Will the Red Sox be buyers or sellers?

With the Red Sox sitting at .500, 43-43 and 9.5 games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East standings at the All-Star break, the biggest question among fans is whether or not the team will be buyers or sellers at this month’s trade deadline.

Despite being 9.5 games out in the division, the team is only 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but the issue is there are five teams ahead of them.

With all of the injured players scheduled to come back in the next few weeks the Red Sox could look at those as midseason acquisitions, or they could become sellers and trade some of their star players

Tony Massarotti believes that the Red Sox should be sellers, and look to trade one of their top pitchers.

Possessors of a 40-35 record roughly 10 days ago, the Red Sox limped into the All-Star break late Sunday night on the heels of a 7-3 defeat to the Yankees at Fenway Park. With loss, the Sox dropped to a perfectly mediocre 43-43. But before we make this too much of a big-picture issue, let’s focus on the two men who absolutely needed to step up in the weekend series against New York and who jointly fell on their faces.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

Massarotti wants the Red Sox to trade Beckett or Lester, but not both.

If Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are smart – and assuming they are not doing so already – they should be exploring any and all deals for either Beckett or Lester (but not both) as we approach the trading deadline set for the end of this month. Lester is obviously the more desirable to keep, but he would probably fetch more in return.

Massarotti brings up the dreadful numbers of the two starters this season, and also throws in a random line mentioning John Lackey.

Beckett and Lester also rank 28th and 30th among the same 41 pitchers in ERA, making it all the more curious that the Sox would allow chicken-fried running mate John Lackey to be joining the team on road trips despite the fact that he will not pitch for at least the majority of this season.

To me, I think the Red Sox will either be buyers, or do nothing — not be sellers. First of all, who could the Red Sox look to move?

Beckett would be extremely tough to deal because he has 10-5 rights, and who would the Red Sox look to get for Lester? Prospects? What good would prospects do for the Red Sox, who aren’t about rebuilding, rather look to win year in and year out. Very rarely at the deadline do you see starts being traded for stars.

With the number of injuries the Red Sox have had, especially in their outfield, it is presenting an issue when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return.

Daniel Nava has been outstanding filling in for Crawford. Ryan Kalish performed pretty well before being sent down to Pawtucket last week when Ryan Sweeney returned from the disabled list. Sweeney has played well when he’s been healthy, and Cody Ross is on pace to hit a career high home runs, despite missing a month with a fractured foot. Where are all of these players going to go? They are too good to be optioned to Triple-A.

The team could look to deal the likes of Nava and Kalish, but they need to think long-term. Ellsbury is set to become a free agent after next season, and all signs point to him not resigning. Crawford has battled injuries this entire season, so can he really be depended on? Thinking long-term the Red Sox cannot deal away their young outfielders.

With the recent news that Carl Crawford is contemplating Tommy John surgery following the season keeping him out 6-8 months that would take him a few months into next season. What is the sense of Crawford even playing this season?

He should have the surgery now, and not try and play when he really shouldn’t. He should call this season a wash, and direct his full attention to 2013.

The Red Sox’ hands are tied. They really cannot be sellers at the trade deadline. They are forced to go with the players that they have signed to contracts, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

With the amount of talent on the roster they can get hot and click at the right time to string together a number of wins to get right back into the playoff hunt. Despite the struggles of the front-end of the starting rotation they have all proven they can be “aces,” who is to say they cannot step up and perform like them in the second half.

But, with the difficult schedule that awaits the team following the All-Star break, they could dig themselves a hole that is too deep to dig out of.

  • bsmfan

    Not sure how the media is covering this one but does anyone find it ironic that Cleveland seems to be the linchpin in the 26-team, 3-country, 5-league, 25-player deal that will send Dwight Howard to the Nets? (One person suggested the trade is so complex that he would wind up back on Orlando without anyone knowing it.)

    Didn’t Dan Gilbert rail against super teams? The Chris Paul trade? Now he is facilitating building another?

    • tl;138

      What does that have to do with the Red Sox and the likelihood of them trading players at the deadline?

