BOSTON -- Even when accounting for the shadow inherently cast by a Patriots Super Bowl, the Red Sox appear to be a non-factor, an afterthought.
That can change quickly, despite how long they’ve appeared dormant.
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The Sox have generated virtually no buzz this winter, unless mere talk of signing J.D. Martinez counts. Many teams have been quiet, but improvements to the Yankees (Giancarlo Stanton) and Astros (Gerrit Cole) don’t help the Sox look any better, even if they’re operating more as the norm than the exception.
The Sox have brought nothing to fruition aside from re-signing Mitch Moreland. The bullpen is weaker with Addison Reed’s departure.
Are you still snoring? Probably. As the team sees it, there’s time yet to wake you up.
“You never win anything by winning the offseason, other than maybe a short-term bump [in ticket sales] that makes you feel good,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said Tuesday before going to Puerto Rico with Alex Cora. “You look at the numbers and things improve when you make a splash. But in the end, what matters if what you do in that offseason, how does it translate into September, October, November? So it is important to keep fans engaged and this is -- sometimes there are one-off years where it’s quiet in a certain market. This has obviously been different, where it’s been quiet around the league and slow to develop. Now, we’re starting to see moves, and there have been offers made and there’s conversations out there.
"I think it was Rich Hill who said, it won’t be a hot stove, it’ll be a spring inferno. I think that might be what happens here in the next couple weeks. Which will be really interesting. You know, we turn the page on football and then all of a sudden you may have a mad dash for mad signings. Which also could be really good for baseball. But having a slow offseason is hard for those of us who work in baseball because we want to get going, we want to make moves. So it’s been unprecedented.”
The Red Sox have the market to themselves come summer. But the Patriots only make the market more demanding, now or then.
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“This whole era started in ’01, right,” Kennedy said. “It’s definitely put the pressure on each sports team’s ownership group to try and take it up a notch . . . We love to turn the torch to the Patriots and the Celtics and the Bruins, but it absolutely raises expectations. I mean, we just won 93 games two years in a row, the American League East, and our fans are understandably expecting much more than that. So that’s the difference, I think.”
Kennedy declined to comment on the state of negotiations with Martinez.
“I’ll leave that to ownership to talk about and Dave [Dombrowski],” Kennedy said. “I will say that there’s been active, there’s been activity coming out of baseball ops obviously since the end of the year to try and improve, but I’ll leave the rest of that to those guys.”