by Matt Cain, James Shields, Jair Jurrjens, Anibal Sanchez and Gio Gonzalez, Boston remains hush hush.

In fact, their biggest risk so far was asking Chicago for Matt Garza as Epstein compensation. That was all the way back in October.

I would hate to see Boston empty the farm, but that lineup could easily take a downgrade. Trade packages built around Kevin Youkilis, Josh Reddick, Anthony Ranaudo and/or Jed Lowrie are fine by me.

It is time for Boston to start making noise. Last year, they had one of the best baseball teams on paper and still fell short. Something has got to give. So, please Ben Cherington, get off your hands and start doing your due diligence. Make this year's Winter Meetings as exciting as last year's, and prove that you are ready to steer this ship into World Series waters.

It is time to stop tiptoeing around the edges; for the love of God, take a raging cannonball off the diving board.


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