Seven years ago Theo Epstein spent Thanksgiving Day at the home of Curt and Rhonda Schilling. Epstein signed Schilling and the Sox have gone on to win two world championships after eighty six years of futility. Fast forward seven years to almost the day and Red Sox Nation is not talking about who was signed but instead a player who was lost to free agency. Victor Martinez went to the Tigers and was offered a contract many Sox fans feel the Red Sox brass should have matched. The general con census is Adrian Beltre is not far behind.
Red Sox Nation is up in arms. Folks throughout New England are pushing the panic button before the presents are under the tree. Many of the message board posters and callers to talk radio stations through ought Boston and beyond are calling for Epstein’s head. Is this reaction perhaps a bit premature?
Since 2003 while Epstein has been Boston’s GM the Red Sox have averaged 94 wins per season and have qualified for the post season six times. During that time the Red Sox have been crowned world champions twice. Despite the track record a significant number of fans are losing interest. During the 2010 season television ratings took significant loses and interest in the team appears to be waning. Will Epstein feel pressured to make a splash in order to restore faith and interest? I doubt it.
Losing Martinez and Beltre leaves the Red Sox with two major holes in their lineup. Beltre batted .321, hit 28 home runs, and contributed 102 RBIs. Martinez batted .302, knocked in 79 runs, and hit 20 home runs. That offensive production will need to come from somewhere and it will. Theo Epstein and Red Sox ownership will put a competitive team on the field in 2011. You need to have a little patience Red Sox Nation. Don’t panic….yet.