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Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are in a tough spot

Jul 27, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox Announce Ben Cherington as Executive Vice President/General Manager Getty Images

If you stink, you sell. If you’re doing great, you buy. But Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are sort of screwed at the moment when it comes to trying to figure out what to do at the deadline:

“When we look at where we are in the standings, I guess particularly the teams that are right ahead of us in the wild card chase, we don’t believe that any of those teams are better than us, or necessarily more talented than us … We’re 49-50. We feel this is as good a team as the other teams that are sort of clustered right ahead of us. We also have to be mindful that you have two months left and we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, and we’ve got to be smart about giving up too many long-term assets to try to get a little better the next two months.”

That comes from an interview he gave to WEEI this morning, which contains a ton of stuff about the conversations the Red Sox have had and haven’t had leading up to the deadline.

I get what Cherington is saying about the talent of the team. But I guess I can’t help but focus on that “cluster” he refers to. There are seven teams ahead of them in the wild card standings. It’s a close cluster — 4.5 games separating them all — but it’s the case that not only do the Sox have to improve, but a lot of teams have to stumble.  It’s hard to count on that.


  1. aaronzona2011 - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Dear god this team is hard to root for this year

    • kopy - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      They’ve been hard to root for ever since 2004. One World Series and they went from being a fun team with a rich history to a big alternative cult trend of “we are the anti-Yankees!” despite all the evidence that they are the same evil.

      • professorperry - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM

        I really disagree here. The 2007 team had a host of likeable home-grown players (Pedroia, Youks, Taco-boy Ellsbury, Papelbon), veterans of the ’04 run (Manny, Ortiz, Schilling, Varitek), and a few newcomers who performed (Beckett, Drew, and the much-loved Mike Lowell). That was a fun team.

        This … is not a fun team and hasn’t been for awhile. Even when they win, it’s not fun.

      • kopy - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        But in 2007, it was the Colorado Rockies playing the part of the underdog. The general population was rooting for the little guy just like how they rooted for Boston in 2004, and the Red Sox were well on their way to the bloated payroll that has them stuck in their current situation.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Everyone liked us better when we were losers. It’s a price I’m willing to pay.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        The Red Sox had a bloated payroll for 60 years and no one seemed to mind. The rest of baseball simply liked us better when we didn’t win.

      • kopy - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        …but they’re not winning now, either. It’s the expectations that are annoying. I get that it comes with the payroll, but people need to admit that the Red Sox aren’t good this year. This is a last place team, it’s almost August, and we’re discussing how they’re going to make the playoffs.

        To quote Will Ferrell, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

      • Kevin S. - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        There’s nothing like-able about Youk or Papelbon.

      • pinkfloydprism - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        I disagree… 2007 was easy to root for them. 2005 and 2006, not so much…

      • budselog - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        You are correct – VERY correct – on all points except one: their rich history. Their “rich history” is rooted in very bad front office decisions from player personnel to racism.

        This team has been miserable to watch since 2004. Absolutely. The 2007 World Series run was boring. And now, the team just wants to be diversified in investments that have nothing to do with baseball except wanting to sell you a brick, a brick that wasn’t ever a part of the Fenway walls.

        They are headed on a crash course (if they aren’t there already) to Frank McCourt-likeability land. Did anyone EVER think it would come to that?

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    If they could lose some of the attitude while getting MLB ready players back, it could be a good deal for the team. But really, they need their vets returning from injury to produce, and they need the veteran pitchers to stop sucking.

    They have about a dozen outfielders, and someone would like Cody Ross or Sweeney. Maybe Atlanta would be interested in Josh Beckett? Beckett for Delgado would be a smart move for the Sox. If ATL would do it for Dempster, they should do it for Beckett.

    • mrjavascript - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      That has been the strength of the Red Sox is their outfield, and there are plenty of trade chips to go around. The problem is that do you trust Cherrington when it comes to trades? He shipped away two above-average players in Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie for a pair of relief pitchers, one spending half of the season in AAA, the other still on the disabled list.

      A Delgado for Beckett swap would make plenty of sense for both teams, however I’m not overly sure Atlanta would want to take on Beckett’s large contract w/o any salary relief.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      No way in H*ll that Atlanta would make that trade. Unlike Beckett, Dempster is having a good year and doesn’t seem to be a constantly injury prone.

      Cherington will only be able to make a ‘Youkiils type deal’ i.e, get nothing in return AND pay the majority of Beckettt’s remain contract. No thanks…we’ll keep Beckett.

  3. uyf1950 - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    This weekend should make their decision a much easier one. If they lose 2 of 3 or worse yet get swept selling should be the easy call. They aren’t going to win the division. And as for the wild card, yes they are just 4.5 games back but they have to leapfrog 6 teams to get that 2nd wild card spot. Considering they way they are playing I think that’s a very tall order. In any case they are running out of time.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      And even if they leapfrog 6 teams, that only buys them one extra game, on the road. They should not sell too much for that privilege.

