Terry Francona is not the decision-maker once the trade deadline rolls around. That role is reserved for team executives, the front office. Middle management is always aware of what's going on, but never too closely involved.
That's not to say Francona does not understand the impact this day, unlike any other on the baseball calendar, has on his team.
"We're talking about some important decisions," he said hours before Saturday's trade deadline. "Or maybe there won't be important decisions. A lot of speculation. They're talking about guys' lives and their livelihood and where they move their family, so I think it weighs on guys."
Last year's deadline day was particularly busy on that front. The Red Sox made a major splash in acquiring catcher Victor Martinez, but at the expense of the popular Justin Masterson. Adam LaRoche was also moved in a late deal that brought in Casey Kotchman. Catcher George Kottaras was placed on the disabled list around that time.
"Last year was incredible," the skipper said. "Talking to Masterson … there was an unbelievable amount of conversation in a short time. George Kottaras, Masterson, LaRoche. It was a tough day cause its guys you care about that you have to send other places, so there's a human element for sure."
There is a chance that the Red Sox will not pull off anything major at the trade deadline in 2010. If that's the case, it would not be the first time.
In 2005 and 2006, the club made relatively minor moves. The glaring difference? In 2006, the Red Sox had the second-best record in baseball. The year before, their record was fifth-best in the majors. In both years, they led the American League East.
Not pulling the trigger on anything major was the right decision at the time, Francona felt.
"In '06 at the trade deadline, I think we had the best record in the league," he said. "I know things went a little haywire after that. I think we felt pretty good about the club. About a month later, I don't think we did.
"In '05, I think our record was good too. … Every year is different. I don't remember being let down [by the lack of big trades]."
Boston enters the 2010 deadline day 7 1/2 games back in the AL East and 6 1/2 games behind in the wild card race. Whether it takes major steps to improve or not, it's safe to say some in the clubhouse will be breathing a sigh of relief.