In case you weren't paying attention to anything concerning the Boston Red Sox (why would you?), just a few short months ago the fans were legitimately trying to stage a protest of the organization, as non-season ticket holders promised they would not be purchasing season tickets for the 2023 season because of how bad the 2022 campaign went (but in 2021 they were puffing their chests at everyone after making an ALCS run).
They were ready to run Chaim Bloom out of town, citing countless failed trades, signings, draft picks, you name it. And it all comes back to the Mookie Betts trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2020.
Everything really hit the fan on that front for the Red Sox when the team designated Jeter Downs -- the top prospect in the deal who Boston fought to get included in the package -- for assignment in the offseason. Fans absolutely lost it, and the decision gave the entire baseball community the undisputed opportunity to call the Betts trade an abject failure for the Red Sox.
But don't you forget how deep the delusion runs in Boston. After just over a month of play during the 2023 season, they're now all of a sudden back on the Chaim train because Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong -- the other two players in that trade package -- are finally providing above-average output.
It's obvious (wait, or is it?) that Red Sox Twitter is joking when they say stuff like this, but they don't reserve the right to be sarcastic when it comes to one of the worst trades in baseball history.
Red Sox fans even joking about Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers is insulting
Through Thursday's action, Verdugo is hitting .315 with an .897 OPS, 26 runs scored, 5 home runs and 18 RBI. Wong is hitting .284 with an .849 OPS, 12 runs scored, 3 home runs and 10 RBI. The Sox are 19-14 after six straight wins (yes, when they were 13-14 it was of course all doom and gloom).
We'll see how long this lasts. Wong's 27 games in 2022 were terrible, while Verdugo's slightly above-average bat was called out by manager Alex Cora at the end of last season when the outfielder was implored to "take the next step." The early returns are good, yes, but the 162-game marathon -- not the month of April -- will tell the whole story.
Instead of mostly turmoil from 2020-2022, the Sox could've simply had Betts' MVP-like output, which could've put them over the edge in 2021 against the Astros or even changed their fortunes in the other two embarrassing campaigns (both last-place finishes in the division).
As for even joking about this being a "fleece," the Dodgers have the best hitting catcher in MLB in Will Smith (and had two prospects more highly rated than Wong since the trade) and a Rookie of the Year candidate in James Outman, who's already arguably better than Verdugo.
Even if this trade did a complete 180 for the Sox, the Dodgers would still come out on top and it wouldn't even be close. Can't forget about those 15 home runs at Triple-A for Wong, though ...