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.