SBD/August 1, 2014/Franchises

MLB Trade Deadline: Red Sox Could Be In Good Shape Despite Dismantling Title Team

(l to r) Lackey, Lester and Gomes were all major pieces of the Sox' title run in '13
The Red Sox enter play Friday in last place in the AL East with a 48-60 record, but no MLB team "did more this month to improve its long-term outlook," according to Ted Berg of USA TODAY. The Red Sox at the MLB trade deadline on Thursday traded Ps Jon Lester, John Lackey and Andrew Miller, LF Jonny Gomes and SS Stephen Drew. That comes after trading Ps Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy earlier in the month. The players the Red Sox received in return include LF Yoenes Cespedes, RF Allen Craig and P Joe Kelly. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Thursday "traded all of one player under contract for 2015," Lackey, and in return "landed three big-leaguers who can help the Sox return to contention in 2015 and three promising pitchers in the high minors who could contribute sometime soon" (USATODAY.com, 7/31). In Boston, Peter Abraham writes Thursday was "one of the most dizzying days in team history." The Red Sox "tore apart the team that won the World Series last fall," but their "return was significant." Cespedes represented a "better player than the Red Sox were likely to find in the free-agent market this winter" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1). In Providence, Tim Britton notes Thursday's moves "backed up" what Cherington and manager John Farrell have "said in recent days: that the Red Sox intended to compete" in '15. They will "need to bring at least another established piece into the rotation in order to do that." But the "good news is that the free-agent market for pitchers, unlike that for position players, offers multiple quality options" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 8/1).

CAN TEAM REALLY CONTEND IN '15?
ESPN BOSTON's Gordon Edes noted Cherington and Farrell on Thursday both talked about "returning to contender status next season," but there is "simply no rational way to argue that cutting ties with Lester and Lackey was the best way to do so" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 7/31). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Geoff Foster wrote the Red Sox "haven't quite gone full-Florida Marlins, but they are awfully close" (WSJ.com, 7/31). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes it is "hard to figure out what the Sox are planning" for '15 and beyond. Shaughnessy: "No doubt there are other moves ahead. Sox fans had better hope there will be some money spent on pitching help during the offseason." The "one conclusion we can draw from all this is that the Sox are intent on not overpaying older players" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs writes Red Sox fans "may be forced to live with last-place finishes, but Boston will not endure long-term rebuilding" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/1).

PROVEN COMMODITIES WANTED: In Boston, Ron Borges writes, "Stockpiling prospects and draft picks is something the Sox believe in partly because young talent is cheap talent." That begs the question why Cherington made Thursday's trades. Borges: "Maybe because in the dark of the night he looked back five or six years and realized prospects are a crapshoot who mostly crap out" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/1).
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