Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dead Sox Miss Deadline

The Red Sox had a quiet deadline this year (Boston CBS Local)
Despite their enviable position as one of the few sellers in a market flooded with buyers, the Boston Red Sox were unable to accomplish much at this year's trade deadline. All they managed to do was ship Shane Victorino to the Angels for Triple-A utilityman Josh Rutledge and acquire Ryan Cook, a reliever (pictured), from the Oakland A's for a player to be named later or cash.

Boston sold Victorino at his absolute low, at the age of 34 and in his second straight injury-plagued season. After picking up all but $1.1 million of money remaining on his contract, they'll have paid him about $38 million for roughly a full season (185 games). Rutledge is eight years younger but won't have much of an impact, seeing as how he hit just .259/.308/.403 in three years with Colorado and didn't get so much as a plate appearance since being traded to the Angels last December. Cook, 28, also spent much of the year in Triple-A after being demoted in early May. Once an All-Star (in 2012), his peripherals have been in decline ever since.

All in all, it was a very weak take for a last place team that needs all the help it can get. Cook could prove useful if he returns to his 2012-2014 form, but the Red Sox need a lot more than a middle reliever. It's going to take much bigger moves and millions more dollars to fix this bloated mess of a team.

It was especially disappointing that Boston was unable to upgrade its horrendous rotation with so many starting pitchers on the move last week. Granted, pretty much all of them save Cole Hamels are going to be free agents this winter, but then the Red Sox aren't the Royals when it comes to budget constraints. It's high time Boston paid real money to a pitcher that isn't Rick Porcello, and they better be ready to shell out this winter for a Mat Latos or Jeff Samardzija, if not a Price or a Cueto.

Boston's relatively inactive trade deadline was a far cry from last year's roster purge, when Ben Cherington traded eight players leading up to the deadline, including four-fifths of his Opening Day rotation. In breaking up the team that won it all nine months earlier, he was taking the first steps towards rebuilding for a competitive 2015. It hasn't worked out, mainly because all the players Cherington got in return (except Eduardo Rodriguez, who's been a gem) are either no longer with the club (Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson) or have played like garbage (Joe Kelly, Allen Craig).

To be fair, the Red Sox did not have many desirable trade chips this year. Teams weren't exactly lining up for the services of Mike Napoli, Alejandro De Aza, and Junichi Tazawa. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are untradeable given their poor performance and massive contracts. And for whatever reason, the Red Sox once again failed to unload Koji Uehara, a ticking time bomb at age 40 who should have been traded last summer.

Boston's best chance to add appreciable talent was via a three-way trade with the Cubs and Padres, but that deal was declared dead this morning. Deader than their moribund season.

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