Let’s say, hypothetically, the Red Sox reach a point where it’s inevitable that they must punt on this season. They have enough desirable assets on big money deals that they could simultaneously restock their barren farm system and slash their payroll to escape luxury tax purgatory while still retaining Betts and the rest of their young players.
That would enable them to complete a quick rebuild that puts them back into contention again by 2021, by which point they’ll know where they stand with Betts’ venture into free agency and be better prepared to reshape the roster. Boston isn’t a city willing to endure a lengthy rebuild and this would be the quickest way to turn things around if this season continues to go horribly wrong.
In that scenario, veterans signed to short-term deals could be exposed to the trading block if they aren’t part of the team’s long-term future. This includes their first base platoon of Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce. Neither will return a blue chip prospect but they’ll have value on the trade market, allowing Boston to further reduce their payroll while giving an opportunity in the second half of the season to Sam Travis and Michael Chavis. We could see Rick Porcello fall in that category if he starts to perform better on the mound. At the moment, nobody would want him.
The trade deadline is over three months away so there’s still time to right the ship before the Red Sox seriously consider breaking up this roster. If they are still toiling away at the bottom of the division a month from now, two months from now? They can’t simply stay idle while everything falls apart. They’ll have no choice but to give up on 2019 and look ahead to their future.
Price may have been premature with his bold prediction but he’s right about one thing. The Red Sox need to start playing better soon – or else.