For weeks now, we've been wondering if the Red Sox will be buyers or sellers at next Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline. It no longer matters. Either would be acceptable — as long as this team does something.
The Red Sox had a much-needed day off Thursday in New York after losing two of three in Texas. They've lost five of six overall and 15 of 24.
Not a trend that builds confidence. Not a trend that makes you think this team is ready to get on that long-awaited roll that will propel it to a strong effort in final two months.
As the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wrote Thursday, it's time to blow things up. He points out that this particular group has gone two years without a playoff spot. He says Dustin Pedroia may be the only untouchable player on the roster.
I'd throw Clay Buchholz, Will Middlebrooks and a couple of prospects like Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes onto that list as well.
The point is that this team needs a change. Even if it's just change for change's sake. The 2012 Red Sox cannot expect to compete as presently constructed.
Ben Cherington is at a point where selling off a veteran or two may actually make this team better while adding a prospect or two for the future. Josh Beckett may be a big addition to a National League team's rotation. Sending him off may actually help the Red Sox improve now. The Red Sox would have to eat salary, but it has to be done.
Moving Beckett might open up space to go get a Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, someone who could take his place at (or near) the top of the rotation. If not, most fans would be happy seeing Franklin Morales get a chance to start every fifth day. Morales couldn't do much worse than Beckett. Literally. The Red Sox have lost seven of Beckett's last eight starts. Morales could only be one game worse than that.
At this point, Cherington would have to listen to just about any offers out there. Cody Ross has been one of the best free agent signings in baseball, but you'd have to listen to a team willing to give up a decent prospect. No one seems to think Jacoby Ellsbury will be here beyond 2013, so move him if the offer is right.
Any deal right now would have to be seen as a good sign. The Patriots opened camp this week, and Boston fans are ready to move on from a team that has shown a maddening inability to get beyond .500 and back in any playoff race.
The Sox are just 4 1/2 games out of the wild card race heading into their weekend series with the Yankees. They've stayed afloat because role players have stepped in and done the job. Creating more playing time for those players wouldn't be a bad thing.
Any move at this point would be a good thing.
Add, subtract, do whatever math it takes to change this roster by next Tuesday at 4 p.m. Keeping the status quo is no longer an option.