Bobby Valentine’s Uncertain Future Doesn’t Change Need for Red Sox’ Big Trade

Bobby Valentine's Uncertain Future Doesn't Change Need for Red Sox' Big TradeThe
Red Sox are trying to rebound from an atrocious 1-8 road trip.

With the Blue
Jays in town, they'll hope to avoid slipping into the basement of the
American League East. And the Red Sox will likely have to battle without David
Ortiz
, who is unlikely to return this season.

While
speculation continues to mount surrounding Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine's
future, let's take a look at this week's mailbag.

If Bobby V doesn't come back next season, are the
trades of Youk, Beckett
and the rest of the bunch still going to be looked
at as a good move? 

–Ben
Hooker, via Facebook

Absolutely. The
reality is that Kevin Youkilis would have been out the door either way because
the Red Sox would have had the option of picking up the last year of his contract
after this season, and they wouldn't have. The way Will Middlebrooks was hitting, it would have been an easy decision.

By shipping out
Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox have improved the
clubhouse chemistry and regained the financial flexibility to sign the free
agents of their choosing.

Valentine was
never responsible for Beckett's struggles — or Gonzalez's slump, which has continued
in Los Angeles — so it can't be placed on him. The skipper also didn't have a
healthy Crawford, which was out of his control.

What would you consider the worst mistake the Sox
made this season? 

–Jimmy
McKenna, via Facebook

Where do I
start?

From a team
standpoint, I think the team would love a mulligan regarding their decision to
start Daniel Bard in the rotation. His struggles in spring training
foreshadowed his issues in the regular season, and it would have been wiser to
start Alfredo Aceves. After all, Aceves posted better numbers in Fort
Myers.

I think the
worst individual mistake was when Valentine criticized Youkilis' physical
and mental commitment
in April. That comment triggered controversy and, in the process,
Valentine alienated members of the clubhouse. The skipper's communication
with his players has been questionable at times this season.

Since the Red Sox have
pretty much no shot at making the playoffs, do you think they will make a big
splash in the offseason? 

–@petey7926,
via Twitter

Nope. With the trade with the Dodgers, the Red Sox front office
has made it perfectly clear they won't be following in Theo Epstein's footsteps
by overspending on free agent talent.

Don't expect them to be in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes. But
I think the Red Sox will enter the offseason with a disciplined approach and look to pick up some cheap, hidden gems.

It worked out with Cody Ross. The Red Sox didn't sign him until
February, then locked up him with a one-year, $3 million contract, and he's blossomed
into the team's offensive spark plug.

What direction are the Sox
going to go this offseason? What moves are going to be made? What can we look
forward to? 

–@KinoBoi,
via Twitter

Clearly, starting pitching has been the team's Achilles' heel
this season. You'd have to think the Red Sox have
their sights set on acquiring at least one starting pitcher.

Anibal Sanchez could be a name to keep an eye on. Sanchez
started his professional career in the Red Sox' farm system before getting sent to the Marlins in exchange for Beckett in 2006.

Since Sanchez will be a free agent at the end of the season, a reunion
with the Red Sox could be plausible. After all, Red Sox general manager Ben
Cherington
was very fond of Sanchez during their time together.

Have a question for
Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais
 or send it here. He will pick a few
questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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