Fire sale or yard sale? A little of both may be in the works.
The Red Sox played the market short and it went long.
A fire sale is usually the proverbial, “ten cents on the dollar.” Damaged goods that are sold to a company that will resell them at a slight markup. The bottom line is: you lose money.
A yard sale is of more interest. The occasional gem surfaces that ends up as the centerpiece on a road auction show. A trinket bargained over for a few dollars turns out to be from some long forgotten dynasty in China or elsewhere. With a yard sale – if you are astute – a seller can profit. You can also profit as a buyer.
That, to me, is the essence of a fire sale and yard sale. I would apply the same to baseball.
If the Red Sox go to fire sale mode, the prime candidate mentioned is Stephen Drew. Drew has a substantial fiscal noose and the Red Sox would, no doubt, be obligated to pony up several million just to say “sayonara” to him. Somewhat like the DFA of A.J. Pierzynski.
The Red Sox have other some fire sale candidates. Scan the roster and see the names such as Jonny Gomes, Craig Breslow, Mike Carp and just about anyone else on short years with seven figures attached. Players like that may bring a small return and, if fortunate, not require forking out excessive cash considerations.
Then comes the yard sale types. This is a bit above the closeout rack at a local retailer and this particular brand holds more potential for positive returns. Of course, this would mean – with fire- or yard sale – that the baseball version of “No Mas” has taken place for 2014 season.
Jon Lester is the Big Kahuna in this mix now that the wedding between Lester and the Sox is on hold. Pure rental. Expect mucho prospects in return if Sox pack it in.
Mike Napoli comes to mind. A valuable right-hand bat with another year on his contract. Napoli’s type is now at a premium since baseball has seen some power outages. Maybe testing has had an impact?
A team in need of such a player would certainly be willing to pay a premium. As with your local yard sale, I am sure the front office would need a bit more than just picking up contract. And then there is the loss of Napoli. That could have a negative impact on 2015.
Clay Buchholz is on a usual Buchholz streak. When on his game, Buchholz is one of the best. A nice contract with a few years left, at a good baseball age and experienced on the big stage. To me Buchholz is a prime candidate for a good return. This is a great chip since the Red Sox, if you believe the PR, have a conga line of MLB-ready pitchers ready to step in.
Next up is Koji Uehara. Koji could be a significant addition to any team that needs to get over the playoff hump and has some “issues” in the closing department. The Sox’ Andrew Miller has professed a desire to close and appears, at least in the understudy role, to have made only minor pitching embarrassments. Might be worth an extended audition if Koji is moved?
John Lackey has had a sweet season. Even sweeter is the idea of a $500,000 salary for 2015. Just how valuable would such a talent be based on his 2013-14 performance?
Lackey is back.
John Lackey is not an elite starter, but a competent one who has replacement value for a rotation with some wear and tear. Lackey can also add that inning-eating depth that takes some tension off of a staff. As with Buchholz, the considering influence is just how much confidence the Red Sox have in their minor league candidates.
Felix Doubront could be moved, but expect a low return. His value has dropped in what should have been a statement year, with the wrong statement being delivered. I picture Doubront as part of a larger package as a secondary offering.
Buchholz, Uehara, Lackey, Lester, Doubront and Napoli all stand out as potential candidates for deal-making as the season winds down. In fact, just about anyone could be had as the front office sees playoff potential dimmed further with each series. I doubt the Red Sox have any intention of moving an established icon such as Dustin Pedroia or a future savior such as Xander Bogaerts, but who knows?
To me the real long shots would be Napoli and Lackey. Lackey has the team-friendly contract and Napoli provides some nice lineup protection. For Boston, the number one trade target should be a right-handed power bat, but if somehow a Napoli return can be parlayed into a bigger package then go for it.
Decision time is near. The current stretch of games into mid-August has not gone as RSN wished. The Red Sox look like, well, they have all season.
The Red Sox have some talent on the horizon. Mookie Betts continues to impress. Anthony Ranaudo has 12 wins and counting. Brian Johnson (9-2, 2.13) and Henry Owens (13-4, 2.56) are the Portland version of Spahn and Sain and pray for rain. Deven Marrero is starting to have his bat catch up to his glove at Pawtucket. Blake Swihart is over .300 and the debate in the near future may center on Christian Vasquez or Swihart catching.
The 2014 season is now a salvage operation.