As the Red Sox consider the trade deadline, they must not ignore recent history - The Boston Globe (2024)

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They need to do more and show more between now and the trade deadline date of demarcation (July 30) to prove they’re worthy of the organization deviating from its carefully charted sustainability path, whether you approve of that path or not. (For the record, I don’t.)

Saying this season is different is feelings over facts.

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It’s shocking how short memories are. Last year, the Sox were a season-best nine games above .500 on July 28 and 1½ games out of the third wild card. They finished last at 78-84 for a second straight season after former chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom dubbed the team underdogs, citing their less than 25 percent playoff odds, to justify effectively passing at the deadline.

In 2022, the Sox were a season-high 11 games above .500 on June 26 and 10 games over on July 4 while in possession of the first wild card. That team sunk to 52-52 by the Aug. 2 trade deadline and went through a conflicted and convoluted deadline that saw them try to simultaneously add (Tommy Pham, Eric Hosmer, and Reese McGuire) and sell off (Christian Vazquez) while retaining pending free agents Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi. They finished last in the American League East.

Surely, manager Alex Cora and others clamoring for August augmentation to the current club will claim that if baseball ops had been more aggressive the outcomes would’ve been different. Disagree. It was water finding its level.

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This year’s speed racer Red Sox, a breath of fresh air whooshing by on the basepaths, are motoring on an oval of adequacy in The Fenway 500. For most of the season, they struggled to escape the gravitational pull of mediocrity, hovering at or around .500. The Sox were 35-35 through their first 70 games before they unfurled a stretch in which they won eight of nine games to pull a season-high seven games over .500 (43-36) on June 24.

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And folks started losing perspective. You want to base decisions on one appealing summer snapshot of the Sox where we caught their good side?

It’s shrewd for Cora, in the last year of his deal, to publicly politick for reinforcements. Going to bat for his players to put pressure on chief baseball officer Craig Breslow and ownership to commit to helping this team is the right thing to do in his role. That doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for the organization.

It’s overkill from folks such as esteemed national baseball writer Ken Rosenthal to imply that the Sox are “obligated” to help this current collection of talent and pronounce that if ownership, led by John Henry (who also own the Globe) doesn’t “honor what their players and their manager have done … then shame on them.”

Did I miss this Sox team morph into the 1998 Yankees during the Celtics’ duck boat parade?

The Red sox entered Tuesday’s road series against the Marlins at 44-39, 1½ games out of the cubic zirconia of contention, a.k.a., the third wild card. The surging Astros, they of seven consecutive playoff appearances, were as close to the Red Sox as the Sox are to the Royals, owners of the third wild card. The playoff odds tabbed the Sox at 31.8 percent via Fangraphs and 25.6 percent according to Baseball Reference.

So, excuse me, Breslow, or anyone else who takes a wait-and-see approach with this team between now and the deadline. The priority internally remains the execution of the Sox’ plan, not expediting it.

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To be as clear in my stance as Dwight Evans, the Sox shouldn’t automatically sit on the sidelines. If Breslow is presented with an opportunity to substantially improve the team now and beyond he should part with some of the precious prospects and pounce.

Dwight Evans - 10/15/1986
🍁 Postseason 🍁 pic.twitter.com/eOHa4sx83U

— Random Homers (@randomhomers) October 6, 2023

If there is a young starting pitcher available such as 25-year-old White Sox lefthanded strikeout artist Garrett Crochet or 26-year-old Marlins lefty Jesus Luzardo, who recently went on the injured list with a back injury and is expected to miss a month-plus, get him.

The Sox possess a surfeit of middle infield and outfield prospects with promise. The time for distillation is nigh. Prospect pools are akin to major league hitters. If you connect for a hit 3 out of 10 times, you’re doing great.

But this current Sox team hasn’t shown enough staying power to warrant wasting prospect bullets on rentals.

Sox starters posted a 5.02 ERA in June, ranking 25th, and that number has increased each month. The Sox led MLB in starters ERA in April (2.07). In May, it spiked to 4.49, also 25th.

Despite any misspoken promises, this was always another placeholder season. Breslow mentioned that he contracted a company to do an audit of the organization.

Related: Slipping starters, Rafael Devers need to provide Red Sox more in the second half

Well, the whole season feels like one giant audit. The cerebral Breslow is in full information intake mode. He’ll formulate his plan to move forward with input — i.e., financial parameters — from ownership.

For the go-for-it crowd here’s a tale from last season.

The Angels decided to go all-in and upgrade their “contending” team. They traded two top-three prospects for White Sox pitchers Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, who was signed by the Red Sox but is out for this season after undergoing an internal brace procedure to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

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The Angels opened August with a seven-game losing streak, Shohei Ohtani tore his UCL on Aug. 23, and the Angels ended up 73-89.

This Sox team must display more to move the needle and move the organization’s decision-makers. Until then, this is just more of the same.

Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at christopher.gasper@globe.com. Follow him @cgasper and on Instagram @cgaspersports.

As the Red Sox consider the trade deadline, they must not ignore recent history - The Boston Globe (2024)

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