We are getting close to the big choice at the trade deadline. I have not given up on the Sox chances for 2012, especially if we can remain relatively healthy. Papi returns. Maybe Bailey. Ellsbury hits like 2011 for the next 3 months. AGon & Pedey improve to close to career norms. Lester & Beckett improve. Buch stays healthy. We don´t really need all of these things to happen, just a few of them to make the playoffs.
That being said, I think this may be too much wishful thinking, and a strong argument can be made to pack it in for this year, and thereby greatly improving our chances for 2013 and beyond. THIS IS NOT MY CHOICE OF PLANS, but follow it through with me...
Trade all players who will be FAs this winter for prospects or players under team control for more than this year and get under the luxury tax limit, so we can :
Dice-K: if he gets healthy try and unload to save a few thousand dollars.
Podsednik: probably worth more to us than what we’d get by trading him, but unless we extend him as our 5th OFér bridge to the prospects, he´s not going to lead us anywhere. Get what we can for him.
Cook: I´d like to extend Aaron. If I knew he´d accept arb, I´d keep him, but trading him now could get us a nice prospect, and we could re-sign him this winter anyways.
Padilla: Same as Cook. Extend or trade.
Shoppach: May want to seek a more meaningful role elsewhere next year, especially with Lava breathing down his neck. I don´t think he wants to be our 30% or less catcher next year. Unless we deal Lava or Salty, I´d look to see if we can get a nice prospect for Shoppach.
Ross: I was a strong advocate for signing Ross this year. I had hoped it was for more tha 1 year, but the facts are facts. We could get a nice prospect for Cody, and trading him would be totally giving up on 2012.
Ortiz: The big off-season decision that will affect several further moves. His Red Sox heroics are legendary. His performance has been grand. There are a lot of reasons to extend Papi, and there are areas of team weakness that need fixing as well. We probably can’t do both via signings. I can´t see trading Papi this deadline, but if we really want to have a better chance next year and beyond, we could see what we can get for him.
Trading some of these players to contenders for prospects could help us going forward, but some of these guys will not bring much in return. Some could be replaced without hurting our chances this year too much at all.
Look seriously at dealing players that will be FAs after 2013 unless extended beforehand. Again, we´d get good prospects and get below the tax cap number for 2012. This will allow us to go over the limit next year and or beyond at less of an expense.
Free Agents after 2013:
Ellsbury: Trading Jacoby makes a lot of sense to me, since in my opinion, he will not want to play here after 2013, even if we match or offer slightly more than the highest bidder. New rules dictate that trading him after next year begins means the team getting him can not get the comp picks if they lose him to free agency after 2013. To me, this means his value will be highest from this deadline to the day before 2013 starts. I would not just give Jacoby away. We could use the comp picks ourselves, and 1.5 years of Jacoby playing hard for us as he seeks to raise his open market free agent status would help our chances this year and next. We also have some great OF prospects on the rise. This decision may be even bigger than the Papi one.
Saltalamacchia: To me, how this season ends for Salty will determine a lot. Stamina and durability seemed like an issue last year, so this year is a good test in that area. His improvement defensively and in CERA-related areas since May 1st would look a lot nicer if it continued through September. With Lavarnway itching to get his shot, Salty’s durability & stamina test this August and September may determine our willingness to extend him beyond 2013. Extension or not, Salty could be a trade candidate as well now or this winter, if we decide to go with Lava. Conversely, we could extend Salty and trade Lava. The Papi decision also has a lot to do with this call, since Lava could be our DH/back-up catcher (or third string catcher) if Papi walks.
Sweeney: With so many lefty OF’ers in the system, I see Sweeney as the odd man out. I think he could be traded this deadlinenow that CC or Ells are up. He is so bad vs LHPs, and not really that great vs RHPs that it really forces him to be at most a platoon OF’er/late inning defensive type OF’er. I think a prospect would be woirth more to us than this LH´d hitting OFér going forward. As it looks now, Ross may play vs RHPs over Sweeney anyways for the remainder of 2012, and Nava, Kalish and others may be better vs RHPs in 2013 as well (Assuming Ross walks).
Punto: I never understood why we gave this guy 2 years, but he may end up being traded before his 2 years are up anyways, especially if Aviles is pushed to the utlity IF’er position by the rise of Ciriaco, Iggy or Bogaerts. See if we caqn get some salry relief by trading him. No good prospect return is expected here.
Albers: He´s had a nice season, but could get us a decent prospect in return.
R. Hill: Depending on his health and performance, he may be traded or offered arb or an extension.
(Lester has a team option at $13M with a $250K buyout for 2014. My guess is he stays or gets traded, but this option is close to a given. I´d look to see what offers are out there, but I doubt we´d get a nice return as compared to the chances he can regain form as he heads into normal pitcher prime ages.)
(I believe Iglesias has to stay on the ML roster after 2013, but he is still under team control. I am not sure about his arb status after 2013, but he is making $2M this year and next. Trading him could save us money and open the way for Ciriaco, Bogaerts and other SS prospects.)
Atchison is under team control for several years, but is at the age where he probably will not be in our plans for much longer than 2013. He might net a decent prospect if healthy.
Trading any of these guys this deadline or this winter could happen, especially if we look beyond 2013 as out best chance to win it all.
I wouldn´t hand these 2013 guys away. We can win in 2013. However, stockpiling prospects this deadline could help us be in a better position to trade for players in areas of great weakness on this team. The Nats got Gio Gonzalez last winter. My guess is that we could have the prospects many teams want after the stockpiling plan is done.
We could also look to trade Beckett. We could trade Buch or Doubront if it meant we improved at starting pitcher.
I´ve always been for looking to trade CC for salary relief.
Let´s assume we trade Papi, Ross, Dice-K, Pods, Shoppach, Cook, Padilla, Sweeney, Punto, Albers and Atchison.
Our 2013 roster would look like this:
SP6 Doubront/Morales (Long relief)
C Salty/ _____ (Shoppach?)
We could look to trade prospects to fill the big gaps, or sign Papi back, or sign Hamilton, or some other big name player.