Trading for a closer may not be the answer for the Red Sox


As patient Red Sox Nation members, we have sat and watched as numerous top quality closers sign on with other teams, leaving us bewildered that our GM did not pursue some great options to solidify the bullpen.  Then we hear the team is exploring the trade market in attempt to bring in a ninth inning specialist.  Mark Melancon was acquired via the trade, but still the question remains, is he the new closer?  

Both Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington have said they have the utmost confidence that Melancon can become the closer but let’s be honest, we all know he’s a better set up man for a couple of years before he’s given those reins.

So a Nation continues to wait with the patience growing thin.  Still we hear of on going talks with the Oakland A’s and the possibility of luring away Andrew Bailey.  The asking price appears to be too rich for Cherington, not wanting to surrender more legitimate prospects and further deplete the farm system.  Can’t say I really blame him either.

The latest possible trade target was Joakim Soria of the Kansas City Royals.  A closer who came off his worst season last year, converting on 28 of 35 saves to go with a rocky 4.03 ERA. But thankfully trade talks stalled between the Royals and Red Sox when KC wanted what is being dubbed “a couple of solid pieces.”  Again we have the same scenario of a prospect loaded package for a closer who may not stand up to the test in the AL East with shattered confidence from last season lingering over his head.

This appears to be just another trade option gone south, leaving Ben Cherington fewer and fewer options.

While a trade scenario that doesn’t involve a handful of prospects is going to be difficult to find, there still remains the option of signing a free agent closer, namely Ryan Madson.

Cherington doesn’t want to jump at the Madson request of a multi-year deal worth around $10 million per season.  So he will wait until super-agent Scott Boras is feeling the heat for his client with the hopes that either less money or less years will get Madson in a Sox uniform.  Not a bad game plan, providing it works.

In a recent article on the WEEI website, Alex Speier summarizes Cherington’s interview on the SiriusXM MLB Network as “allowing the market to come to us.”  Granted this to be true, it’s best that Cherington not wait to long.  While it appears the free agent closer market has come down to the Red Sox and Cincinatti Reds as the only clubs still viably looking for a closer, it’s better to act on your first choice now rather than settle for other options later.

As the trade market continues to dwindle thanks to ridiculously high asking prices, it is becoming more and more evident that acquiring a closer from another team is less likely to happen.  This could force Cherington into signing Madson and quite possibly surrendering into higher demands for his services than what he would prefer to commit to.

We may witness a game of cat and mouse between Cherington and Boras with the first one to blink becoming the loser. Cherington feels he has the upper hand in the situation, showing interest in other closers in hopes of making Boras become desperate.  But it could turn around and blow up in his face if he waits too long.  The longer trade talks dissolve the more desperate Cherington will appear.  Given Boras’s history, he will see the vulnerability in Cherington and could take full advantage of it.  A  move that could cost the Red Sox more money and a multi-year contract.

So let’s hope that Ben Cherington recognizes that the trade avenue is closing with every passing day and he gives Red Sox Nation a present we so desperately long for; a closer in Ryan Madson.  He could wind up being thankful he did.

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