The Red Sox have done an excellent job in the last moments of the Theo Epstein regime - has he really been gone for five years? - and during the Ben Cherington of scouting, drafting, and signing good young talent and then developing those players into major league contributors.
Actually, contributor is an understatement. Xander Bogaerts (2009 international free agent), Jackie Bradley Jr. (2011 draft), and Mookie Betts (2011 draft) all will start in tonight's All-Star Game.
Certainly there have been some misses - Rusney Castillo (2014 international free agent) getting over $10-million a year to hit .233 in Pawtucket headlines that list - but overall the franchise deserves kudos for developing a crop of top tier young talent.
One area in which they have consistently struggled to develop top tier talent is pitching. The Red Sox just do not have any pitchers in their system that are realistically ready to help them right now and that's a problem.
The potential top tier pitchers - Anderson Espinoza and Michael Kopech - are at Single-A and are at least two years away. But they are a step in the right direction. Another step in the right direction would be signing Jason Groome, who they drafted with the 12th pick in the first round of last month's draft.
Groome remains unsigned and the Red Sox have until Friday to come to terms on a contract with the 17-year-old lefty.
John Henry needs to pony up the necessary dollars to sign the New Jersey native because his farm system needs more top tier pitching prospects. The lack of pitching in the system right now is being felt in Boston because if the Red Sox had major league ready pitching than they wouldn't be so reliant on the trade market to add a pitcher that will (hopefully) keep them in the playoff picture.
The Patriots are sixteen days away from opening training camp and still no word on Tom Brady's fate.
More and more, it looks like it's time to embrace the idea that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the team's starting quarterback for the first four games.
Rumors continue to circulate that the Celtics are "getting close" to acquiring an impact player via trade that will help make them a championship contender in 2017.
The names circulating through cyberspace continue to be DeMarcus Cousins, Jahlil Okafor, Jimmy Butler, and Blake Griffin. We can now add Rudy Gay to that list as well.
How about this for a hypothetical trade with the Celtics and Kings?
Sacramento ships Cousins and Gay to Boston in exchange for Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, R.J. Hunter, James Young, Boston's 2017 first round pick, and Brooklyn's 2018 first round pick.
Boston would sport a starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Gay, Al Horford, and Cousins with a bench of Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier, and Jonas Jerebko with Jordan Mickey, Demetrius Jackson, Ben Bentil, and Abdel Nader competing to round out the rotation pending some minor free agent acquistions.
Enjoy Big Papi tonight.