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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Great Debate: Blow Up Red Sox or Don't?

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Newly named Executiv...
Ben Cherington will be faced with a difficult decision when the MLB trade deadline rolls around on July 31. Buyer or seller?  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
When the major league baseball trade deadline comes around on July 31 there are generally two types of teams, buyers and sellers. It's not often that the Boston Red Sox become the latter, but this season there are an overwhelming amount of "fans" saying, "blow up the team", "trade them all", "let the kids play", things like that. The great debate right now is, should or shouldn't the Red Sox blow it up and trade off core members of the team?

The first thing to look at, obviously, is who exactly should be traded? And once you know that, what is the potential return on those players?

That's where it gets sticky in this situation. Who do the Sox have that could pull in a good haul and make it worthwhile to give up on a season in which you are 6.5 games out of first place? Not that there's no chance "the kids" could make a run, but is it likely?

The main guys that everyone wants to get rid of are quite obviously Carl Crawford and John Lackey, but some are even mentioning Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury as potential trade candidates. We won't count Kevin Youkilis because he's a no-doubter.

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Ben Zobrist #18 of...
Jon Lester would be a valuable piece to a contender looking for an arm, but would it make sense to trade him?  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
What I would say in response to Lackey and Crawford is, wake up. John Lackey is sidelined for the season recovering from Tommy John surgery and Carl Crawford is owed $20 million and has yet to step to the plate in '12. It's simply not going to happen with either and if it does, the Red Sox will come out worse off because they're paying basically every bit of salary and getting likely nothing in return.

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are a bit of a different argument. When it comes to Lester, he has the label of "Ace" in Boston, but would be more of a mid-rotation starter on a lot of teams. Would he be helpful to a contender? Of course. Would he get you a top of the rotation or potential top of the rotation starter in return? Not likely, especially without a package of high level prospects.

To the ones who suggest Clay Buchholz is traded, isn't he exactly the type of pitcher you would want to keep when blowing a team up? A talented starter with a very affordable contract and the potential to settle into a top-mid rotation role as he matures. Lots of teams would make offers, but wouldn't it be a crazy idea to move a starter like him with his affordable contract?

Jacoby Ellsbury's name has come up just recently, to a lesser extent, but I've heard it, and just shook my head in disbelief. Has the situation in Beantown become so desperate, at a game under .500 and 6.5 out of first place, that fans would be willing to deal last seasons MVP runner-up? It just sounds ridiculous, never mind how bad it would look. Talk about throwing in the towel, raising the white flag and surrendering to the rest of the AL East.

There are other pieces that could potentially be shipped out, like Cody Ross when he gets healthy, Ryan Sweeney, bullpen pieces such as Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Vicente Padilla and others would be of some value to a contending team, but would it really be worth it considering the return?
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 21:  Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of...
Jacoby Ellsbury's upcoming free agent deal makes his trade value an unknown at this point.  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The point here isn't that the Sox have no valuable pieces, but more that it doesn't make a ton of sense to move most of them. Kevin Youkilis will be traded before the deadline, if someone is willing to take him and a small portion of his salary, but his may be the most significant trade made by Ben Cherington.

I'm not opposed to another deal being made, but it doesn't make sense to disband the entire team simply because "I don't like them" or "the vibe from this team sucks", which are both phrases I've heard as reasoning for wanting to blow it up. Those aren't good enough reasons for me.

The better plan is to let star players get healthy around the All-Star break, try to make a run with what you have this season and if they fail, make better moves in the offseason. If it turns into a bridge year, then so be it. Have we become so spoiled that we cannot accept losing anymore under any circumstances? Sure, it feels good to win, but very few win every year. Besides, we endured 86 years of defeat. Can't we handle one more in this situation?

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