Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom drew the ire of fans last month at Winter Weekend. There were loud boos as they attempted to explain the direction of a club that finished fifth in the 2022 American League East standings and lost star shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free agency.
Henry has mostly avoided the media in recent years, but he addressed the pessimism surrounding the team in a brief email exchange with The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey. Asked about the booing at Winter Weekend and whether it motivated him to take a different approach, Henry gave a head-scratcher of a response.
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"There is a false narrative surrounding the club," Henry wrote to McCaffrey. "It really took hold in 2022. There were even false reports of booing at Fenway Park during the Winter Classic. I think those factors and losing Xander to San Diego were the biggest factors. Those are the fans you would believe are the least likely to try to shout us down, but it happened. Did anyone report the standing ovation at the end?"
Not only did fans boo Henry at the NHL Winter Classic, but they also yelled at him to sign star third baseman Rafael Devers to a contract extension. The Red Sox even confiscated a fan's "Pay Rafael Devers" sign and admitted their wrongdoing shortly thereafter.
They did sign Devers to a lucrative extension just three days later, but fans shouldn't expect that kind of spending to become a trend. McCaffrey asked Henry if he still sees the Red Sox on the same level as big spenders like the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets.
"If you add the championships together of those four clubs I’m not sure they would match our total over the last 20 years," Henry said. "They have all had down years or periods and we had a disappointing 2022 after a strong 2021. Again, I think there is a narrative at work that doesn’t match up well with the facts. However, if you are asking if we are going to now move to $300 million payrolls the answer is no."
As for what the organization could have done differently to re-sign Bogaerts, who signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the Padres...
"We could have offered 12 years!" Henry answered.
Red Sox ownership will meet with the team Monday morning in Fort Myers, Fla. Henry and Co. are not expected to speak to the media.