Red Sox Trade Rumors: Struggling Squad Would Be Better off Without Josh Johnson

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 11: Josh Johnson #55 of the Miami Marlins pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Marlins Park on June 11, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox are stuck in the middle of a rock and a hard place right now…and need to stay under that rock.

At 49-49 entering play Wednesday, the team finds itself in a tie for last place in the AL East with the perennial doormat Toronto Blue Jays.

They are 9.5 games out of first in the division, but only four games out of the second wild card spot. So the front office is still holding onto hope, despite the fact that they need to leapfrog six teams just to sneak in as a wild card.

That’s why trade rumors continue to swirl about potential additions to make a postseason run. The latest involves Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting that the Red Sox are among six teams (Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays and Royals) interested in trading for the right-hander.

Although Stark has been told that the odds of Johnson getting traded are slim, the Red Sox should throw in the towel on their attempt right now.

While Johnson, 28, may only have a 6-7 record with a 4.14 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and .275 BAA, he is an outstanding pitcher who can easily rebound with a fresh start.

That’s not the issue here.

The issue is with the Red Sox current position.

They are dealing with a laundry list of issues: an injured David Ortiz, a horrific Carl Crawford contract, a declining Dustin Pedroia and an atrocious Jon Lester. Oh, and the team may or may not hate their first-year manager Bobby Valentine.

There are just too many issues going on with this team right now to realistically believe that a 2011 St. Louis Cardinals-like run is in this team. If the team plans on winning 90 games, (the minimum magic number for a wild card berth) they would have to go 41-23 from here on out.

That’s a .641 winning percentage and something Johnson can’t magically do as a player who only impacts every fifth game.

Then, there is the small army of players the Red Sox would have to surrender in order to secure an ace like Johnson.

Assuming the Sox would refuse to include any everyday players needed for a run, they would be gutting a farm system that isn’t exactly overflowing with future stars.

Matt Barnes, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley are likely untouchable—according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal—which means they will have to consider parting with former first round picks Henry Owens and Blake Swihart.

Both players are loaded with potential, and are prospective long-term solutions for Boston.

With the inability to trade 2012 draft picks (per MLB rules), that means the Triple-A squad would be gutted. Guys like Lars Anderson, Alex Hassan and J.C. Linares would all be fair game. Problem is, none of them have shown the consistency to suggest they are future stars, and I’m sure Miami isn’t dying to get them.

With so many other teams in the mix, the Red Sox would have to surrender far too much in a potential deal for one player.

The 2012 season is not shaping up to be a memorable one for Boston. They are much better off holding on to their assets and revamping their flawed roster in the offseason.

There are far too many holes that need to be patched up to contemplate a run, so the Red Sox are better off letting the ship sink this season to fully repair the roster in the winter.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Red Sox fans, but you can’t sacrifice the next 3-5 years for a half-baked run this season.