On Monday morning, The Athletic released their 2024 Player Poll (behind the paywall) in which they interviewed over 100 anonymous players across 18 MLB teams. Player polls are typically refreshing, providing a better snapshot of reality than false narratives and misrepresentations spread by talking heads.

One such question in the poll asked players: "Which team would you sign with if contracts, state taxes, and rosters were not a factor?" Surprisingly, the Boston Red Sox received the second highest percentage of the vote, as 9.3 percent of players picked the Sox uniform as one that they would like to don one day. The Atlanta Braves captured the top spot, taking home 12.7 percent of the vote.

First things first. Eliminating "contracts, state taxes, and rosters" from the equation in a player's decision to sign is admittedly disqualifying some of the most important factors that a free agent might consider when deciding on where to put pen to paper.

For Red Sox fans, Boston's place in the poll supplies both optimism and frustration. The results bring tangible reassurance that despite the franchise's 189-201 record and no playoff appearances since 2021, big league players still want to play here. They hold the franchise and its history in high regard, and consider Boston as one of the premier organizations in the sport. That's good news.

The frustrating part? The results imply that if John Henry would actually break out the paycheck and meet market values, the team could land some game-changing free agents. In the offseason, reports emerged of mandated budgets within the Red Sox organization, presumptively set by Henry. The reported budget set fell short of the competitive balance tax threshold. Essentially, there was no real rationale for that payroll budget to be set at the $225 million other than so Henry could pinch pennies.

Henry expanded on the club's decision not to spend in free agency in an email interview (since he refuses to answer any questions face to face) that was released late last week. One snippet via John Tomase of NBC Sports Boston:

Henry held firm on the club's decision to avoid spending heavily in free agency and suggested the fans hold unrealistic expectations. 'Because fans expect championships almost annually,' he said, 'they easily become frustrated and are not going to buy into what the odds actually are: one in 20 or one in 30.'Red Sox owner John Henry

In his answer, Henry conveniently ignores the fact that he could very easily improve said odds by paying up for top free agents. His entire email interview came off as a middle finger to a passionate fanbase that has become increasingly embittered with the franchise's direction. Pressed on if he would sell the Red Sox (something that an increasing amount of Sox fans have been clamoring for), he replied "We generally don't sell assets". For Henry, that's all that this organization is to him - an asset.

The Athletic's player poll has established that big leaguers still want to play here in Boston. Does John Henry's bank account want them to come here? Well, that is the larger question at the moment.

More Red Sox news and rumors:

This article was originally published on as Do Players Want to Play for the Red Sox? Latest MLB Player Poll Reveals.

2024-06-10T22:39:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd