A decision to put Daniel Bard back in the bullpen is an admission that the failure to sign Jonathan Papelbon long-term was a colossal mistake.
If closer is of secondary importance, then in no way do you waste Daniel Bard in that role. If closer is of primary importance, then in no way do you leave your payroll in such a terrible condition that you can't afford to bid the going market rate for your world class closer.
Unfortunately, the very poor anticipation of just how badly the new CBA would castrate the Red Sox revenue advantages led to extremely poor over-allocation of payroll to shiny new extraneous baubles like Lackey and Crawford when they should have been saving that money to lock up their star, dependable, high-quality, (and, if Bard must be used there) irreplaceable closer.
And, anyway, when you look at Papelbon, Reddick, McDonald vs Bailey, Sweeney, and Ross, how much are you actually saving?
I have to take issue with this. The Sox got a proven closer (yes he was not a picture of health but his injury has nothing to do with that) who happened to go down for about 4 months. Deciding that their best option is to replace him with Bard and place Aceves, Cook later, and DiceK later in his rotation spot is in no way admitting that they should have signed Papelbon.
Plus, there was no real way to anticipate the effects of the CBA deal. While I agree that the Lackey and Crawford deals are hurting the team CBA or not, to blame the FO for not planning on the CBA's effects is not fair.
The obvious problem is that the Sox have a ton of wasted money on the books to start the year on the DL. Lackey, Matsuzaka, Jenks, and Bailey is close to $40M that's unlikely to generate much return this season. How many pitching staffs have that much invested in injured pitchers?
It's way too early to claim that letting Papelbon go was a mistake. I mean, he hasn't pitched a game with Philly yet and we are yet to see how his replacements will perform here. And hell, it's about more than just this year.
This is also important. Very few closers, if any, have proven to be worth the multi year deals they are given. Let's see what Papelbon does first, and please, if he happens to have a great 2012, let's remember Pedro's 2006/7/8 (as much as it hurts to do so).
Edited by trekfan55, 03 April 2012 - 10:47 PM.