The first trade was the easiest.
No offense to Shane Victorino, whose clutch hitting and Gold Glove in right field made him the most valuable player of the World Series-winning 2013 Red Sox, but he had to go. He’s a free agent after the season, and with the S.S. Sox sinking to the bottom of the AL East again, he was only taking up space better occupied by still-unproven Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo or even offensively-challenged Jackie Bradley Jr.
If the Sox were unable to find a taker for Victorino before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, there’s a chance they would have released him. As it is, they agreed to pay $3.8 million of the nearly $5 million remaining on his contract to complete a deal yesterday with the Los Angeles Angels that netted utility infielder Josh Rutledge.
Trading Victorino? It had to be done, plain and simple.
The rest of the week figures to be more challenging.
It’s no surprise, given the Red Sox’ last-place standing, that an official from a rival team said yesterday “vultures are circling” Fenway Park. And if any of those want to prey on, say, first baseman Mike Napoli, right-hander Justin Masterson or almost any other player with an expiring contract, the Sox are willing to listen.
Otherwise, general manager Ben Cherington isn’t particularly motivated to sell. He’s not interested in blowing up the roster for a third time in four years. If anything, he wants less transition, not more, believing the emergence of young shortstop Xander Bogaerts, center fielder Mookie Betts, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and perhaps catcher Blake Swihart or even Castillo (whom he continues to compare to a younger Victorino) has left the Red Sox closer than they’ve been in years to having the core of what he likes to call their “next great team.”
Matter of fact, Cherington wouldn’t mind adding a few pieces this week. Specifically, he’s on the lookout to upgrade the American League’s worst starting rotation with pitchers who have top-of-the-rotation potential and are under control beyond this season.
Great. And we all want a million dollars.
Young, controllable starting pitching is the target of every team. Consider comments made last night by Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart: “Our goal and our challenge has always been to get good front-end of the rotation, young, controllable pitching. There are a lot of guys out there like that. The question is …Read More