It all started so innocently. Adrian Beltre came to the Boston Red Sox in 2010 on a one year free agent deal. No one could foresee that the curse was on its way.
Beltre was the biggest bright spot on the 2010 Red Sox. Signed to a 9$ million one year deal, Beltre had a monster season for the Sox, hitting .321/.365/.553 with 28 home runs in his 154 games. Combined with his defense, he turned in a 7.4 WAR season, the fourth highest in the American League.
Heading into the offseason after 2010, the Sox management had an interesting decision to make. Should they re-sign Beltre to play third base and keep Kevin Youkilis at first base, or let Beltre walk and continue to pursue Adrian Gonzalez? To their everlasting regret, the Sox management decided to pursue Gonzalez, and The Curse of Adrian Beltre was born.
Since November of 2010 when Adrian Beltre filed for free agency, here are just a few of the transactions the Red Sox have made:
– December 2010 Red Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez
– December 2010 Red Sox sign Carl Crawford
– December 2010 Red Sox sign Bobby Jenks
– July 2011 Red Sox trade for Erik Bedard
Yikes what a horror show! My hands were shaking as I typed that list.
I’m not seriously suggesting that Adrian Beltre has cursed the Boston Red Sox. Why would Beltre want to curse the Red Sox in the first place? Much like Babe Ruth, he has gone on to more success with his new team then he had with the Red Sox. But the Red Sox haven’t been to the postseason since he left the team. I’m just sayin’.
The first mistake may have been letting Beltre leave. I certainly didn’t see any red flags in acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but the argument can be made that having Beltre at third base andKevin Youkilis at first base is a much stronger defensive lineup. The move for Gonzalez also shifted Youkilis to a tougher position at a time when he was already recovering from an injury. I would argue that this move prematurely ended Youk’s time in Boston.
That doesn’t even take into account the contract difference. Texas signed Beltre for five years and 80$ million, while the Sox gave Gonzalez a seven year 154$ million deal. Then they decided they needed even more offense and signed Carl Crawford to his massive deal, a move that I’m sure haunts Theo Epstein to this day.
Letting Beltre go and trading for Gonzalez wasn’t the nail in the coffin for the 2011 and 2012 Red Sox teams. It was, however, one of many moves that showed a shift away from the front office philosophies that had brought World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. There has certainly been some bad luck involved, but many of these moves were seen as problematic from the time they were made.
Hopefully the trade with the Dodgers in August ended the period of front office mistakes. The Sox seem primed for a return to their former player development ways. But if Stephen Drew continues to get hurt, Jonny Gomes’ hamstring snaps and flys over the Green Monster, and Ryan Dempster suffers a freak luggage accident, we will all know who to blame: Adrian Beltre.