Trade deadline? Or dead air?
Is it me or does this year’s approaching trade deadline seem like a real dud? Major League teams have until sometime on July 31 to make trades without the players involved having to pass through waivers. I’m not really sure exactly what this means, except that it gets harder to trade players after that date. So good players from bad teams are often acquired by playoff contenders around this time of the year. The bad teams benefit by dumping salary and acquiring some (hopefully) good young talent in return. Good teams benefit by getting someone who can (hopefully) help them make the playoffs.
Last year the Red Sox acquired Victor Martinez from the Indians. The year before they dumped Manny WhatsHisName and brought Jason Bay on board. Some trades work out. Others don’t (eh hem, Greg Gagne anyone?).
And there is always a lot of buzz as the trade deadline approaches. Heck, boston.com even has a feature called “The Buzz” to report news and rumors of trades. But this year the chatter seems very subdued. In fact, I dare you to actually find “The Buzz” on boston.com. It’s such an after thought this year they don’t even have a link to it from their main sports or Red Sox menu.
Here it is, by the way. Just looking at some of the “big” names on the list will give you one clue about why there’s not a lot of building excitement this year. I mean, are we supposed to get hot and sweaty over Chris Iannetta?
But I think something else is going on, as well. I think the lack of real buzz this trade deadline reflects a maturity among the fans of Red Sox Nation. We all recognize that the Red Sox are going to get much better without any trades, when their many injured players begin to return to the lineup. Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett will be back on the mound again within the next few days. Jeremy Hermida is back soon. And it won’t be too much longer after that before Victor Martinez is swinging a bat, and Dustin Pedroia is ranging second base. None of the players available through trade match most of this returning cast.
On top of that, I also think we accepted Theo Epstein’s premise that this is a “bridge” year. We can see that the next few seasons ought to be good ones as the Sox minor leaguers get the call up to Fenway. We understand that there isn’t anyone among available trade options who is enough of a difference maker to make it worth sending away some of our most valuable prospects.
Of course, now that I’ve written this, watch Theo empty the farm to bring in Roy Oswalt or someone like that!