Monday, October 28, 2013

'Seven Samurai' Free Agents Define Sox Run

They were Ben Cherington's big gamble of 2013—signing seven free agents who were not superstars, but winners. Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, and Ryan Dempster were all signed in the offseason as 'vaccinations' against the virus that was the dismal 2012 season. To a large extent, their 'presence' in the clubhouse and winning attitude have shaped the character of this team. Of course, winning baseball games is more about physics (ball hitting bat, ball missing bat), than chemistry. But who can deny that this team is more likable than either the 2012 or 2011 editions? All of the 'Samurai' were signed to shorter-term deals—although the money for some seemed excessive at the time. We at FenwayNation were critical of some, and picked this edition of The Carmine Hose to finish no better than fourth in the AL East. We were dead wrong and now Cherington looks like a genius. No matter what happens in the rest of the Fall Classic, this has been a revelation of a year and clear redemption for the Red Sox management team.