Is a Red Sox Blockbuster Trade Worth the Prospects?


Are the Red Sox poised to make a big splash at this year’s trade deadline?  They have certainly been linked to multiple superstars and the trade rumors that have Boston acquiring them.  But as days go by it seems to be the other teams that are making the bold moves to better position themselves for the postseason push.

The Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, Pirates and Jays all acquired pieces that made their team better.  The Phillies locked up the best pitcher available, pulling him and any other team’s hopes of acquiring him off the market.  Yet we still wait for Ben Cherington to jump into the action and pull off that blockbuster deal that will take the Red Sox from pretender to contender.  Or is that even possible? If it is possible, is it worth unloading multiple prospects for one player in what could only be a one-game playoff at best?

As much as I’d like to sit here and write about a package the Sox should throw at the Mariners for King Felix, I can’t succumb to the pressure to do it.  Hernandez isn’t leaving Seattle, at least not this year.  Case closed, so we’ll move on.

Should Cherington attempt to improve the starting rotation it’s going to cost him his weight in gold, or prospects.  Pitching is at a premium and given the lack of difference makers available and how many teams are still in the hunt for the second wild card, teams will overpay for a Zack Greinke, Cliff Lee or Matt Garza.  I just don’t think the Red Sox should.

Josh Johnson of the Marlins may be the only player worth exposing the farm system for considering that Johnson is under team control through the 2013 season and even that’s debatable given Johnson’s struggles this year.  While he’s looked better in his last start, his numbers are well north of his career average.   When the Marlins traded Anibal Sanchez to Detroit, they then said they wouldn’t move Johnson unless they were blown away with the proposal.  So basically it’s going to take a Jose Iglesias led package with another two grade-A level prospects to land Johnson.  Is that worth a one-game playoff?  No, but to have Johnson for all of next season? Maybe.

But is this team good enough to climb from eight team’s back and win one of the Wild Cards? They’re only four games back and given every Red Sox fan knows that anything can happen, maybe they can compete this year.  A rotation of Beckett, Lester, Johnson, Buchholz and Doubront looks good on paper, but everyone knows the first two names need more than a kick in the pants to turn their performances around.  We’ve also learnt that what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate into October baseball.  This team can’t win without Lester and/or Beckett reverting to their once dominating ways.  Given their egos and struggles, I don’t foresee a long line of hopeful fans.

Many readers here at BSI have said this Red Sox team is not going anywhere this year and they’d be foolish to strip away the prospect cupboard for a rental player.  Agreed.  While Johnson would be acquired to help win the Red Sox this year as well as next, depleting the minor-league teams could be a pain felt for years to come.  Given how many other clubs are after Johnson and starting pitching for that matter, having your farm system raided is likely the only way to get him.

There is the old saying “just get into the postseason and anything can happen.”  The Cardinals proved that last year.  But can this Red Sox team make a legitimate run at the World Series if they should sneak into the October dance? Doubtful, and that might be the internal optimist coming out in me.

As painful as it is to admit, this Red Sox club is better off holding on to their prospects, sell some pieces this year and reload during the offseason.  There’s no saying that Beckett can’t be moved in the winter in what could be then a blockbuster deal at that point. But for now, why bring on more salary in what is looking like a bleak outlook for the final two months of the season.