With the sweeping trade that blew through Boston, wiping the roster clean of overpriced, underperforming players, the 2012 Boston Red Sox have made it known that they are in a full-blown rebuild.
In the case of Josh Beckett, the pitcher was a lost cause over the past two seasons. Though he put up impressive numbers in 2011 (13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.026 WHIP), he was largely blamed for the collapse of the 2011 team.
There was chicken. There was beer. There was "Get Beckett outta here." (Respect the poetry skills.)
Carl Crawford never got to see his true value develop in Boston. He had a career-worst season in 2011 as indicated by his .255 batting average and .694 OPS. For Crawford, it was an unfortunate turn of events. He was clearly never a fit for Boston.
Adrian Gonzalez's departure hurts. However, the loss of Gonzalez was the only way that the Red Sox would be able to get out from under Crawford's and Beckett's contracts.
For all intents and purposes, Gonzalez's $21 million per season was seemingly affordable, compared to the money players like Joey Votto ($25 million on average per season) and Albert Pujols (laddered contract culminating in $30 million in his final season in Los Angeles) are receiving.
What the Red Sox need to do now is take the next major step: make a trade for a new manager.
Bobby Valentine appears to be a sitting duck manager. He can't possibly survive the winter after leading a team with (for most of the season) the second-highest payroll in baseball to a 62-68 record en route to a 77-85 record on the season.
It is no secret among Red Sox fans and writers alike that the team has been pining to bring back Toronto Blue Jays manager and former pitching coach John Farrell.
Farrell is having an equally disappointing season in Toronto this year. The Blue Jays are headed for a 72-90 season, bringing his win-loss total to 153-171 in his two years as the manager.
He does still have one year left on his contract with the Blue Jays.
Though the team was faced with numerous injuries this season, if it was smart, it would try to take advantage of the Red Sox's "clean slate" mentality.
As ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out on an interview for 93.7 WEEI-FM in Boston, the first step is to ask Farrell if he has any intention of staying beyond the 2013 season. If he does not wish to extend with the Jays, they must make the move now.
The center piece to the deal would be Daniel Bard, a pitcher who has seemingly lost his way in Boston. Finding his way to Toronto could be just the change Bard needs to be the dominant closer he was supposed to be in Boston.
Bard has been trying to find himself in Triple-A Pawtuckett. The Blue Jays have been relying on Casey Janssen to shut down opponents in the ninth this season.
Janssen is 16-for-19 in save opportunities for the Jays through 48 games. He has a 2.36 ERA and 0.81 WHIP.
Even if Bard does not come over as the closer, the addition of his 100-miles-per-hour fastball to the lineup as a setup man would be an impressive addition for the Jays.
The Red Sox could then get back to the "Franconian" way of managing, so to speak, by having a product of his coaching staff taking the reins in Boston.
They would finally have the manager in place that they've coveted since seeing Francona out the door.
Those players that have no respect for Valentine would instantly be snapped back to reality. See: Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jon Lester.
Speaking of Lester, he may very well find his way back to being a dominant southpaw. Remember when many considered him the best lefty in the American League?
Clearing out more damaged goods and acquiring a quality manager would be an impressive second step in the transformation of the Boston Red Sox.
At the end of the day, is there really any way Valentine can handle this team for another year?
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