Last time I checked in with you, the Sox had just been hit with a wave of injuries. It was series of random events seemingly in the outer six-sigma realm that decimated the team.
Well, nothing has changed.
Still fighting the injury bug that seems determined to slaughter everyone, this team is reaching a depressing level. That sinking realization has set in that the playoffs are a long shot. Even if the Red Sox pull off a Colorado Rockies-esque run (circa 2007), there is little to no chance to make a real deep October run.
The news here, however, is not the disappointing flameout of a potential World Series caliber roster, but more so the trade of Manny Delcarmen. Delcarmen was traded for 21 year old pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller (CBM from here on out), and I like the move. Now, I have never seen CBM pitch, but I still like it. While Delcarmen had his good times here, he was not improving. If CBM can contribute anything in the next few years, the Sox have won in this deal.
This move also gives us an insight into the mind of GM Theo Epstein. Theo has made several big deadline/waiver moves in the last few years, all with the intent of a playoff push. This isn’t that move. This is different. This is a calculated assessment of exactly what I said above, that the injured 2010 Red Sox can’t accomplish the major goal of the season, a World Series ring. We all knew that this year was referred to as a “bridge year” with the short term contracts of a few players bridging the gap to some younger talent and the end of a few big money contracts. Between David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Jeremy Hermida, Jason Varitek, and Julio Lugo (the Sox paid Lugo $10 mil of his contract in 2010) the Red Sox have a whopping $60 million coming off of contracts. Now, there are obviously priorities to some of that money (like a catcher, more on the importance of signing Martinez later), but this move signals that Epstein knows what is going to happen in the next two years. He knows this team is set to revamp, reset, and make a new run.
CBM may be a part of this new era. Probably not in 2011 due to his age and level, but it’s not out of the question for 2012/2013. Epstein has gotten value in the trading market, recognizing that there is a lost value in this season. By taking a realistic view of the situation, the Red Sox have made a move that has the potential to help down the road at a relatively low cost or risk, and that’s why I like it. Tryouts for the 2011 bullpen begin now.