      • bsmfan

        Nothing. It was a continuation of the NBA talk from the previous post.

      • Guest

        troll on!

      • Winning_Again

        You really are a douche! Rather than comment on anything, you simply point out something that you know will attract feedback! You sir are the definition of a troll, and I hope your are removed from this site as you have never provided anything other than, too long- didn’t read.

        • Winning_Again

          Knowing how your weak mind operates:

          “hope you* are…”

        • tl;138

          I haven’t posted “tl;dr” in quite some time. You need to stop choking on your rage so you can build a bridge and get over it.

          The only reason I use the name “tl;138″ is because Bruce-lock Holmes, using his epic powers of deduction, figured out I was using two names when I post.

  • JJ

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Agree 100% on Crawford. I feel bad that the general public doesn’t really seem to be aware of how much he’s putting himself through to try and play this year, because it shows how seriously he approaches the game and his obligations to the team. But in the big picture, this year’s a loss, so why jeopardize his health any further? Shut him down, let him have the surgery he desperately needs, and get a healthy Crawford ready for 2013.

    I don’t think Beckett’s 10/5 rights would be that much of a hurdle to trading him. Fans consistently underestimate how little a professional athlete cares about playing in Boston. Beckett got his payday — if, say, he had a chance to return to Texas and be closer to home, what would be keeping him here? Man-love for Lackey and Lester? Answer: NOTHING. The real issues there are (a) how much salary are you (the Red Sox) going to have to eat if you trade him, and (b) what can you expect in return. Unless someone out there’s got a huge jones for Beckett right now, the cost/benefit analysis on trading him is probably negative.

    As an aside, I’m seeing the same thing re: assumed desire to be in Boston going on with all the fan agita over Ray Allen going to Miami. Is he sticking it to the Celtics? Does he hate Rondo and Doc? Etc. Etc. Etc. All of it presupposes that nobody would rationally want to play somewhere else for less money. But Ray’s not a Celtics fan. He’s a basketball player, and this is his job and his life. He’s got plenty of money (by all accounts he’s smart and invested well), and — let’s not forget — Florida has no state income taxes. Maybe he just wants to live in sunny South Florida, and might as well pick up some coin from the Heat to come off their bench and nail some threes while he’s there. I don’t know. I’m just amused by the level of scrutiny it’s getting. Ray just didn’t want to play here anymore. It’s his right to choose not to. Deal with it.

    • latetodinner

      Dave:

      I completely agree with you on Crawford. For the life of me I am trying to figure out who in the Red Sox organization thinks Crawford can contribute more than Nava, Ross or Sweeney this year that makes putting off the elbow surgery and rehab another few months. It should have been done last month when he started throwing and it still hurt. It amazes me that the Sox changed the medical staff in the offseason and the players are still getting lousy advice. There has to be management/ownership pressure because this makes no sense.

  • latetodinner

    Ryan:

    I would trade the following players for prospects today assuming I did not have to eat any of their money:

    Beckett
    Lester
    Buchholz
    Dice – K
    Aviles
    Ortiz
    Sweeney
    Ross
    Nava
    Shoppach
    Pedroia
    And any middle reliever they could get a decent offer on.

    I think you are making a mistake Red Sox management has made for years. The only thing Red Sox fans hate more than a rebuilding year is an unlikeable team that seems to be underperforming. If they could get younger/ top prospects and clear money off the books all while clearing the malaise in the locker room…no one would complain. The problem would come if the trade back fires (ala Youk). So the reason I see no one moving out at the deadline is because the front office does not want to put their butt on the line and make a move that does not work out. It is easier to get rid of the manager than be proactive in your job. If I were Ben Cherrington I would react like that as well…because if he tried to make a move he would have his knees cut under him by LL. It is a no win situation and as some of us have been screaming all year it is a direct result of the lousy ownership this team has.

    • Winning_Again

      I agree with most of the points here except I like Pedroia so I wouldn’t trade him. Unfortunately most of the guys above have very little trade value without having the Sox eat any money, besides Ortiz. Trading Beckett to Pitssburgh will probably result in the Sox paying 50% of the salary with a marginal MLB player and a Triple A lifer ala Merloni.

