BOSTON (CBS) - If you are surprised or maddened by the Red Sox start to the 2014 season, don't be. This is exactly what they paid for.
Has there been a team in recent history that did less to improve their roster after winning a championship than this Red Sox team?
Forget just Major League Baseball. Look around the entire sports landscape. Has there been a franchise that rested on its laurels more than the 2014 Boston Red Sox?
After defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win the World Series, the Sox "bolstered" their roster in the offseason by signing Edward Mujica, Burke Badenhop, Jonathan Herrera, Grady Sizemore and a 37-year-old A.J. Pierzynski -- not exactly names that scream 'REPEAT CHAMPS!'
The Red Sox also said goodbye to Jacoby Ellsbury and were comfortable heading into the season with an aging Shane Victorino, an unproven Jackie Bradley Jr. and the oft-injured Grady Sizemore, who is one slip of the banana peel away from early retirement.
What did they expect would happen? "They" meaning Ben Cherington, Larry Lucchino and the entire front office.
Did they really expect Daniel Nava to hit .303 again? Did they really expect to overcome, or altogether avoid major injuries again? Did they really expect to go through an entire season without losing more than three games in a row again?
With New York in town, it's hard not to juxtapose the two teams and wonder, "When did the Red Sox become the Tampa Bay Rays?" In comparison, it sure seems that way.
We often criticize the Patriots for their bargain basement shopping on veteran free agents, but nobody has dipped their hands into the Walmart $5 DVD bin more than the Red Sox have of late.
Now, nobody expected them to be in on Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka after the failed Daisuke Matsuzaka experiment, and not one fan griped when Jacoby Ellsbury bolted to the Bronx and signed a seven-year, $153 million contract -- but is this really the direction we're heading?
Nobody cried when Magic Johnson gifted the Red Sox the biggest do over in history by taking Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford off the books, but what happened to the Red Sox that got into bidding wars for Mark Teixeira? You mean to tell me you'd rather have A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate than Brian McCann?
I miss those Red Sox, not this Oakland Athletics-wannabe squad.
With the highest ticket prices in the bigs, fans at Fenway not only expect more, but they deserve more too.
It's gone too far the other way. We're talking about the Red Sox here, the team consistently ranked in the top five of MLB payrolls.
When the Red Sox were faced with a glaring, obvious need in outfield this offseason they passed on Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and others. Instead, general manager Ben Cherington channeled his inner Moneyball Brad Pitt and rolled the dice on Grady Sizemore for $750,000.
Nelson Cruz, for one year and $8 million, currently has more runs batted in than the entire Red Sox opening day outfield.
But hey, you get what you pay for.
This is Andrew Celani's writing debut on CBSBostonSports.com. Tell him how much you disagree with his take on Twitter @ACE_Worldwide.
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