      • Ben - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        People keep saying that, and it’s true, I suppose, but a single-game series is actually not terrible odds. Not great, certainly, but small sample sizes favor a bad team in that flukes happen and don’t get a chance to even out.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        I just depends on how many long term assets a team is willing to give up for short term help that could reslut in a 1 game playoff.

  4. Ari Collins - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    The only buying move they should be doing is one that extends past this season. Josh Johnson, for example, or trading for a rental that they can then extend at a discount. They still have a shot this year, if not a great one, so a buy is justified as long as it doesn’t hurt 2013.

    Otherwise, either stand pat and wait for next year, or, if you want to write off this year (a reasonable choice), you can see what you can get for guys who won’t be a part of 2013, like Cody Ross.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Ben is right this is a good team but they need to show some faith in their current players so here is what they should do

    1. Resign Dice K to another 5 years
    2. Put Bard back as a starter, he wasnt given a fair chance
    3. Make Melancon the closer
    4. Put Padilla in the rotation and resign him
    5. Have Dice K bobblehead night every friday at every home game next season, he is the face of the fanchise, its time to start treating him that way

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      Wow dirtyharry1971…you thought that all up???

      Ho hum…yawn…boring.

      • drewzducks - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Ha. Difficult to pick up on humor when the humor is humorless. Harry is not good, but definitely is bad and ugly!

      • bozosforall - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Nice example of humorless humor, drewsuckz.

    • stevequinn - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      You ARE being facetious right? Dice-K the “face of the franchise?” I hardly think so. That person resides at 2B. Pedroia is the only guy, day in and day out, that busts his butt.

      The Sox should be “sellers” this year. They ain’t gonna win nuttin. And the very first “dump” should be Josh Beckett. They could probably get a KFC franchise or Budweiser distributorship for him. The Sox are stuck with Crawford and Gonzales forever and they need to start producing. Cody Ross is an average ballplayer and they could probably get something for him from a team that actually wins ballgames. They could also get a “haul” by making Lester available. The “untouchables” are Buchholz, Ortiz, Pedroia, and Elsbury.. Saltalamacchia is definitely not the answer at catcher. Avilla is a run-of-the-mill SS and the verdict is still out on Middlebrooks.

      I would give Bard another shot at starting but he’s really a great reliever.

      Ben Charrington is wrong! This is not a good team. As a Sox fan since 1948, I’ve watched just about every game this year. I think they stink. Reminds me of the not-so-lovable losers of the 50s.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I can’t believe they’ve won as many games as they’ve lost. It definitely doesn’t feel that way.

    • sabatimus - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      You are clearly joking.

  6. js20011041 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I’ve been saying this for a while, but the absolute worst thing for them to do is to start buying. They aren’t winning the division and it makes zero sense to start trading future prospects for the possibility of maybe making the one game playoff. I’m not saying they have to sell. This isn’t an especially old team like the Phillies. I think they can play out the year and hope that next year that the starting pitching starts playing up to their track record next year. But this false hope that they’re going anywhere this year could really set them back in the future.

    Of course, the future may not be any brighter seeing as how this entire organization is dysfunctional from the ownership down. It started last year, not just with the collapse, but with the way that Francona left the team. It would have been one thing if just left and the ownership praised him for his service, but they didn’t. They threw out all kinds of allegations about losing the clubhouse, prescription drug abuse, and lacking focus due to his marriage. I’m convinced that Larry Lucchino was a major factor behind that and going over Cherington’s head to hire Bobby Valentine. I actually think Valentine gets a little bit of an unfair rap. Yes, he doesn’t help himself with some of his comments, but with the existing problems in the clubhouse, he didn’t stand a chance. Lucchino is actively poisoning this organization and because John Henry’s allowing it to happen, he’s equally as culpable.

  7. turdfurgerson68 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Red Sox should stand pat and either sink or swim with the team they have now.

    No more Youkillis type trades…get nothing in return AND pay the majority of whoever gets traded remaining contract.

    No thanks…we’ll go with what we have.

  8. dwrek5 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Well, they have made some acquisitions recently, just not through trades…

    Pedroia, Crawford, and Ellsbury are all healthy now. If Gonzo can find his power (or is it mammo now?) then that is a much better lineup than it was a month ago.

    • uyf1950 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      I constantly see Red Sox fans reference Crawford as being a positive now that’s he’s back. What on Gods green earth gives Red Sox fans any cause for hope that he is anything other then what he showed last year in Boston and has shown so far which for the past 9 games since his return has been absolutely nothing. And please don’t anyone say how he played in Tampa Bay. Because Boston isn’t Tampa bay and Fenway isn’t Tropicana Field. He simply looks lost in left field in Fenway.

  9. xpensivewinos - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    The Red Sox are absolutely and completely screwed because unlike teams who are looking to add players, the Red Sox need to replace players and it’s not like they’re going to acquire some new pitchers so Beckett and Lester can sit on the bench. Their real problem is that their high-priced stars have been brutal, so they’re not only the reason the team is circling the drain, but their contracts make them impossible to trade and hinders their budget for years to come.

    Adrian is not worth his contract, Crawford is making Barry Zito’s contract look like a bargain, Pedroia has been brutal this year due to injuries or whatever else, Aviles came back to earth in a big way, Ellsbury is a non-factor this season and the starting pitching (for the most part) is pathetic.

    The Red Sox are in a very unique position of really not being able to do much of anything whether they wanted to or not. Some teams are buyers, some are sellers……….the Red Sox are just stuck.

    This is not nearly as much Bobby Valentine’s fault as it is Theo and Cherington’s, but I have never seen a manager more disconnected from his team. He looks like a complete stranger in and amongst that team. No doubt the Red Sox owners and GMs failed chemistry in school……

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Bobby V is a stranger in a strange land.

  10. drewzducks - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Screwed at the moment? Try for the forseeable future with the long term anchors of Lackey, Beckett, Crawford…and as far as the Sox being in a cluster I was thinking of a different kind of cluster…time to sell off the assets of some value such as Sweeney, Shoppach, Aviles and even Ross. As far as the fantasy of unloading Beckett or CC light, no chance, unless you’re willing to take on a Vernon Wels type contract.

  11. gotampabay52 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Crawford chanaged because he went from being a leader in a non pressure enviorment to a baseball town that demands winning. He isn’t in the right place he chased money. He isn’t the player Boston needs. He won’t produce in that enviroment. Boston not making moves or spending anything isn’t the Boston I know. Your not of either race way too much baseball left. Hey fold up shop fine with me

    • kkolchak - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      Plus he’s you know, old.

  12. bigleagues - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    “not only do the Sox have to improve, but a lot of teams have to stumble. It’s hard to count on that.”

    I never put much weight into this line of thinking until the final week or two of the season with several teams involved in a close race.

    Otherwise, if you win consistently often you don’t don’t need to worry about how the other teams are doing. You can’t make the playoffs without winning. Focus on doing that and the rest will take care of itself.

    In the meantime, I’m of the mind that there are a couple of parts that need to be moved, Beckett for example, if an appropriate deal were to present itself.

    Otherwise, you do what you can to strengthen the roster with a smaller move or two and hope for the best as we head into the final 1/3 of the season.

    I get the sense that true roster upheaval’s will need to be executed during the offseason.

  13. jaguar49 - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    The Sox need to go back to basics. It has been evident for some time that the front office is dysfunctional. The person I point at is Larry Lucchino. He seems to be in the mix every single time a major issue is raised and he always seems to be the one screwing up the works.They should either buy him out or give him a job that in no way involves baseball operations. Will that solve all problems? No. But it sure would make the front office more functional and allow the right people to do their jobs without interference.

  14. joeman26 - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    it’s all Bobby V’s fault & he had a better gig at ESPN

  15. bozosforall - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I’m loving’ it. Boston fans back to their normal whiny crybaby ways.

    • drewzducks - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Welcome back SFB

      • bozosforall - Jul 31, 2012 at 11:54 PM

        Who is SFB? Your boyfriend?

      • drewzducks - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:30 AM

        The FB stands “for brains”…I’ll let you figure out the rest.

      • bozosforall - Aug 5, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        Sounds like a perfect nickname for you, loser boy.

  16. craigtoe - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Pedroia is indeed a talented player. I just wish he would stop droping “F” bombs on the way to the dugout after not making a hit. Kids do not need to see that and noone ever hits 1.000 so he should grow up.

  17. spudatx - Jul 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    They need to be selective sellers. This isn’t their year.

  18. patsandsox - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Lucchino is the bad guy in so many ways. He couldnt coexisit with Theo. He cut Bens authourity by killing his handpicked selection for manager and sticking him with Valentine. He spread stories about Tito and drug use after he got him fired.
    He signed off on all the big contracts Theo was handing out to free agents that have the team screwed now, and he must be the worlds biggest suck up to John Henry to get away with all of this BS.
    I have major issuses with Theo and his overspending but Lucky Lucchino has really messed up the front office which in turn has messed up the team

  19. damnyankee13 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    I dont know what has been Boston’s main problem[behiond the scenes] but they better weed it out. Other posters have mentiones Luchiano, not from Boston area so dont know th score, . some say the front office is a mess. the managers is in La La land, sorta reminds me of the 77 Yankees, aka “the bronx zoo” was fun to watch the team self destruct, B, the bvottom line is we won. and while the antics in Boston are not in the field, like the billy martin- reggie jackson squabble, its some where. that leaves behind the scenes so maybe the posters are right, the front office need to be jettisoned, or 1 peron in it, Now while the Yankees are looking good RIGHT NOW, maybe not l;ater, the sox dont look good period.
    I watched todays game Miller seems good, Cook is a keeper, But I remember a playoff atmosphere whenwe played, win/lose, and that wasnt there today.
    Something stinks in Beantown , and it aint the beans.

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