BOSTON — Let’s stick a pin in it.
The Boston Red Sox didn’t make any major moves before the 2015 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, but general manager Ben Cherington suggested before Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park that Boston perhaps laid groundwork for deals to be consummated this offseason. At the very least, the Red Sox have a better understanding of the marketplace.
“We worked on a lot of stuff, we talked about a lot of stuff — big, small and in-between,” Cherington said. “We didn’t find enough compelling to do much, things didn’t come our way, but I thought we had a really productive week. It allowed us to learn more about what may or may not be in play for us going forward in the offseason.”
This year’s trade deadline was far different for the Red Sox than last year’s deadline, when Boston shipped away the likes of Jon Lester, John Lackey and Andrew Miller amid a flurry of significant moves. The Red Sox acquired reliever Ryan Cook from the Oakland Athletics, but that hardly qualifies as a splash. The bulk of Boston’s heavy lifting seemingly will occur this winter.
“I think it’s incumbent on us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” Cherington said. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week, and so we went into it with a mindset of, we’re going to pursue things that we think fall in with improving in ways we need to improve between now and Opening Day. If we find those things now, we’ll do it, we’ll pursue it. If not, we’ll wait and tackle it in the offseason.
“Like I said, we talked about all sorts of stuff. I think we learned a lot about our players, other players, what’s going to be available going forward. The timing just didn’t line up to make a lot of moves now. We know what we need to do going forward, and we have some more information to guide us in our analysis.”
This season’s deadline was complicated by Boston’s lack of obvious trade chips. It was clear the Red Sox were going to be sellers rather than buyers, but they didn’t have a Lester, a Lackey or a Miller to trade this time around. Outfielder Shane Victorino, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week, and first baseman Mike Napoli were the players most frequently linked to trade rumors.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Red Sox were prohibited from executing a huge trade. They very well could have made a blockbuster this week in order to expedite their offseason retooling process. Nothing satisfied the Red Sox’s appetite, though. Thus, they punted.
“This week, we talked about hundreds of concepts, literally, and there may have been a small handful that got a little traction,” Cherington said. “But it just didn’t get to a point where we felt comfortable pulling the trigger now.”
The key word there is “now.” Cherington and Co. know they need to make changes geared toward improving for 2016. But they also realize there was no pressure to squeeze in trades this week just for the sake of making noise, especially if that noise only sets them back in the coming months.
“A lot of work and discussion, but not as much activity this year,” Cherington said.
And that’s OK. The real activity will take place this offseason, for which the Red Sox now, if you believe Cherington, are better-equipped based on this week’s due diligence.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe