After his first trading deadline, Ben Cherington deserves a B- for his grade as he did not improve the team or pull the blockbuster trade that would have improved the Boston Red Sox in the long run.
Cherington made two moves at the deadline. One sent Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik to the Arizona Diamondbacks for lefty Craig Breslow. This move made it possible to put Franklin Morales back in the starting rotation with the extra lefty in the bullpen.
The other trade sent Lars Anderson to the Cleveland Indians for knuckleballer Steven Wright. Anderson was supposed to be the first baseman of the future, but when the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres, then there was no room for Anderson on the roster.
These trades did not bolster the Red Sox chances of making a postseason run. He improved the bullpen a little bit, but also did not help the chemistry situation that seems to be in the news everyday with the media in Boston. The one thing that fell through for Cherington was a blockbuster trade with the Texas Rangers.
According to a report from WEEI.com, the Red Sox would have sent Kelly Shoppach, Josh Beckett and Jacoby Ellsbury in a package deal for undisclosed players. If this deal went down, then Cherington would have made a huge splash with the fan base. Many fans can not stand the fact that Beckett still pitches in a Boston uniform. Others just want to see this team make the playoffs with the second-highest payroll in MLB.
Plus, Ellsbury is only under the Red Sox's control through the 2013 season, and he is a Scott Boras client. What Cherington needed to do was not do that "blockbuster deal" that many of the fans wanted. Beckett can still be that dominant ace he showed everyone back in 2007 in the postseason. The starting pitching, all around, needs to improve over the next two months and Red Sox Nation needs to just suck it up and take this team as it is.
The GM needs to focus on winning and making money and, right now, the Red Sox are only making money for Cherington. The talent is there and Cherington showed he has faith in his team with only making a few minor moves before the end of the non-waiver trade deadline.
The GM's job is to make the team the best it possible can be without giving away the future by trading prospects and long-term players who could make a difference.
Cherington did not do either of these at the deadline and deserves the respect of all the other top GMs for staying pat at the deadline. He can not really add any top pitchers because the salary is already almost up to the luxury tax mark. Plus, the Red Sox season is not that far gone thanks to the second wild card and many teams are still in the race that wouldn't be otherwise.
Cherington did exactly what needed to be done without giving up the top pitchers on this team. Sure, these players have underperformed since September 2011, but the reality is the Red Sox still have a chance to make a playoff berth with only four games between them and the Los Angeles Angels. He may not have pleased all of Red Sox Nation by keeping a hold of Beckett and Lester, but he has faith that that they can turn it around in the final two months. And I do too.