MLB execs rip Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts exit, other poor offseason moves
MLB execs rip Red Sox for Bogaerts exit, other poor offseason moves originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There's a reason why Boston Red Sox fans aren't happy with team owner John Henry and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. And if they're looking for validation, they'll find it in The Athletic's recent poll of MLB executives, former executives, coaches and scouts.
That poll posed questions to 29 people in the MLB industry, ranging from "Which player who changed teams this offseason was the most irreplaceable?" to "Who was the worst free-agent signing of the offseason?"
Let's just say the Red Sox don't come out favorably in this poll.
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Unsurprisingly, Xander Bogaerts was the clear winner of the "irreplaceable" question, with 16 of the 29 respondents tabbing the former Red Sox shortstop as the most irreplaceable free agent after he signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres in December. (Trea Turner was second with 11 votes.)
One respondent compared Bogaerts' exit to Boston losing Jon Lester to free agency in 2014, while another called out the Red Sox for letting their longest-tenured player and team leader depart in free agency less than three years after trading Mookie Betts.
"When you’re in the place the Red Sox are with their fan base and you let a guy like this leave, it’s not just about replacing the player on the field," the respondent said. "It’s impossible to replace what he means to those fans."
Bogaerts' exit was hard for Red Sox fans to stomach -- especially because the team didn't replace him with elite talent. Boston's biggest move of the offseason outside locking up Rafael Devers to a contract extension was signing Japanase outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract.
That deal earned the distinction of "Worst free-agent signing" in The Athletic's poll, with 10 of 29 votes.
"I don’t like that one, especially considering the team it came from," one voter told The Athletic of the Yoshida signing. "You mean that’s where you’re going to extend yourself? That’s a head-scratcher."
The Red Sox' signing of reliever Kenley Jansen also received four "worst free-agent signing" votes, meaning Bloom's two biggest signings were both viewed among the worst deals in baseball. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that Bloom and the Red Sox front office were voted the group that's "most feeling the heat" this offseason, with 20 total votes.
"Here’s his problem," one voter said of Bloom. "When (principal owner) John Henry is feeling the heat and (team chairman) Tom Werner is feeling the heat, they’ll throw anybody under the bus."
The Red Sox can prove a lot of people wrong this season if they exceed expectations and compete for a playoff spot. If they miss the postseason for the second consecutive season, though, that could lead to major changes for a team that's made several questionable decisions over the last several months.