COMMENTARY | Over the past few weeks, the Boston Red Sox have been linked to everyone from Jake Peavy to Cliff Lee to bringing back Jonathan Papelbon. All of these players are among the top names available, and they'll all command a hefty price -- both in assets and actual dollars.
And why should Boston look to acquire any one of them?
The Red Sox are not a perfect team. They have bullpen issues and, lately, pitching problems in general. But they are also a team that has been playing exceptional baseball all season, arguably even overachieving.
This time last year, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto were all sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in an effort to plan for the future. The towel was thrown in on 2012, and 2013 didn't look like it'd be much better. General manager Ben Cherington had decided to build for the future, flipping the switch to rebuilding mode.
Over the next couple days, before Wednesday's trade deadline, Cherington is going to have to be very careful. Now is not the time to go trading away a Xander Bogaerts for an aging pitcher. Mortgaging the next couple seasons' depth for a little more in 2013 could spell disaster. Bogaerts is a player that could be around for 15 years; how much does Cliff Lee have left in the tank?
Luckily, Cherington seems to be on board, though he still wants to make a deal.
With so many teams still in the hunt thanks to the additional wild card, the bidding is going to become outrageous, if it hasn't already. Matt Garza cost the Texas Rangers a hefty price, but does it make them head and shoulders better than even the Oakland Athletics? Probably not.
And with the Red Sox already in contention in the AL, is any trade they complete going to make them dangerous enough to justify what will likely be given up? Probably not.
The bottom line is this: As good of a season as the Red Sox are having, there is not a player out there that's going to put them over the top. Manager John Farrell has led his team to a fantastic start, and it would be a shame to put him in a hole in the years to come.
Aging, overpaid players are partially what brought down the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Red Sox have come too far to let it happen again. Cherington needs to play it smart, and if every deal includes top Boston prospects, standing pat may be the route he needs to take.
Sometimes the best move is one not made.
Follow him on Twitter @ndrewL7.
- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Red Sox
- Cliff Lee
- Ben Cherington
- Jonathan Papelbon