Depending on your outlook, I’m either about to make the wisest or most mind-numbingly stupid statement you’ve heard all day: the Boston Red Sox need to trade Koji Uehara right now.
After suffering a three-game sweep to the hands of the lowly Chicago Cubs, Boston has dropped their record down to 38-47, nine games under .500, and 8.5 games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East.
The momentum from the series in the Bronx never carried over, and instead of making a bid towards respectability by the All-Star break, it appears the Sox are headed the opposite way and into a deeper, possibly unescapable pit of mediocrity.
Sell! Sell! Sell!
I mean, why not. The season hasn’t picked up yet, and there’s really not any reason to believe that it suddenly will. The Red Sox are surprisingly pedestrian at best. If Ben Cherington fails to realize this, he and the organization could miss a valuable window to cash in some of their veterans for young prospects or productive big leaguers that could help the team win now and in 2015.
I’m not saying clear any and every veteran. But, for starters, Jake Peavy could go. Anthony John Pierzynski could find a new home for the right deal. And perhaps, no other veteran on the club is in higher demand than closer Koji Uehara.
Uehara, 39, has been nothing short of brilliant in his time in a Red Sox uniform. After finishing off a historic run last season — which concluded with him throwing the final strike to seal the World Series championship — Uehara is back at it again. With a 1.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 9.80, he has converted 18/19 save opportunities in 2014 and appears to have not lost a step.
Listen, I love Uehara as much as the next fan, but for those who resist this idea, let me ask you a question: what purpose does he serve closing out games for a team that likely won’t make the playoffs?
Why waste his last year (s) with Boston when they can flip him for an outrageous price. Teams in contention will give up their first born son for some god damn high-five city, so why not start taking offers.
When you look around the league, you see a couple of teams — Detroit and San Francisco — who probably feel they are one piece away from making it to the Fall Classic. Then, you have the teams like the Pirates, Angels, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Indians who probably feel they might tip the scales in their respective divisions with an acquisition of a reliable closer.
One of those seven teams is bound to make a pretty hefty offer to get Uehara and his inexpensive one-year, $5 million contract. So they should take it. Because the alternative is that he walks or retires at the end of the year and Boston ends up with no closer and nothing in return.
Selling on July 31 is never easy. It’s especially difficult when you are the defending champions. It’s not a matter of giving up, it’s more about Boston taking the first step to putting the next championship team on the field.
That all starts with the departure of Koji Uehara.
Visit the Boston Red Sox team page for more news and opinions and feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments.