The gutting of the 2013 world champion Red Sox was largely completed Thursday as they dealt ace pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey, outfielder Jonny Gomes, reliever Andrew Miller, and shortstop Stephen Drew in four deals within a span of six hours as the 4 p.m. trading deadline neared.
Four of those five players were free agents after this year. Stephen Drew wasn't signed until the last minute, is due to be an overpaid reliever, Lester is due to be an overpaid starter, and Jonny Gomes is a disaster against right handed pitchers this year as he has been for most of his career. These aren't the worst trades the team could make. Oh, and John Lackey is 35 years old. The season was over, and get this, if they really want the Red Sox can re-sign Lester/Miller/Drew/Gomes after the season is over. I know, it's crazy. But these players will most likely be requesting a similar contract in late July 2014 as they would be in November 2014. Unless of course one of these players blows up in the postseason, but I can't see how Lester could ask for more money than he'll already be asking for, Stephen Drew is still Stephen Drew just like Jonny Gomes is still Jonny Gomes, and Andrew Miller was going to be overvalued on the free agency market anyway. Basically, the Red Sox done good. If I were a fan of the team, I would be throwing confetti.
The Sox acquired three established big leaguers: Oakland powerball outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, St. Louis outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig, and Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly.
Of course Dan leaves out details that may hurt his point. The Red Sox also got a competitive balance pick from the A's, Eduardo Rodriguez (a Top 100 prospect), and a versatile Kelly Johnson. Johnson could have some value when it comes to a waiver wire trade in August. Of course if Dan focused on the competitive balance pick and Rodriguez then the Red Sox strategy would be clear and he's intending on writing this column like the strategy isn't clear.
It was a day unprecedented in Red Sox history. The dumping frenzy reminded me a little bit of Charlie Finley’s Oakland A’s fire sale in 1976 when he tried to sell Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue to the Sox and Yankees (commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided the deals because they were all about cash).
These trades were like those trades except the Red Sox didn't have a fire sale, Ben Cherington specifically stated these trades were to compete in 2015, the Red Sox didn't care about getting cash back but were looking to get talent back, and the trades weren't made as a result of the Red Sox trying to be cheap. Other than that, they are the exact same type of trade because it involved two MLB teams making a trade with each other.
But don't worry, Dan will accuse the Red Sox management of being cheap, while mentioning the Red Sox took on the rest of Allen Craig's contract.
The defending world champs are firmly planted in the basement of the American League East,
Like they were during the 2012 season and then the next year they won the World Series. You have no point. Carry on.
and in the last six days have traded three of the four pitchers who started World Series games nine months ago. Five of the six Sox starting pitchers from 2013 are gone. Only Clay Buchholz remains.
Yes, this can be nerve-wracking as a fan to see so many pitchers traded, but Lester was a free agent, Lackey is not getting younger, Felix Doubront wasn't exactly lighting it up, and Jake Peavy was 1-9 with an ERA approaching 5.00. It's not like the 1995 Atlanta Braves pitching staff was broken up or anything. It was a lost year. The Red Sox accepted it and then did what was best for the team in the short and long-term.
Of these four starting pitchers, three of them had no future in Boston most likely and Jon Lester was a free agent. Simmer down. The only thing worse than having a bad season is having a bad season and not being smart enough to realize it and get value for the players on your roster who may not factor into the future of the team.
“There’s nothing celebratory about this,’’ admitted Cherington. “These moves were made because we haven’t performed well enough.’’
What does it all mean?
I don't know, Dan. It's pretty obvious what this means. It means the Red Sox don't expect to compete this year and they wanted to get some value for pending free agents while they could, as well as get rid of players they probably wouldn't want around in 2015. It's not exactly a covert operation Cherington is performing.
It’s hard to connect all the diamond dots.
Is it though, Dan? Is it?
When Ben Cherington traded all these pitchers Dan was all like "WHAT?" while forgetting it was just 2012 when the Red Sox traded Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers, effectively ending their season. Miraculously, it all worked out the next year.
It’s hard to figure out what the Sox are planning for 2015 and beyond.
And yet, it's not.
No doubt there are other moves ahead.
No Dan, I imagine Ben Cherington is not planning on making any roster moves during the offseason and just riding with the exact same roster he has here in August 2014. I'm sure that's the plan.
Sox fans had better hope there will be some money spent on pitching help during the offseason.
Guess what? Jon Lester is a free agent! The Red Sox can re-sign him. Guess who else the Red Sox could sign if they wanted to?
