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Giving Away The Farm

I am not a terribly big fan of Murray Chass, the sports writer for the NY Times, primarily because it appears from the tone of his writing that he takes great pleasure in bashing and belittling the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation. However, in an article in today’s Times, he hits home a point about the Sox and the Sox management that I too have been contemplating since Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins on Wednesday September 6th.

Sanchez’s no-hitter got me thinking because he, along with several other highly talented and productive players (including the Marlins’ starting shortstop Hanley Ramirez) have been traded by the Red Sox over the past few years. In fact, the amount of talent and production that has been traded by the Sox is actually quite alarming, especially when you consider the state of the Red Sox current pitching staff and their place in the standings. As a fan, you have to really start to question the “cybermetric” decision making being done on Yawkey Way these days. To quote from the article:

Care to consider some other moves the Red Sox made?

After letting Johnny Damon go to the Yankees as a free agent, they needed a center fielder and acquired Coco Crisp for Andy Marte, the young third baseman they obtained from Atlanta for shortstop Edgar Renteria. Crisp, a .300 hitter for Cleveland last season, has turned into Rice Krispies for the Red Sox, hitting .266.

The night before Sanchez pitched his no-hitter, Bronson Arroyo, the pitcher the Red Sox traded to Cincinnati because they thought they had enough pitching, pitched a three-hit shutout against San Francisco for his 12th victory to go with his 3.33 E.R.A., the fifth lowest in the N.L.

The same night that Sanchez pitched the no-hitter, Cla Meredith was the winning pitcher in San Diego’s 2-0 victory against Colorado in 11 innings. Meredith, a 23-year-old reliever, went to the Padres on May 1 when the Red Sox were desperate to reacquire Doug Mirabelli to catch the knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

In three relief appearances with the Red Sox last season, he gave up seven runs in two and a third innings. With the Padres this season, he has allowed 3 runs in 36 innings over 33 games for a 0.75 E.R.A.. He has given up no runs in his past 29 innings over 25 games.

Through Wednesday, the Red Sox bullpen ranked 10th in the American League with a 4.30 E.R.A.

Because it was Sanchez who pitched the no-hitter, we are reminded of Freddy Sanchez, whom the Red Sox, desperate for pitching then, too, traded to Pittsburgh at the trading deadline in 2003 for Jeff Suppan. For good measure, the Red Sox included Mike Gonzalez in the deal.

Gonzalez has become the Pirates closer (24 saves in 24 opportunities this season), and Sanchez, hitting .344, is on his way to becoming the N.L. batting champion.

I acknowledge that the National League is a bit weaker than the AL these days, and many of the players noted above are playing in the NL which may make their numbers seem a bit inflated but that arguement only goes so far.

It is highly unlikely that the Sox will come back and make anything of this season. And the Sox brass keeps on saying that they are building for the future. But if they are building for the future, then they need to commit to that and not try to compete with the big boys at the same time. That’s an equation that will not work. Have they been so focused on protecting their young players that they have unknowingly mortgaged a great deal of their future already?

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