BOSTON — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine doesn’t see any reason for GM Ben Cherington to add any players by today’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. He likes his team the way it is.
“I don’t see any gaping holes,” Valentine said. “I see more holes on the other teams than I see on ours.”
If that’s true, then why did Boston enter yesterday 10th out of 14 teams in the American League standings?
It doesn’t matter whether the Red Sox are buyers or sellers, they need to do something big today to shake up the team personnel.
The main reason Boston hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and has hovered near .500 all season is because of the players. Yes, Boston has a great deal of talent — more than most other teams. It doesn’t have any gaping holes on paper. But many of the high-paid superstars, the biggest being starting pitcher Josh Beckett, have underachieved and seemed apathetic, creating gaping holes on the field and a bad team culture in the clubhouse.
Meanwhile, hasn’t ownership and team president/CEO Larry Lucchino claimed since spring training — after a thrifty offseason — that they would add an impact player to this team during the regular season?
This past offseason, the Red Sox had the chance to sign free agent Edwin Jackson to a one-year deal. They had the chance to sign starter Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal. But Boston was unwilling to spend the money on either starting pitcher, both of whom signed just one-year deals elsewhere and have ERA in the 3.00s. Boston also traded starting shortstop Marco Scutaro in a deal that seemed more centered on decreasing payroll than improving the team.
“We’re not done,” Lucchino said Feb. 25. “There are things that you do during the season that are possibilities with how to improve the club. … And maybe we should be direct about this: Our payroll is going to be in the $190 million-plus range.”
Lucchino then said July 19 on WEEI that Cherington is empowered to make a bold trade.
Valentine said yesterday: “If there’s any way Ben thinks he can improve (the team) for this year and beyond, I’m sure he’s going to do that.”
It’s time for the Red Sox to stop talking and do something bold, even if that means selling off some of the superstars — and other starters who are on one-year deals — for prospects and giving those positions to younger players to build for next year and coming years.
Maybe the boldest move of all would be to trade Beckett, who is going to be difficult to move because he is a 10/5 player, giving him the power to veto any trade. Plus, he is making $15.750 million each of the next two seasons.
But even if the Red Sox have to pay most of Beckett’s remaining contract, wouldn’t it be worth it to get him out of town?
Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes recently told The Eagle-Tribune that it is difficult to develop young players in Boston and New York where winning is expected every day.
“Sometimes when guys go through struggles like young guys do, the fans lose patience a little bit,” Hughes said.
But at this point, most Red Sox fans have to be fed up with Beckett’s apathetic behavior, bad influence on other pitchers (see fried chicken and beer scandal of 2011) and inconsistent pitching. He is 5-9 with a 4.57 ERA this season. He has a 4.99 ERA for each of the past three Augusts combined and a 4.45 ERA each of the past three Septembers combined.
Most fans likely would rather see Franklin Morales in the starting rotation — or even some young hurler struggle and work his butt off than Beckett struggle and not care.
“I have nothing for you guys,” Beckett told reporters here at Fenway yesterday.
Today should be interesting. Shame on the Red Sox if they don’t make some sort of shake-up move like they did in 2004 when they traded star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.
Getting his bad attitude out of town certainly worked. Sometimes it takes just one big move to create big change.
Many of the high-paid superstars, the biggest being starting pitcher Josh Beckett, have underachieved and seemed apathetic, creating gaping holes on the field and a bad team culture in the clubhouse.
Christopher Smith may be reached at email@example.com