From a purely objective standpoint, Red Sox fans have no reason to be up-in-arms. Yes, the Red Sox did fail to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. Yes, Jayson Werth just signed with the Nationals on a contract that would make Barry Zito blush. And yes, things are looking down in Boston.
What every Red Sox fan seems to forget is that the Red Sox did not actually lose anything, and that two days ago, there was almost no indication that Gonzalez was even available.
And yet, sure enough, the usual rally cries are sounding. Theo and Henry don't care about winning! Fire Theo! Kick out Henry! Liverpool! Liverpool! Liverpool!
It's not like the idea itself was a bad one. Theo gave the Red Sox a chance at signing one of the best hitting first basemen in the league before anyone else got a shot at him. When the contract demands proved too high, they balked and everything went back to normal. Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo remain Red Sox, and Adrian Gonzalez will still be a free agent come next November.
What the Red Sox have on their hands is not a baseball disaster, but a public relations one. But let's be honest, are we surprised? Since when has this team let the fanbase dictate their moves? The fact is that PR in baseball can be an easy fix. Couldn't sign Gonzalez? Get Crawford. The people who are angry about Gonzalez will, for the most part, equate the two. And if Crawford plays in center, then the people who aren't angry might just like it too.
But what really matters is, come April, does the team win? For some reason a lot of people seem to believe that the Red Sox' failures in ratings last year were the result of some lack of star power. Maybe it was the slow start? Or the injuries that crippled them the second they pulled within a game of the AL East lead. Let's be frank, it's all about contending.
Does Adrian Gonzalez help them do that? Yes, but at what cost? How much would that $20-$25 million spent elsewhere go towards winning?
We'll find out come April, because it's hard to imagine that those dollars are actually going anywhere other than on the field at Fenway Park.