The Boston Red Sox have now dropped to ten games below .500 and will need to start making some decisions about their roster. If the Sox have a solid week, there’s no reason to think that they aren’t capable of fighting for a playoff spot. However, if this next week looks like this past week, it may be time to start selling pieces.
Of course, the biggest name being brought up in trade rumors is the team’s only All-Star, Jon Lester. This is a move that should really only be considered if the team is definitely out of contention and they don’t plan on bringing him back in the offseason. If he is looking for Jacoby Ellsbury type money, it may not be a bad idea to trade Lester for some valuable assets. That trade may be a long shot, but there are others that need to happen regardless of whether the Sox are looking to make another playoff run or not.
Making room for returning roster players
Perhaps sometime this week, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Carp, and maybe even Shane Victorino will be ready to return from their rehab assignments. There is reason to think that Middlebrooks or Carp may be dealt off, but if they aren’t, who will be sent down to Pawtucket?
This might mean the end of Mookie Betts’ first big league stint, in which he has gone 4-19 with one home run. He could definitely use some more getting used to playing in the outfield, so some more practice in the minors would make sense.
Maybe recent hero Jonathan Herrera would be sent down. Brock Holt has the ability to play in the infield and Herrera is probably the least important position player on the roster as far as long term value.
And do I dare say it? Xander Bogaerts? Ever since Stephen Drew taking his spot at shortstop, Bogaerts has struggled at the plate and in the field. He did manage two hits on Sunday, but he also managed to make a couple costly errors this weekend. About a month ago, he was the lone bright spot on the struggling World Series champs, but now he’s holding the team back.
Selling off veteran pieces
As we have seen, the Red Sox have plenty of young talent waiting for opportunities in the bigs. The problem is that they are given a legitimate chance because of under-performing veterans taking up big league roster spots. That means Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Daniel Nava, the soon-to-return Mike Carp, and Stephen Drew.
Drew’s signing has been nothing short of a failure, despite his two home runs on Saturday. Pierzynski isn’t hitting, which was the only reason he was signed this offseason. Having Nava, Carp, and even fan favorite Jonny Gomes all on the roster doesn’t make sense if none of them are hitting and Jake Peavy is making it so guys like Rubby De La Rosa are being shuffled between AAA and the majors. Of all the players I just listed, I am guessing at least two of them are gone by the deadline, but I hope it’s more than that. The only problem is finding teams that want these players. They probably can’t package any of these guys together, so a few different transactions would need to be made.
If it so happens that GM Ben Cherington and his staff want to deal away the likes of Jon Lester, John Lackey, or Koji Uehara, we could be talking about a big deal taking place. Lester would of course bring the most in return, but the others are both All-Star caliber players that could fetch a solid prospect from a World Series contender looking for help. Any of these bigger names could possibly be packaged together with some of the aforementioned role players or maybe even one of the team’s prospects, depending on what they would get in return. We recently saw Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel traded to the A’s for star prospect Addison Russell among others, which could be a guideline for market value and upcoming trades.
Despite having a similar roster as last year, it is becoming more and more apparent that this team doesn’t have what it takes to repeat as world champs. Maybe a mini-rebuild might be a good idea with so many solid prospects ready to make an impact within the next year or so. If the Sox can add some more chips in the next few weeks, it may prove to be worth it in the long run.