      • latetodinner

        I understand not wanting to trade Pedroia however after his “that’s not how we do things here” comments…he was dead to me also. If you can get top end young talent that you control for 6 years I would consider the offer. I am not suggesting dumping him. I would move Ortiz in a heartbeart…his comments about disrespect and the contract…let him be someone else’s 37 year old PED user’s problem. I think you can move Lester and Buchholz without eating money. Dice K and Beckett were the only two on my list I think you would have to pay to remove. If that is the case keep them. Otherwise…I would hang out an open for business shingle and see what you can get. The default is always hold on to them…lets see what you might be able to get.
        The problem as I see it is what Mazz was discussing at 5:00 today. This ownership group lies to its fans and itself about contending. They have never looked to tomorrow and they do not admit they make mistakes…so the idea that they will trade a high profile player is laughable.

        • tl;138

          I missed the part where Ortiz popped on an official (read: not anonymous) MLB drug test, unlike, say, Manny.

        • latetodinner

          I am still waiting for the explanation he promised.

        • tl;138

          He doesn’t have one. I mean, the list just tells you the names of guys who tested positive not what they tested positive for. The anonymous test (and had it remained that way like it was supposed to we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place) didn’t just test for anabolic steroids. It tested for other banned substances as well.

          Since the test happened before the 2003 season and the list of players who popped on it wasn’t released until, what, 2009 it’s impossible for a guy like Ortiz who didn’t know what he popped for and hasn’t popped on any subsequent test to know what he took all those years ago.

          Had he popped on other tests since then, like Manny, I could see getting angry about it but since you’re never going to get a concrete answer, just let it go.

          If you want to get mad about him complaining about his contract, fire away.

        • latetodinner

          I am mad that he gave a press conference to explain why his name was on the list. He said he grew up in the Dominican he has had no idea what he was being given. He said that he would find out what he took and get back to us. It never happened because the press moved on and of course he had no intention of coming clean. But then again 36 year olds suddenly find the fountain of youth. He is a fraud…he happens to be our fraud and a likable fraud so much so that until the contract comments he was revered in this town…sorry if I do not believe a word the guy says.

        • Winning_Again

          Like I said earlier, tl;dr is a troll. Evidence lies above, not under the bridge.

        • Winning_Again

          Like I said earlier, tl;dr is a troll. No wonder Bruce had to lock down his multiple names. Evidence is above on his trollish ways. Bruce, get rid of this guy!

        • tl;138

          He didn’t lock either of my old names. I chose to combine the two after my “cover” was blown.

          People who have different opinions than yours aren’t trolling.

        • Winning_Again

          You don’t have opinions, only snide comments that are intended to derail the entire board. Which you actually succeeded in doing here, well done!

        • tl;138

          Oh my God. Really? Okay, let’s use this thread as an example. Someone brought up Ortiz being a steroid user (even though we don’t know what he popped for exactly and he hasn’t popped a test since) and I brought up why I think the issue is moot at this point.

          That’s not derailing the thread, my friend (unlike some other posters bringing up the NBA off-season on a baseball/Red Sox article). What derails a thread is saying things like “I’m glad Bruce blocked your old usernames”.

  • http://twitter.com/EdRomero Ed Romero

    With so many teams in the playoff hunt, they should get a good return trading away smaller pieces, especially some bullpen arms, Mike Aviles, and Cody Ross

  • GRBSPR

    Slightly off-topic but not by much: I’m very pleased that The Globe has kept Dan Shaughnessy locked behind a paywall. Less than one-tenth of one percent of the available media-consuming audience can now be exposed to his sophomoric drivel. This is addition by subtraction.

  • bsmfan

    Different market but interesting read that falls under the history and birth of sports talk. Grantland did a good read on WFAN here:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8016912/view/full/don-imus-mike-mad-dog-fall-rise-first-all-sports-talk-station-wfan

  • whitey b

    Can we trade Massarotti and just be done with this already?

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