Give the Blue Jays whatever they want to get Roy Halladay.
Make the Rockies an offer they can’t refuse for Brad Hawpe and Troy Tulowitzki.
Show the Tribe the prospects to land Victor Martinez.
Shake up the farm system. The stars of tomorrow might never become stars of today, but it’s no mystery what major league All-Stars can do.
Reconfigure the roster. It’s hard to say goodbye to past heroes, but Major League Baseball is a what-have-you-done-for-me lately business. Separate sentimentality from what’s best for the team.
Nobody is untouchable.
That’s what it’s going to take to the win the World Series this season, because the way the Red Sox are currently constructed doesn’t guarantee a playoff berth — or a deep postseason run if they happen to get that far.
These are the facts:
The Red Sox are 4-7 in the second half and aren’t exactly inspiring confidence or a sense of dominance.
They’re playing .500 ball (11-11) in July.
They already have come from ahead to lose two games to last-place teams this year — first to the Orioles on June 30 and Tuesday night to the A’s. Championship clubs don’t let that happen once.
They are 1-5 against the Rangers, the club breathing down their neck in the AL wild-card race, and were swept in Texas last week.
The Red Sox’ leading home run hitter, Jason Bay, hasn’t gone deep since July 7 and is batting .236 since May 1.
They are hitting .263 as a team on the season and just .241 this month.
The starting staff ranks seventh in the AL in ERA (4.44), and five of the eight Red Sox pitchers who’ve started a game this year have ERAs over four.
The defense has the fewest assists (897) in the AL and the second-fewest in the majors, behind only the Giants.
The Red Sox have allowed more stolen bases (99) than any team in AL or NL, and their caught-stealing percentage (15) is the lowest in baseball.
Off-the-field issues with someone not named Manny are creeping into the picture as well, with Daisuke Matsuzaka airing his grievances in public.
Add everything up, and it’s not the portrait of a world beater.
Nothing has been easy for the Red Sox this season. And the rest of the campaign is only going to get more difficult, as the dog days approach and the vice grip of the pennant race tightens.
The Red Sox are trending in the wrong direction, and the slide appears to be more than a mere slump. Before it becomes an identity — and a crisis — the team needs the kind of big morale boost that only a major shakeup can provide.
Theo Epstein and the Red Sox have some tough decisions to make between now and 4 p.m. ET on Friday. But they’ve turned the tide at the deadline before. There’s no reason they can’t do it again. They have all the trade chips in place to strike it rich. It’s just a matter of having the guts to roll the dice.
Making moves at the trade deadline is a lot like picking stocks these days. There’s enormous pressure to make sound investments in an unpredictable and shifting market. Success is based on projection. And risk is part of the game.
The objective is to come out looking like Valentine and Winthorpe in Trading Places, not the Duke brothers.
But unlike the instant gratification of the movies, no one will know how this Red Sox story ends until October.
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