The last time a bridge metaphor was applied to the Red Sox offseason, it ended up collapsing like the one over the River Kwai.

Never mind that to this day, few even remember what then-general manager Theo Epstein actually said to cause such wailing and heavens-beseeching. He certainly didn’t use “bridge” as a synonym for “rebuild,” but once released into the wilds of sports talk and public opinion, it metastasized. “It wasn’t his finest Winston Churchill moment,” team chairman Tom Werner huffed, and if Epstein didn’t get it, why should fans?

Needless to say, don’t expect anyone related to the Red Sox to use the B-word this season, but Epstein’s quote from December 2009 applies even more acutely now than it did then.

“We talked about this a lot at the end of the year, that we’re kind of in a bridge period,” Epstein said then. “We still think that if we push some of the right buttons, we can be competitive at the very highest levels for the next two years. But we don’t want to compromise too much of the future for that competitiveness during the bridge period, and we don’t want to sacrifice our competitiveness during the bridge just for the future. So we’re just trying to balance both those issues.”