2010 - No playoffs
2011 - No playoffs
2012 - No playoffs
2013 - Championship
2014 - No playoffs
This team isn't that good, nor have they been for a fairly long stretch.
The world series victory was an aberration spurned on by an event that transcended baseball and brought them together for a cause bigger than the team. Motivation like that is rare, and we all saw how the team rallied together, and around this event.
The existing core from the past 5 years: Ortiz, Pedroia, Lester, Lackey...that's about it. All are over, or close to being past their primes. None of the 4 is going to produce to the level they have in the past.
If/when the Sox win another title...these players will be role players/veteran leadership...IF they are still around.
I can't stress enough how it's past time to move on from what the Sox were, and start to forge a new identity.
It's a GOOD thing to let a group of kids play together in the Bigs, and let them sort of figure it out. Some will fail, others will surpass expectations...but for this team, at this point...it's the undeniably right way to go.
To further that...I really believe in TRADING Lester. This team is not set up to win within the next few seasons. They are far more than "1 piece" away. They need pitching. They need to figure out their LONG TERM CATCHING SOLUTION (this was my biggest gripe in letting Salty walk, 3 seasons, 3 different starting Cs is a stupid plan, and that's exactly what the Sox willingly did). They need to button down some OF starters: JBJ? Holt? Middlebrooks? Betts? Who is going to be a true starter, role player, cast off? Who, T F, is playing SS? What IS Xander? How long can Pedroia last? Who's going to take over at 1B? Is there any kind of post-Papi plan (middle of the order bat)?
So many questions that aren't ready to be answered. I don't see how paying a guy at the top of the pitching market is any kind of help. Has having this "ace" pitch so well this year made even the slightest difference? Is that going to change next year? 2016? I don't see it. Sure, if 6 of these kids all arrive, and perform....sure, it will then be pretty good to have Lester....maybe. But if 6 of these kids arrive, it's just as believable some of the young arm arrive to Lester's level. Or close to it.
I look around the league to teams with "aces" and see no definitive link to winning. I look at the teams with the highest paid pitchers across MLB, and it seems to point to even LESS winning.
Prove to me teams NEED an established "ace" going into the season to win.
Prove to me paying 30+ year old pitchers is ever a good idea.
I've looked, and found little evidence to support either line of thinking, and yet, people still spout "we need an ace....who's going to replace him....that's the cost of business..." All mindless, unintelligent ramblings. I put the list of the 12 highest paid pitchers in another thread...and everyone just ignored the painful facts that paying a guy 20_ million doesn't work, also that paying guys over 30 doesn't work, and people just spout the same nonsense.
Don't just say "that's how it is"....tell me WHY it should remain that way. PEDs are getting out of the game, guys don't produce into their late 30s with regular frequency anymore, but people seem to still be working off of the assumption they will. Maybe Ortiz has blinded people to the reality of MLB? He's, by far, the EXCEPTION, not the rule.