BOSTON — There will likely be a lot of coffee consumption around Fenway Park in the next week. It’s trade deadline season, and the Red Sox are buyers, which means some late nights are undoubtedly on tap for the organization’s front office.
The Red Sox figure to be aggressive in the days leading up to the July 31 deadline. Whether or not that aggressiveness leads to any major deals remains to be seen, but general manager Ben Cherington made it clear Wednesday that he will absolutely be working the phones in an effort to improve the club.
“We’ll be aggressive in making phone calls and pursuing things and gathering information and then trying to find ways to improve the team,” Cherington said. “What that turns into, I don’t know. I think we’re still in a strong position. We’ve got a lot of good players here, good players in Pawtucket who can help us, so we’ll see. It’s one thing to want something, but there has to be a match. There’s got to be two to dance. If we find a partner who makes sense, we’ll pursue it.”
That’s typically how this time of year works. There will be phone calls exchanged, text messages sent and inboxes flooded. Who knows? We might even see a carrier pigeon or two make its way across Yawkey Way. In the end, however, each team, including the Red Sox, faces the difficult task of figuring out exactly how much of the future it’s willing to risk to improve the current major league team.
“That’s the artistry of it. That’s where the balance comes in. That’s where the sense of judgment comes in from the general manager and others,” Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said. “You’ve got to be a little careful because we’re not just building for one year. Ben has talked about building a solid, the next great Red Sox team and that will involve some of the prospects who are sought after. We’ll be aggressive in finding out what’s there. Whether we’ll be aggressive in moving prospects is a whole other question.”
The Red Sox’ situation is certainly unique. Many considered this to be a bridge year, figuring that Boston wouldn’t jump back into contention until 2014 at the earliest. The Sox have exceeded those expectations, though, and they’re now forced to decide whether they should go all in or seek out minor changes.
From the sound of it, the Red Sox’ trade deadline approach might lie somewhere in the middle. They’re certainly open to adding pieces, but they also understand that the best course of action may be to hang onto the coveted prospects that figure to be an integral part of the organization’s future.
“We’ll be aggressive in covering the waterfront and talking to clubs,” Lucchino said. “If there’s a player that we hear may be available on the market, we will be there to talk about it to see what the possibilities are. Since we got here, every year, we have tried to do something at the end of July, when we’ve been in a race in particular. That doesn’t mean we always do it, do anything, because there’s a real value these days on high-quality prospects, and we have a lot of them. There’s going to have to be a pretty good deal to extract some of these high-quality prospects we have.”
Red Sox owner John Henry expressed sentiments similar to those expressed by Cherington and Lucchino, calling the trade deadline “tricky” but saying that he likes the position that they’re currently in. One thing that doesn’t figure to be an issue at the trade deadline is money, as Henry has already stated that the team is willing to take on salary if the right deal comes along.
When the dust settles on July 31, the Red Sox might not look much different. It won’t be because of any inactivity, though. The next week figures to be a busy one, regardless of the end result.