If we’re being realistic, the Red Sox should not be going after a blockbuster trade of any sort at the deadline in an attempt to prop up the facade of playoff contention. This team is far too inconsistent, injury plagued and psychologically challenged to suddenly catch fire a la the Cardinals of 2011. Stick a fork in ‘em; they’re done. While 2012 may be a lost cause, there are a few things Boston can do to recapture some mystique and the fan base.
1. Stop Making Dumb, Short-Term Deals
It’s a reach but I’ll be going all the way back to 2000 to make my point. A washed up retread or malcontent that is judged to all of a suddenly have the morals of a choir boy after putting on a Red Sox jersey does not instantly imbue them with super powers or a moral compass. Let’s be really honest.
Ask both Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington how Eric Gagne, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carl Everett, Mike Cameron, John Smoltz, Billy Wagner and Rocco Baldelli worked out. That’s just on my first breath. Don’t get me started. A discussion of shortstop alone could turn into War and Peace.
Develop your prospects and let them play. Look what Josh Reddick is doing in Oakland. And although he hash’t been as all-world as previously thought, I would have loved to have seen what Hanley Ramirez would have done in a Boston uniform long-term. Oh wait, I’m stumbling back into the shortstop hole again. Shovel please?
2. Have the Guts to Make Big Moves. Don’t Just Bring Big Names to the Team. Clean House If Necessary.
The Red Sox currently have more dead wood than a New Orleans forest. Want me to name names? If the Red Sox were smart and serious about retooling they wouldn’t have a bloody hand-wringing debate over sending someone away every time a big name gets mentioned.
In my mind, the list of who is not up for grabs is much shorter than the list of those that would actually benefit the team by their absence.
Do what you have to do to retain Ellsbury (unlikely at this point – Scott Boras is his agent after all), Pedroia, Doubront and Middlebrooks. Everyone is else is completely expendable. OK, I have a soft spot in my cold steel heart for David Ortiz. A year-to-year contract until the wheels fall off the cart. Take it or leave it. And believe me, when the wheels come off the cart, it’s going to be in a hurry. Potentially living with two years of non-performance simply isn’t healthy for the club.
3. Stop the Waiting Game.
Boston has many players that they have over-invested in and have either waited far too patiently for them to produce or get better again when it’s clear they’re past their prime/injury riddled/Boston head case (take your pick – I think with all three I just described Carl Crawford). This boxes the team into a no-leverage/no-win posture. The glow is off the two-championship ride folks. Playoff contention again appears tenuous and even if they sneak in the exercise would turn into a one and done trip. The Nation grows restless. It’s time to get back to baseball basics. Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to consider getting John Farrell back as Boston’s manager. Check Boston’s pitching stats before and after his departure to Toronto.
I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
(Turn and face the strain)
Don’t want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
- Changes, David Bowie