This was a year of change for the Fenway Frauds, as pitcher Curt Schilling “retired” while known PED user Manny Ramírez was traded away to the Los Angeles Dodgers—where he would be suspended formally in 2009 for PED use. Clearly, once Manny was somewhere else that didn’t need the revenue as desperately, MLB stepped in and busted him.
But we digress: As the defending World Series champs, the Red Sox began a roster overhaul that still saw the team win 95 games, claim the American League wild card, and advance to the AL Championship Series, where thankfully Boston lost to Tampa Bay in 7 games. Imagine the horror of a cheating team winning back-to-back titles, something that still hasn’t happened yet … mercifully.
Exhibit A: J.D. Drew
The Red Sox signed him in February 2007 to a five-year, $70M contract, and in that championship year, Drew hit a disappointing .270 with just 11 HRs. So, guess what happened in Year 2 for Drew at Fenway Park? You guessed it: His OPS jumped 131 points to .927, even though he only managed to play in 109 games for Boston. We have theories here.
Nothing about the disinterested Drew suggested he was a PED user before he got to Fenway. Always considered an underachiever, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 1997 draft was a head case with an annoying-as-fuck agent, too. But it’s common for first-time users to get hurt, and while Drew never played more than 146 games in a season, he did manage 286 games over the 2006-2007 seasons.
At age 32 in 2008, who knows what was going on in Drew’s spaced-out brain? He wasn’t worth $14M in 2007, and maybe the Red Sox organization put pressure on him to perform. Maybe Manny and David Ortiz did, too. Either way, he got a lot better even if he played fewer games. It’s suspicious, with all that money hanging on there on the Boston clothesline.
Exhibit B: Sean Casey
At age 33, this was the final season of his MLB career. Two years prior, he split time with Detroit and Pittsburgh, posting a combined .724 OPS in 112 games. His best season came in 2004 at age 29 (.915 OPS), which feels about normal. So, by the time he got to Boston, Casey was washed up and on his last legs—which isn’t saying much considering his career total of 18 stolen bases.
He managed only 69 games with the Red Sox in 2008, but his OPS jumped 49 points while he hit a crazy .322 in 199 ABs. You know he wasn’t legging out infield singles, either. Maybe this was the effect of the Wall for a left-handed spray hitter like Casey; maybe it was something else. After making $8.5M with the Pirates and the Tigers in 2006, he was only making $800K for the Red Sox at this point.
We might be able to remove money as a factor here, but we can never remove Manny, Ortiz, and the organization as a whole, however. It is just super fishy when a guy’s batting average jumps 50 points as he gets older by two years, for sure, and he happens to be playing for the Fenway Frauds.
Exhibit C: Jason Bay
In 2007, he was 28 years old, and perhaps already in decline, when he put together a .746 OPS for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bay was a former NL ROTY vote winner and two-time All Star who suddenly dropped off a cliff in production. In 2008, however, he suddenly got it back, posting a combined .895 OPS for the Pirates (106 games) and the Red Sox (49 games).
Why did Pittsburgh dump him? Salary, probably, as they owed him almost $14M still. And after 2007, they couldn’t risk it. Bay played a total of 200 games with the Red Sox in 2008-2009, posting a .915 OPS combined, and that secured him over $65M more in the last 4-plus years of his career, with the New York Mets (.687 OPS in 288 games) and the Seattle Mariners (.691 in 68)—where he was most unproductive.
This really stinks; he was clearly angling for the last contract of his life, had very suspicious success in Boston, and then was absolutely terrible from ages 31-34 with the Mets and the Mariners, respectively. He was already 25 years old when he reached the majors for good, so those late bloomers are often quite suspect, and his prime was very brief as a result. It all adds up to … you guessed it: fraud!
Exhibit D: Bartolo Colon
To be honest, we forgot Big Butt Colon ever pitched in Boston. But it makes sense: At ages 33-34 with the Anaheim Angels, Colon posted a scary-bad 5.90 ERA after oddly winning the AL Cy Young vote at age 32. A free agent, he signed with the Red Sox to try to revive his career; it worked, sort of. Colon went on to earn almost $50M more in his mediocre career before hanging up his spikes at age 45 in 2018.
Now, let’s break this down: In Boston, he lowered his ERA, in a hitter’s park, to 3.92 ERA even though he only managed 7 starts on the year. What is it that we know often happens to first-time users? Uh huh. Then, he pitched just 62-plus innings in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox (4.19 ERA) before being out of the majors entirely in 2010.
Then, in 2011, he makes an age-38 comeback with the New York Yankees, alongside known PED users Robinson Canó and Álex Rodríguez: His 4.00 ERA over 29 appearances and 164-plus innings secure him a deal with the Oakland Athletics for $2M in 2012. Then, he gets suspended for PED use, even though the A’s re-sign him and give him $3M for 2013. Don’t even ask, please, because it’s vile.
So, basically, after pitching for the Red Sox in 2008, Colon soon takes a whole season off and then comes back to have a second career, going on to win 44 games with the Mets over 3 seasons while posting a 3.90 ERA at ages 41-43. It’s funny how these suspensions almost never happen in cities where there will be lost revenue as a result, huh? This guy’s whole second act was a fraud, and it started here.
Conclusion: We know this, but it’s all about money for the players, too
For the record, before Manny was traded away during this season, he was hitting .299 at age 36 with a .926 OPS … so he was still being Manny—and is not mentioned above, as the Boston organization finally tried to wash their hands of his filth, two World Series titles later. Ho hum.
But looking at the shenanigans above, it’s clear the Red Sox didn’t change any philosophies. They did manage to not end up paying extra in salary for much here, though, as the players used what they learned in the Boston organization to go on fleecing other teams—particularly in the Bay and Colon situations. It’s unreal how much money those two guys literally stole at the end of their career.