Should The Red Sox Buy Or Sell At Deadline?
By Conor Duffy
One question that Red Sox fans (and presumably management) have had all year long has been whether the Red Sox should buy or sell at this year’s trading deadline. It’s no secret that they are past their prime; they no longer have a fantastic young core of players like they did in 2007. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jon Lester are all 28 and Clay Buchholz is 27. These players were all rookies in 2007 and provided a reason to be excited about the future of the Red Sox. However, with all of these players in the middle of their careers, is it time for the Red Sox to go younger?
First of all, if the Red Sox were to sell– these four players would not be the ones going. However, is it really ridiculous to think that Kevin Youkilis— who is 33– would be departing. Not amidst all these trade rumors, it isn’t. How about Josh Beckett (32 years old), the ace of the 2007 staff? Any of the veterans on the Red Sox team (with the exception of David Ortiz) could be trade bait this July. These veterans could include Youkilis, Beckett, and any assortment of the current bullpen. The question for the Red Sox management will be to decide which of these players should go (if any) and for what price.
If the Red Sox choose to sell at this year’s deadline– they probably won’t contend for several years. They could be a very good team in a few years, once some of their top prospects like catcher Ryan Lavarnway, shortstop Jose Iglesias, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, outfielders Ryan Kalish and Jackie Bradley Jr., and starting pitchers Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo are in their prime. Unfortunately, that could be another four or five years. The Red Sox have an impatient fanbase that could lose interest from the bandwagon if the Red Sox didn’t contend for a period of a few years.
On the other hand, if the Red Sox choose to buy– sure, they’ll be good for the next couple of years. They could acquire stars to fill their holes, but then in a few years when they need them most, the Red Sox may not have guys like Lavarnway, Middlebrooks, and Barnes. If the Red Sox are in a win-now mode, then it’s possible we’ll see guys like Iglesias or Ranaudo leave for sunnier skies. The thing is, I’m not sure if the Red Sox have decided what they are going to do with the team yet.
My personal idea is that the Red Sox should go somewhere in between buying and selling at this year’s trade deadline. I think they should make fairly even trades with other teams. Kevin Youkilis must go, and if he could be traded for quality starting pitching– I’d move him in a heartbeat. Will Middlebrooks is the third baseman of the future and will be an All-Star for years to come. The Red Sox are in the precarious position of a veteran team on the brink of contending. Since they are fairly old, they do not necessarily want to move their top prospects; but since they are fairly good, they don’t necessarily want to sell their veterans either. And if they choose to do neither of the two, then they won’t contend.
Red Sox management is going to need to make a decision soon about the fate of the Boston Red Sox. Will they go full sell mode and bank on an influx of highly ranked prospects in four or five years? Or will they mortgage their farm for one more chance of winning it all? Or will they do neither and just watch as this team wins 85 games and fails to contend seriously for several more years? They need to make a move, and fast. The fate of one of the most renowned franchises in history is on the line.