It seems pretty simple to me. Why in the world are we even talking about trading some of the team’s core young talent or possibly, their best prospects?
Face facts folks, the Red Sox are simply not built to win this year and making a deal that would affect the heart of this team for the sake of one better pitcher who may help secure a division title or a wild card playoff spot is absolutely not worth it. I hear ya Red Sox fans. The last couple of weeks have been awfully frustrating. The pitching has been horrid and the bats have slowed, but be honest with yourselves. You need to add more than one piece if the team has a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. At what expense will that piece come? That’s the question facing Dave Dombrowski and the Sox brass.
Here’s some free advice Dave. Hold the fort. Do nothing. Let this play out and see what happens. Let the core of Betts, Bogaerts, and Bradley continue to develop. I’ve been a Red Sox fan my entire life and I’ve covered the team for 20 plus years. I’ve seen the best and the worst, and after experiencing the rise from the bottom of the barrel to the pinnacle of success, I’m fairly rational at this point. I see the potential in this team and I’m not willing to give up on any of these young guys to take a shot at the title this season. Just look at the numbers.
Betts hit .291 last year with 174 hits, 92 runs, 42 doubles, 18 home runs, 77 RBI’s and an OPS of 820. This year he’s hitting .289, he already has 97 hits, scored 66 runs, has 17 doubles, 16 homers, 54 ribbies and an OPS of 836. Let’s look at the X man. His average has gone from .240 to .343 in three years. He’s on pace for 200 plus hits and 100 runs, which will both be improvements from last year. He’s scored 59 runs, knocked in 50, and his OPS is near 900. How about Bradley Jr.? Two years ago he hit under .200. This year, he’s hitting .296 and had a 29 game hit streak ended last month. His OPS has gone from 531 to 949 in two years and his power numbers continue to grow. He’s already achieved career highs in home runs (13) and RBIs (49) and there’s another half a season to play. Not to mention that he’s one of the best defensive centerfielders in the league. By the way, all three of these guys will start this year’s All Star game. You want to trade any of them with that kind of production? I don’t. I wouldn’t even consider it.
Now I won’t pretend to know everything there is to know about Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi, but by all accounts, they’re both the real deal with tremendously bright futures. The market value doesn’t exist this year to part with one of these guys.
SB Nation recently published a column naming the top pitchers who it thinks will be available at this year’s trade deadline. Ready? Rich Hill, CC Sabathia, Jeremy Hellickson, Andrew Cashner, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco, and Jered Weaver. Of course I’m not counting guys like Sonny Gray or Julio Tehran because, A, we don’t know if they’ll be available and B, their cost will most certainly be too high, but take a look at that list. If anyone out there would seriously give up a major asset for any of those pitchers you should have your head examined. Take a page from your predecessor double D. It’s a marathon not a sprint. You signed David Price, a legit No. 1, and he’s been a bust so far, at least by David Price standards so don’t try to right the ship with a blockbuster trade in three weeks because you think you can win this year. It’ll take much more than trading for a No. 2 or No. 3 starter to get the Sox to the promised land, and so while you’ll frustrate some of the fan base by standing pat, it’s the right thing to do. Send the naysayers a free ice cream and call it a day.
The Red Sox have knocked the cover off the ball for the majority of this season, but we all knew their pitching wouldn’t hold up. OK, maybe we didn’t expect it would all shit the bed in the last two weeks, but please, the expectations for this staff were not much higher than they were last year, with the exception of Price, and unfortunately, he’s been average. E-Rod has major issues he needs to work out, and Buchholz has been a disaster. Steven Wright, who wasn’t even supposed to be in the rotation, has been terrific, but who knows what can happen going forward with a knuckleballer. I’d love to see him put an entire season together, but I think it’s just as possible that we see him regress as the year goes on. By the way, if Rick Porcello’s performance during the regular season matched his output in spring training, the Sox might be cellar dwellers already. So look, go blame John Farrell if you want. He can’t throw the ball for these guys. He could be fired for a host of other reasons, not the least of which is his in game management, but that’s a column for another day.
The bottom line is, that as a team, this year’s bunch is making progress. They need more time and the fans have to be patient. They have a tremendous nucleus which I know that Dombrowski and his staff recognize. Don’t mortgage the future Dave. No matter how tempted you are, protect your assets. Otherwise, the progress we’re seeing will be short lived.