This doesn't include pitchers who may not have their club option picked up, lesser pitchers that may be cheaper or pitchers the Red Sox could acquire through trade using the assets they just received at the trade deadline. It's not all over.
Here’s what bothers me:
Well, you don't deserve a raise, Dan. Go for it anyway. All the "Boston Globe" can do is say "no."
The one conclusion we can draw from all this is that the Sox are intent on not overpaying older players.
Why does the Red Sox not overpaying older players bother you? Isn't that a smart strategy? The best way for a team to end up in last place with a large payroll is to overpay older players or pay player based on past production.
No more long-term deals.
That's not what it means at all, dumbass. There is a difference in not overpaying older players and not giving out long-term deals to players on the free agent market. The Red Sox can still sign Lester or trade for another starter. Ben Cherington simply wanted value for the pitchers currently on the roster and so he traded many of the starting pitchers. This isn't hard to understand.
The good news is that the Sox are getting immediate help for 2015. Thursday’s flurry was not about prospects. Cespedes is a cleanup hitter for a first-place team. He is 28. He has hit 43 homers since the start of last season. He has a cannon for an arm (the bad news is that his OBP since the start of 2013 is only .298 and he’s been slumping lately. The A’s rarely trade a good player).
As long as you don't consider Tim Hudson, Andre Ethier, Dan Haren, Nick Swisher, Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, Matt Holliday, Tyson Ross, Gio Gonzalez, and Craig Breslow as players the A's have traded and become good players.
He’s only under contract for one more season. The Sox will watch him and see how they like him. Think Adrian Beltre.
What a dumb move. They got a major league ready player under contract for next season and will evaluate him while he is contributing to the team. WHAT IS THE PLAN?
Craig and Kelly are also established big leaguers.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THE PLAN TO DAN SHAUGHNESSY? IT'S NOT OBVIOUS TO HIM!
Craig is 30 and has seven homers and 44 RBIs this year. He is working on a five-year, $31 million contract.
The Red Sox are being cheap, which is why they took on the $25.5 million left on Allen Craig's contract over the next three years. Sure, makes sense to indicate the team is being cheap. Doesn't it suck when your argument is disproved by the facts?
Kelly is having an uneven season but is a 26-year-old big leaguer who won’t be a free agent for five seasons. Perfect. Medium money. Contract control.
It sounds like Dan is being snarky about the Red Sox having control over Kelly until 2019. I believe he sees this as them being cheap, but it's not them being cheap. It's a matter of the Red Sox saving money on one player in order to spend this money on another player. By the way, Joe Kelly can be an affordable starter for the Red Sox.
The Sox are not going to get tangled in any more long-term, hundred million-dollar contracts.
How dare the Red Sox choose to not overpay older players to nine figure contracts! Don't they know Dan wants them to do this so he can bash these players for not living up to their massive contract?
Isn't it great how modern sportswriting works? Writers like Dan Shaughnessy complain a team is being cheap by cutting costs and not re-signing players to large contracts, but then when a team does sign a player to a large contract that same writer bashes the team and the player for not living up to the deal. It's all in the name of writing a column. That is why sports teams exist to sportswriters like Dan Shaughnessy.
From where I’m sitting, it looks like the bottom line is . . . The Bottom Line.
From where I'm sitting it looks like the Red Sox got rid of expiring contracts in favor of prospects, a player making $10.5 million next year and a player who is making $25.5 million over the next three seasons. The bottom line has less to do with money than it has to do with making the Red Sox team better in 2015. But yeah, the Red Sox are being cheap if you want to look at it from the point of view of an idiot who can't understand what Cherington is attempting to accomplish.
The Sox used to be the team that would acquire your best players because you wouldn’t pay them. That’s how they got Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke, Josh Beckett, and Mike Lowell.
It's also how they got Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Julio Lugo, and John Lackey (for a bit). It's shocking to me that Dan, who has made a living out of bashing overpaid Red Sox players, all of a sudden becomes the "Red Sox got so many good players through being willing to pay these players" guy. He simply just doesn't have the patience required to see the Red Sox build through any other method than to use the other MLB teams as a farm system.
Now the Sox are the team that won’t pay to keep its best pitcher. They are the team that will take on veteran talent for short years. Do James Shields and Cole Hamels somehow fit into that category? Doubt it.
