The Red Sox have played a total of 27 games so far, and currently sit atop the AL East with a record of 16-11. We've recently discovered that Pablo Sandoval will miss the rest of the year with a shoulder injury, but other than that, the Sox haven't made any major moves yet. Being more than a month into the season, when is the right time to start shaking things up?
One easy move that I think most would fans would agree with would be to trade Clay Buchholz. After finally getting a quality start last night, Buchholz is now 1-3 on the season with a 5.71 ERA. Before last night, the Red sox were 0-5 in games that Buchholz started; needless to say, it was a very rocky start.
During the month of June last season, Clay Buchholz made 6 starts for a 4-0 record with a 2.21 ERA. A number of fans wanted to move him then, but just as many thought this might finally be the year that Buchholz goes the distance. Of course, it wasn't, and Buchholz went down with an injury just a month later. The Red Sox missed the perfect opportunity to trade Clay at his highest value in years.
With the addition of Dave Dombrowski, I didn't think the Red Sox would have any trouble moving Clay if he had a start similar to last year. The only problem is that he's been terrible in all but one start so far. With the performance he had against the White Sox, there is some hope that he can perform as well as we've seen in the past. I can't imagine that Dombrowski will miss the opportunity to trade Buchholz if the opportunity presents itself again.
After a horrendous year in left field, not many people had confidence that Hanley Ramirez would improve with his change in position. Heading into spring training, the hope was that Hanley would at least be decent enough that a team would take him if the Red Sox ate a good amount of his contract. However, not only has Hanley been decent but, to this day, he still hasn't committed an error.
Ramirez seemingly started the season as a new a man, showing off his speed on the basepaths and his above-average fielding at first base. However, history proves that Hanley will put forth a good effort for the first month or so, then he will stop caring and his performance will drop. Much like with Buchholz, a lot of fans are buying into this idea of a "new Hanley".
After 27 games, Ramirez is hitting .284 with two homeruns and 16 RBIs. Not MVP numbers, but it does seem that Hanley is showing a lot more maturity and desire to succeed when he plays. Those are very decent numbers for a player, but many people forget that Hanley is making $22.75 million this year. If he is going to come anywhere near that sort of value, which I don't think he will, he is going to need to step up his offensive production.
If Cherington was still calling the shots in Boston, I can absolutely see him drooling over this production from Ramirez. Ben would already be talking about his future with the Red Sox, and who knows, he'd probably even get an extension. His offensive numbers and defensive success are slowly incresing his value, and Dombrowski needs to make a move before it is too late. They will most likely still need to eat some of his contract, but it won't be the ridiculous number that has been discussed before.
Dave Dombrowski seems like a different type of guy than Ben Cherington, and, as we've said before, he's not afraid to pull the trigger. The time to move Hanley is now, before his effort and desire to win dwindles and they can't find a home for him. If Buchholz can just pitch decently, his low-paying contract should be no problem to shop to a team in need of a mid-rotation guy.
By Matt Watts