With the Boston Red Sox hot streak coming to an end these past three games, GM Ben Cherington must decide what direction he wants to take with the team. Hopes were held high with the winning streak after the break, but after their 14 run performance on Monday, their offense has dwindled and the winning has come to a halt. Now nine games back in the division and 6.5 games out of the second wild card spot, what are the Sox capable of with 60 games remaining?
It’s safe to say that something has to be done in the next week whether management believes the Red Sox have a chance at the playoffs or not. There are guys taking up space on the MLB roster that are holding back young players ready for a spot in the big leagues. Stephen Drew, Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, and Jake Peavy are all underperforming and should be dealt if possible. Selling off pieces like these shouldn’t even be considered as “giving up” from a Red Sox standpoint because it is likely the Sox can be better without them. “Giving up” would be if Cherington traded Jon Lester, John Lackey, or Koji Uehara, all of whom have been mentioned in trade rumors.
At this point, the Red Sox probably won’t be “buyers” at the deadline. Unless a deal falls on their lap, the Sox will most likely be building towards the future. Drew, Carp, Gomes , and Peavy are all veterans who won’t mean much towards next year. The Red Sox are better off getting prospects and allowing younger players to take their spot on the roster this year. Will Middlebrooks has been hot in Pawtucket, Deven Marrero has had a great year at shortstop, and plenty of pitchers are ready to get their feet wet in the majors. Not to mention, Brock Holt doesn’t even have an everyday position now that Shane Victorino is back on the squad.
One problem might be finding potential suitors for these players. There has been interest in Gomes and Peavy, but Drew and Carp may be tough to deal considering their poor performance. Drew ended up going 3-13 in Toronto with two home runs and six RBIs, essentially doubling his prior totals. Drew had two home runs and only five RBIs in 30 previous games, so perhaps his recent power outburst could catch the attention of teams around the league. Carp on the other hand is getting the least amount of playing time on the roster and has been much worse than last year.
With Lester and the Red Sox pushing contract talks off until the offseason, the chance he is dealt may be on the rise. If the Red Sox aren’t willing to pay him, they should get something for him in return. I believe they should give him the money he deserves because they really have no long term money tied up and if anyone deserves it, Lester does. However, we watched Jacoby Ellsbury walk last winter and I don’t want to see Lester do the same. Lester has had his best year so far and is proving that he is indeed an ace, but the Red Sox still don’t want to give him the money. What could they get for him in return? A good package of prospects and maybe an average roster player as well. If the Red Sox go 5-1 in the next six games, I doubt he’s traded. If they go 2-4, the chance he is dealt probably doubles. I would say there is a 25% chance he is traded altogether.
Like I said, the team’s record over this next week will make a big difference at the deadline. The Sox are currently in a point where a difficult decision must be made. 6.5 games out of the wild card isn’t much if they turn it around, so keep a close eye on that wild card race as the week goes on. If that number approaches ten, more players are likely to be on the way out, but the lower that number goes, the better the chance is that their current roster stays together.