As the July 31st trade deadline nears, teams around the MLB have to make the decision to buy or sell. The Red Sox are in a unique position seeing as they are the defending World Series Champions and still have a core of great players. For weeks, there have been internal discussion of wether or not the Red Sox should give up on this season and prepare for 2015. Because of how streaky Boston has been since the All-Star Break (winning 4 in a row, to losing 4 in a row), the decision had to be made soon, and Sox GM Ben Cherington made it clear that he believes the Red Sox are out of the playoff hunt for this year having fallen 10.5 games back in the AL East.
Jake Peavy was the first big-name casualty of trade deadline and for most Red Sox fans it was tough to see him go. Not only was he an integral part of the 2013 World Series run, but he quickly became a fan favorite by repeatedly voicing his love for Boston and being part of this Red Sox team. Peavy was traded to the Giants for their #2 and #11 ranked pitching prospects per MLB.com. The Red Sox reportedly added $3 million dollars to take some burden off of Peavy’s $16 million salary, which could help explain why Boston was able to get such high level prospects for a pitcher who only recorded one win and threw a 4.72 ERA.
A surprising part of the trade is that the Red Sox went after two pitching prospects, when they have arguably some of the best pitching in all of the minor leagues, with prospects such as Henry Owens, Allen Webster, and Matt Barnes on the doorstep of the major leagues. The pitching returns could hint that there might be a bigger plan in the works to turn these prospects around in another trade for an outfielder (Matt Kemp?) or front of the rotation pitcher (Cole Hamels?). This trade also takes a step towards the youth movement in Boston, which has already seen rookies such as Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, and Christian Vasquez getting regular playing time. With Jake Peavy leaving the rotation, that could open the door for one of the aforementioned pitching prospects to take a permanent role in the Red Sox rotation or more likely, for Brandon Workman who has already proved to be effective at the major league level.
So, where does Boston go from here? Well, it should not surprise many to see Cherington looking to sell off more veterans. There have been rumors of Kansas City’s interest in Johnny Gomes, several teams in Andrew Miller, and Jon Lester who is very willing to stay with Boston and even says that he would return in free agency if traded; but even John Lackey and Shane Victorino could be up for consideration since they are presumably not part of Boston’s longterm plans. Regardless, of who goes and who stays, the Jake Peavy trade shows that Boston is looking to get younger and make a run at the playoffs in 2015.