If Dan would stop running his filthy, whorish mouth and do some research then he could see the history of paying free agent pitchers who are close to or over the age of 30 isn't a vast and diverse history of success. It's how contracts given to CC Sabathia, Barry Zito, Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, Chan Ho Park, Jason Schmidt, Mike Hampton, Denny Neagle, and Carlos Silva happen. If Dan would take the time to look at any "Worst signings in MLB free agency history" then he would see pitchers from the age of 29-31 who got paid and ended up not earning that money. There are always exceptions, and Jon Lester may be the exception, but choosing not to overpay him isn't the worst move the Red Sox could have made. It hurts in the short-term, but not as much as it would hurt in the long-term if he was making $20 million-plus over the next five years and never lived up to that contract.
Besides, who is to say the Red Sox don't try to re-acquire Jon Lester? It could very well happen.
Lester was traded because philosophically John Henry has decided “nevermore” when it comes to five- and six-year contracts for players over 30. The Sox brass was emotionally damaged by the huge contracts lavished on Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez.
Learning from their mistakes...Dan will have none of that. He thinks the Red Sox should continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. It's more fun for him that way. Who cares if those three players represent a good reason to not give out large contracts to players over 30? Reason goes out the door when Dan Shaughnessy is writing.
Henry doesn’t want to be spending $25 million per season in the fifth and sixth years of Lester’s next contract. This is odd given that Lester would only be 36 in the fifth year of a prospective six-year deal and Lackey had a 3.60 ERA at the age of 36 this season.
Nope, not really odd. What is odd (not really) is how Dan again leaves out facts in order to make it seem like he has a better point than he truly does. John Lackey did have a 3.60 ERA at the age of 35 (just do research, that's all I ask) this season. Lackey's ERA at the age of 31 and 32 was 4.40 and 6.41. He missed an entire season at the age of 33. So the great and wonderful example that Dan is using to prove the Red Sox should sign Jon Lester to a contract until he is 37 years old is an example where the first three years of that pitcher's contract were essentially a waste for the team. Yeah, Lackey improved during the next two seasons, but Dan's point is very unpersuasive. Not that he would ever stop cherry-picking data to comprehend this of course.
Can we please cease with crazy speculation that Lester will come back to Boston? There’s no larger plan that would have the Sox revisiting the Lester negotiations this winter and bringing their favorite southpaw back to Fenway.
I hope and pray that Lester signs back with Boston so Dan Shaughnessy can write a "It's so good to have Lester back" column and completely forgets he made this statement. And yes, the Red Sox could revisit negotiations once they know the market for Lester. Maybe Dan has inside information, but if the Red Sox think he can come back at a reasonable price then I see no reason why they wouldn't re-sign him. That's assuming the Yankees or another team don't throw a bucket of cash at him, which feels likely too.
The Sox are out on Lester. If they wanted in on Lester, they’d have re-signed him when they had the chance.
While true, the Red Sox are also smart enough to know if they had re-signed Lester while he was a member of the Red Sox then they would be setting the market for him. Perhaps they would much rather see what the market is for Lester and then would try to come to terms with him. It can't be ruled out entirely.
The Sox won’t do it anymore. They think the Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, and Tigers are stupid. They will not engage in such stupidity.
Swell. But Sox fans paying the highest ticket prices in baseball have to ask themselves if they are OK supporting a team that will not compete for the services of its best pitcher.
I read a lot of whining in the comments of this article regarding this same complaint. While I'm sympathetic, get the fuck over it. Your team has won three World Series since 2013. I'm sorry you are paying for a bad product for two months of one season. Poor you. I pity that Red Sox fans can't see a winning team for two whole months. It's enough to make Bill Simmons a baseball widow. So maybe I'm not sympathetic, because I don't really feel bad. Red Sox fans have gotten to see some great baseball over the last decade, I'm sure handling two months of watching the team without Lester is manageable.
No more superstars in Boston. No more superstar contracts.
Quit being a drama queen you asshole. They just traded for Yoenis Cespedes, who is making $10.5 million next year and nothing is stopping the Red Sox from giving him a contract extension. The Red Sox are still going to give out contracts to players they deem worthy. Maybe someone like Giancarlo Stanton? This is the type of article Dan Shaughnessy will write and then conveniently forget that he has written once it's proven not to be true.
It’s all about younger players and club control.
Which, by the way, sort of worked for the Cardinals last year and has worked for the Florida (now Miami) Marlins as well. It's not like this is a bad strategy with the right players.
Welcome to Kansas City-on-the-Charles.
God, Dan Shaughnessy is simply the worst. The Red Sox won a World Series 10 months ago, only a year after they were last in the AL East. The Red Sox are sellers are the trade deadline and Dan Shaughnessy has a hissy-fit like it's the end of the world and then starts questioning what the plan is, despite very obviously knowing the plan. Go way, Dan. Please.