Monday, August 2, 2010

Not Getting Fleeced

Many people and media types, including the guy I listen to on the way home from work(Massarotti), are disappointed about the fact that the Red Sox didn't do anything in the trade market this weekend. I understand their points. I understand the fact that the Red Sox' front office is basically sending a thinly-veiled message of "it's over," especially as they've been as aggressive as they were in many of the "hey, we're gonna contend" years. But I'm actually proud of Theo Epstein and folks. They proved again in 2010, just like they did in 2004 (in a move that I didn't agree with), that they're not going to pander to public opinion at the trade deadline.

I do think they will panic sometimes in the offseason, but that's a completely different story.

I am a fan of not getting fleeced, one way or another. And that's what typically happens at the trade deadline. I know here I am in grave danger of further Efficiency Police criticism, but I'm over it. At the trade deadline, one team is more desperate than the other, so the less-desperate team raises the price because there is such high demand for, say, Adam Dunn. If Dunn were to be traded, the Nationals would have gotten a king's ransom. All for what? Perhaps two or three games that might not have been won otherwise?

The best traditional (proven player to a contender for prospects) July trade I've seen since following the Red Sox was when the team got Rick Aguilera in 1995 in exchange for Frankie Rodriguez. Even if Rodriguez ended up panning out to be a good player instead of being out of baseball by the time he was 29, still a good trade. It was made on July 6th and Aguilera, perhaps the best closer in the game in that period, stabilized a bullpen that was previously anchored by Ken Ryan and Stan Belinda.

But even if the Red Sox had made a move with similar impact to the Aguilera deal, what happens? Do they acquire Dunn, score another half run a game, eliminating one blown save/loss by their bullpen? Do they acquire Scott Downs and eliminate Delcarmen innings or provide insurance just in case Daniel Bard doesn't last another two months, thereby eliminating one or two more blown saves/losses? Perhaps. But perhaps not. And even if they do, are they REALLY going to catch the Yankees or the Rays, or are they going to just look like they're trying? We are probably going to find out the answer is no within the next six days.

If this team really were close to contention - if they really were as close to as good as the Yankees or Rays are, which they aren't - yes, I'd be okay with giving up a high-level prospect or two like my boys Josh Reddick and Lars Anderson. Lance Berkman for Mark Maricon was, therefore, a good move, especially as it filled a need for that team. Sox already have too many corner infielders. I wouldn't give a lot of prospects up for a reliever, as we've discussed. By the way, am I supposed to be afraid because the Yankees upgraded from Chan Ho Park to Kerry Wood? Am I supposed to be afraid of Matt Capps and his ERA north of 6 on the Rays? That's making a move just to make a move. And asking for Casey Kelly or Jose Iglesias for a reliever in Scott Downs who has thrown months with ERAs over five twice in the last two seasons? No. That's trying to fleece the Red Sox for a slight upgrade.

And that's not okay.

Similarly, if the Red Sox are on the other side and they're sellers (which some people would prefer over doing nothing), are they going to take a bucket of balls for Adrian Beltre? No. The other team is more desperate. They should be willing to give something up for a rental of a guy who will probably hit 3 home runs off of one knee between now and September and might be the difference in a game or two.

Another thought, not that I actually believe in it, how much of a Jack Edwards story would it be if the Red Sox, battered by injury and shunned by their own front office, found a way to sweep the Yankees this weekend and move themselves back into contention? If it was meant to be, it probably would be with Dunn, but it also probably would be with McDonald and Patterson.

P.S. Mike Cameron should have surgery on his sports hernia this week. No more wasting time. He could be back by the end of the season. My surgery was 25 days ago, and I have run 83 miles in the past week.

P.P.S. Electric.


Anonymous said...


Going back to the last post about the trade deadline, I just don't know who was available that was a real difference maker for the Red Sox. For that matter, who was a real difference maker for anyone? Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood were traded. So was Ted Lilly. And Jake Westbrook. And of course, Miguel Tejada. Most of those guys are nice additions, but none of them are impact players. The Red Sox, in the position they are in, needed an impact guy. And he wasn't out there.

They needed a guy like Scott Downs. But the cost was absurd. So they didn't pay it. Good for them.

The only issue I have is with your Rick Aguilera scenario. If Frankie Rodriguez had turned out to be good that trade would have been disastrous because the Sox got swept in the playoffs and Aguilera went back to Minnesota that winter. Basically, they would have given up a good player for a three month rental of a guy who helped them win zero playoff games. Of course, I don't know how much anyone really expected out of Rodriguez at the time, but still, it wouldn't have been good to see Minnesota have two good pitchers on their 1996 roster and the Sox have neither of them and no playoff success either.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Scott Downs probably isn't enough to get this team to the playoffs. We will probably find that out in the next five days.

When the Aguilera trade took place, the Red Sox were three games up. Are you comfortable with a three game lead with Ken Ryan and Stan Belinda as your closer-by-committee? Team went five years without a playoff appearance at that time. Aguilera was that piece that put them over the edge and won them the division.

Anonymous said...


I don't think I was very clear with what I meant about the Aguilera trade. At the time, I think we can all agree, the trade was an excellent one. What I was saying is that in light of the fact that Aguilera left the Sox that winter and the Sox didn't win a playoff game, it would have been disastrous had Frankie Rodriguez turned out to be a star.

--the Gunn