It’s a concept that is hard to grasp, yet easy to understand at the same time. Going “all-in” can mean compromising the team’s future for the present. Going “all-in” can mean overpaying for pure rental players just at the shot of winning the World Series.
No matter how you define going “all-in,” it’s a decision that the Boston Red Sox must make as soon as possible.
The team sits three games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles at 46-38. Throughout baseball, they have the most runs (476), the most hits (876), and the highest batting average (.292). The offense has been lethal to say the least.
On the flip side, pitching has been a much different story.
Their starting pitching ERA (4.82) sits at 23rd among all teams. David Price, the team’s $217 million “ace,” has an ERA of 4.64. Eduardo Rodriguez, who was supposed to be the number-two starter this year, has an ERA of 8.59. Disappointment has been the name of the game with regard to starting pitching for the Red Sox.
It’s obvious that if the Red Sox were to go “all-in” on anything, it would be acquiring as much help for the starting pitchers as they could.
But is it worth it?
David Ortiz is retiring at the end of this season, which is a massive incentive for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox to do whatever it takes to snag the best shot at the World Series.
To get the best shot at the World Series would mean trading for an ace; That ace could be Julio Teheran or Sonny Gray — and those guys aren’t going to come to Boston without a hefty sum in return. That sum could include top prospects Andrew Benintendi or Yoan Moncada, two highly regarded prospects with almost no ceiling.
Both top prospects could one day be part of a core that would include Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Trading away two big future pieces like that really isn’t worth it if the pitchers acquired are solely rentals. If they’re here for the long-term, it makes it somewhat acceptable.
For a guy like Gray, who has struggled mightily this year with a 5.16 ERA, the Red Sox wouldn’t and shouldn’t have to give up Benintendi or Moncada for him. I just recently wrote about who the Red Sox should give up in a trade for Gray.
It has also been rumored that Dombrowski is planning a big trade to acquire an ace, so the Gray trade isn’t ruled out yet and neither is the Teheran one.
Also, this Red Sox offense will be here for a long time, and they are just hitting their stride. The only big piece gone after this year is Ortiz. Though that’s a big piece to lose, he will be replaced in some form and he’s not the only pulsating part of the Red Sox’s order.
Guys like Travis Shaw, Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, and others most likely won’t be going anywhere; neither will Betts, Bogaerts, and Bradley. So unless you want Ortiz to go out with a definite playoff appearance, why go all-in for a rental piece? And even if the piece is long-term, the trade market could be better in future years.
In 2013, the Red Sox were able to go all-in because their core was filled with veterans. Fast forward to 2016 and the core is filled with younger guys on the verge of stardom who aren’t old enough to reach their primes just yet.
These next few weeks up to the trade deadline will be telling and necessary for Dombrowski to make an important call: to trade or not to trade.