A year and a half ago the Red Sox signed a 5-year, $95 million contract with Giants third baseman, Pablo Sandoval. The deal was well welcomed in Red Sox Nation, and everyone couldn’t wait to see the World Series winning player in a Boston uniform. Fast forward a season and you’ll now see Travis Shaw on third, and Sandoval riding the bench, and occasionally popping belts at the plate. In his first season in Boston, Sandoval was a huge disappointment considering his cost. Sandoval had a .245 average, down from his career highest of .345 in 2008 with San Francisco. Sandoval claimed to have spent this offseason working out heavily and slimming down. He reported for spring training looking very similar to last season, and playing potentially worse. Shaw took over Sandoval’s starting position towards the end of spring training, and has played at third for all five of Boston’s regular season games this year. If you get booed at your home opener, you might not have been worth the money. With Sandoval seemingly tanking, I looked at Boston’s most expensive deals over the years, grading them on how well they’ve paid off for the Sox.
The most expensive deal in Red Sox history came in this past offseason. David Price signed with Boston on a 7 year $217 million contract, making him the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. Though some complained, other rejoiced that the Sox would finally have an ace, despite having to break the bank to get him. Price has started 1 game* for Boston this season, with a 3.00 ERA, and 10 strikeouts. So far Price has been worth his price tag, but it’s far too early to tell. In 2015 he finished his half season in Toronto with a 2.30 ERA, and 87 strikeouts in 11 games played. While the lefty produces during the regular season, his recent postseason statistics are less than average. During the Jays playoff run last season, Price pitched 4 games and finished with a 6.17 ERA, and 23 strikeouts. While he’s pitched well thus far for Boston, time will tell if he was worth the $217 million the Sox forked over.
Behind David Price, the Sox most costly player was Manny Ramirez in 2000. The outfielder signed with Boston for an 8-year, $160 million contract. Ramirez stayed with the Sox for the full 8 years, helping Boston in 2004 to their first World Series since 1918. He had his best seasons with Boston towards the beginning and middle of his contract, and started to fade out towards the end. Arguably his best season with the Sox was in 2004, where he hit 43 homers, batted .308 and was named the MVP of the World Series. Worth it? Absolutely. Not only was Ramirez a great asset to the Red Sox, but also he was an entertainer on and off the field. Who other than Manny would run into the Green Monster to use the bathroom, and return just as the pitch was being delivered? As a part of Red Sox nation, I hated Manny, but I loved Manny; absolutely worth the money.
Another one of my favorites who happened to also be an expensive sign is Dustin Pedroia. The second-baseman has been with the Sox since 2006 and in 2013, the Sox extended Pedroia through 2021 for $110 million. Pedroia has given us more than enough to be worth his cost. Since his extension, he’s batted .301 at his best, and .278 at his worst. In his ten years with Boston he’s had 118 homers, and 590 RBI’s. He was part of the 2013 World Series, an original bearded brother. Not to mention Sox games wouldn’t be the same without the famous Pedroia face, opening his mouth into an “O” at every at bat.
We’ve mentioned the good, now let’s talk about the ugly. Some say it’s too early to tell for this Sox pitcher, but I say it’s all over. Behind Price, Rick Porcello was the highest paid pitcher in the Sox franchise. Four years at $82.5 million, and Porcello has been nothing but a bust. He finished the 2015 season with a 4.92 ERA and 9 wins over 172 innings pitched. He’s pitched one game for the Sox this season, pitching 6 innings giving up 4 runs with 7 strikeouts and 9 walks. Maybe I’m being too harsh and this guy will prove to be worth it in the end. Luckily (unluckily) we have him for two more years following this season to find out. In the end my opinion means next to nothing. Whether or not I think players are worth the money, the owners will continue to spend and we’ll continue to find a way to complain.
*all stats as of April 11, 2016