On June 12, The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham posted a blog that has spawned much debate in Boston over the past couple of days.
I have no doubt Red Sox fans have either heard about or read Abraham's piece by now. For those that have not, Abraham brought up a simple, yet controversial question: Which way should the Red Sox go?
Are they to be sellers or buyers at the trade deadline?
Per Abraham's piece:
The question John Henry must answer is this: What is the ceiling? If the Red Sox believe they have a roster than can advance to the World Series, then by all means the team should not be dismantled.
If not, then what is the point of keeping it together?
See what I mean? It is a simple, yet controversial question to be answered. Within his blog, there is a poll asking Red Sox fans if this team should be blown up. Upon submitting my vote, the results were remarkable, with 79.14 percent of fans saying to blow up the team. Only 20.86 wanted to see the team stay the course. That comes from 4,799 votes to date.
The CBS Boston website (home of 98.5 The Sports Hub) also has the same question posted on the main page. Here, there are three potential answers: yes, no or something about a tote bag.
Again, the results somewhat shocked me with 38.46 percent wanting to see the team blown up while 23.08 percent want them to stay the course. In what I consider the "indifferent" vote, the tote-bag scenario also achieved 38.46 percent of the vote with an unknown voter total.
In what can be construed as a related poll question, WEEI.com asks if fans think the Red Sox can make the playoffs this year. The results: 85.7 percent say no, 14.3 percent say yes.
The masses appear to have spoken. Fans have grown tired of what John Henry and Co. are spending their money on to put this team together.
The question then becomes: If you want to blow up the Red Sox, whom do you think they could realistically trade away, and what type of return is realistic?
I don't believe it is time to blow this team up. There are far too many players returning from the DL in a relatively short timetable and this team is still sticking around in an extremely tough, tight division.
According to Abraham, rookie Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront are essentially the only two untouchables on this team. Insofar as "untouchable" goes in the world of Major League Baseball, I guess I understand.
However, if you want to blow up a team, all bets should be off.
Again, from Abraham's piece:
Kevin Youkilis, Kelly Shoppach, Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Cody Ross and Nick Punto are veteran position players who could bolster a contender.
Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Andrew Miller, Scott Atchison and Mark Melancon are relievers who could contribute to a team in a pennant race. Heck, maybe even Daisuke Matsuzaka has a sliver of value.
Of the aforementioned 15 players, is there one the Red Sox could not absolutely, positively live without?
And while it may be heretical to suggest, should even core players like David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz be considered completely off limits?
Is he wrong?
If the team is really considering starting from scratch (of which there is no evidence), I would build around Middlebrooks and Doubront but would also need Dustin Pedroia in town.
The issue is that return for these trade chips would be less than what Red Sox fans think—especially in a fire-sale scenario. When "everything must go," it typically involves some serious discounts. It would be a bitter pill for ownership to swallow.
The bigger issue is if the team should stay the course and fail to make the playoffs once again, what will ownership have to say for itself?
Is there really a right or wrong answer here?