Red Sox fans, are you tired of the approach by this team in recent years; spend money to cut and paste, seemingly without an eye toward character and chemistry? I'm not saying there's bad character guys on this team, other than Lackey; but they seem to be missing a special kind of character. And I'll digress for a moment and complain that Theo seems to fall in love with players, seemingly at the expense of logic but certainly at a very high expense. John Lackey is the poster boy for that but so is JD Drew.
But let's get back to the point. You're given COMPLETE control over the Red Sox. That means you can spend whatever you want but it also means you can cut whomever as well, even if that means you have to keep paying his salary. What approach do you take?
I, for one, would be seriously tempted to take the clean-house approach and I would do it in this way: I'd cut John Lackey and eat the contract. I would not go out on the free agency market and replace JD Drew. I would bring back Big Papi as long as the money and the years (2 at the most) make sense. I wouldn't give up on Crawford just yet for obvious reasons. I would only resign Papelbon if the money is right. I'd also want answers to these questions by the end of next season: Is Daniel Bard more valuable as a starter than a setup man? As much as Salty is growing on me, I want to find out whether Lavarnway can handle the pitching staff? So the catching position would be open next season. I want to find out whether I have anything in the minor leagues, especially pitching. If I have nothing down there, then I've got issues with the scouting and development people because that always has to be the backbone of any organization. If the Rays can consistently complete with a payroll 1/3 of the Sox, then what does that say about their approach versus ours?
Finally, I think the Sox need to be much younger. Look at the hunger and energy that teams like the Rays and the Diamondbacks play with. That has been absent with the Sox all year, even when they were playing like the best team in baseball.
In summary, I would have no problem taking a large step back for a year or two and develop players, restock the farm system and somehow adjust the culture in the clubhouse and on the field; ie, fundamentals are the highest priority and every game is important. We don't win just by showing up because we're supposedly better than everybody else. I'm concerned about the foundation or underpinnings of this organization. So I wouldn't mind losing and missing the playoffs for a couple of years if that's what it takes to fix it.
UPDATE: Now that Terry Francona is no longer the manager and it seems it was as much his decision to leave, what's that say about the character of that team? We don't know yet who the guys were who thought they could just show up and win but it's obvious there were enough of those guys to kill the chemistry of the team. What do you do about that if it's several of the high-priced, long-term signings?