By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Suddenly, the Red Sox’ need to improve the offense has become a need to keep pace with their biggest rival.
The Yankees, one of four major league teams graced with Giancarlo Stanton’s blessing to waive his no-trade clause, have emerged as the victors in the quest to acquire the reigning National League MVP from the Marlins. Red Sox fans all over social media are losing their collective minds. It’s understandable to feel greatly concerned about the Yankees suddenly boasting the players who finished 1-2 in the majors in home runs in the middle of their lineup – while the Red Sox have effectively the same offense that finished last in the league in homers in 2017.
In Boston, the story now shifts to how Red Sox president of baseball ops. Dave Dombrowski will respond to the Yankees’ move – and yes, there needs to be some kind of legitimate response. Otherwise it would be hard to tell if anyone in the front office at Fenway Park even has a pulse.
The Yankees have assumed concerns of their own with their new slugger. Can Stanton prove that he can stay healthy for more than one full season in a row? Can he handle the sharp increase in fan and media scrutiny that will come with the uniform? Obviously, the Yanks felt those caveats were worth the risk, and the Red Sox did not.
But something still needs to happen in Boston, and it needs to happen this offseason. As undesirable as signing a free agent like J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer (both?) may seem compared to getting Stanton, it could be the best possible avenue for the Red Sox to add power and veteran leadership to their core this winter. With Dombrowski, you can never rule out a surprise trade, either – that might be ideal, but it’s not necessarily realistic.
The Red Sox will also probably have an eye toward the star-studded 2018 offseason, which will likely find guys like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson on the open market. Ideally they make a big acquisition now and still go for one of these players; making a lateral move and putting their one big addition off for a year was already a tough sell for Red Sox fans. With Stanton in the Bronx, the landscape of the AL East has changed, seismically.
Dombrowski now has no choice but to try to keep up with that change. There’s still the Winter Meetings and plenty of time for the rest of the offseason to play out, so there could very well be some huge moves in the near future for the Red Sox. It’s not exactly fair to hit the proverbial panic button before the Red Sox have done their business. But something big has to happen now, not just a year from now. The Red Sox bringing back essentially the same lineup as last year, while the Yankees offense gets unimaginably stronger, would simply be an unacceptable result.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.