Red Sox Owner John Henry Talks Fans’ Expectations, Comments on Potential Sale

Red Sox Owner John Henry

Getty Images Red Sox Owner John Henry

After months of speculation fueled by back-to-back disappointing seasons for the Boston Red Sox, owner John Henry has put the rumors to rest: he has no plans to sell the beloved Boston baseball organization.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Henry addressed the growing concerns about his commitment to the franchise and competing for World Series titles. While he also touched on proposals to invest in the PGA Tour and the status of his other holdings in Fenway Sports Group, his remarks on the Red Sox will grab the attention of Red Sox fans, hopeful that Henry could potentially move on from owning the Red Sox.

“My wife and I live and work in Boston,” Henry said. “We are committed to the city, the region. So the Sox are not going to come up for sale. We generally don’t sell assets.”

This may be a significant disappointment for loyal Red Sox fans, who haven’t seen a playoff game for the storied franchise since 2021. The Red Sox have floated right around the .500 mark for the entirety of the 2024 season after back-to-back last-place finishes in 2022 and 2023 in the AL East. Fans had high hopes when Chairman Tom Werner pledged a “full-throttle” winter, anticipating that the organization would utilize available funds to bolster the roster.

To the disappointment of the entire Red Sox nation, it was another eventless offseason in which the Red Sox failed to compete for the top free agents in baseball to build a roster capable of competing in the very talented AL East. However, John Henry believes that fan expectations may be a bit unrealistic.

Henry Suggests Red Sox Fans Need to Curb Their Expectations

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Henry shared his thoughts on Red Sox chairman Tom Werner’s comments regarding the Red Sox offseason plans that were supposed to be “full throttle.” Werner had Red Sox nation fired up that an offseason of spending on top free agents such as Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani was not only possible but probable.

“(Werner’s comments) overshadowed every other word, paragraph, and interview of the winter because it reaches so deeply into the false belief that many fans and media have that you should mortgage the future each year for the present,” Henry told the Financial Times. “You have to base acquisitions and dispositions on the future, not the past. That is unpopular generally.”

Henry continued touching on the unrealistic expectations of many fans in Boston. “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 Revenue Suggests They Should be a Top Spender in MLB

Henry’s comments on the Red Sox opting not to “mortgage the future each year for the present” not only dismiss the Red Sox’s back-to-back last-place finishes in the AL East but also ignore the fact that Forbes named the Red Sox the third-most valuable franchise in MLB. Forbes also listed the Red Sox’s annual revenue as $500 million.

However, the Red Sox ranked near the middle of the pack in MLB spending in 2024, with the 11th-highest total adjusted payroll in MLB. In 2023, the Red Sox ranked 13th in adjusted payroll and 6th in 2022. Ironically, the Red Sox ranked third for the highest ticket prices in 2023 and currently rank second for the highest average ticket prices in 2024.

The Red Sox most recent World Series-winning seasons, 2018 and 2013, they ranked first and fourth in total adjusted payroll, respectively. In their first two World Series victories in close to a century, in 2004 and 2007, the Red Sox ranked second to the Yankees in both championship seasons.

It would seem that the writing is on the wall: You need to spend money to compete for World Series titles. And while that level of spending certainly isn’t realistic for all 30 MLB teams, a team ranked third overall in value and bringing in $500 million annually, such as the Red Sox, shouldn’t spend the better part of three seasons in the cellar of their division.

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