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The Correct Way To Hold A Fire Sale

In life, there are buyers and there are sellers. In 2020, most things are sold via curbside pick up, so it makes complete sense that the awful 2020 Boston Red Sox are setting their talent on the curb waiting for the sellers to come pick it up.

On Sunday, the latest item taken off of Ron Roenicke’s menu was Mitch Moreland or as most know him: the Red Sox home run hitter. On the surface the visceral reaction is “Why would you trade a player like Moreland? He doesn’t make much money and when he’s in the line up (which isn’t frequent enough) he generally goes deep.”

But Moreland’s deal is up at the end of the season, which means you can either trade him and get some future assets or you can enjoy watching Moreland bludgeon a few more homers the next 26 meaningless games. Either way, if Moreland is to be the first basemen of the Boston Red Sox in 2021, it will require a new contract. (Yes, I’m saying there is a chance he could be back in Boston next year. Probably not a great chance, but a chance nonetheless.)

Trading Moreland serves the secondary purpose of giving Bobby Dalbec a pressure free 27-game trial of facing Major League pitching. This is the correct way build for the future: trade an asset that might be blocking the way of a younger talent and get something for them before they hit the open market. Rebuilding 101.

The incorrect way to have a fire sale is to trade players like Christian Vazquez. Vazquez is one of the best receivers in the game and his bat has come alive the last two seasons. Vaz is also under contract for two more seasons, making him a free agent at age 32, an age when catchers start to decline. The Red Sox are in position to get the prime years of a player that they developed, which is no longer the given that it was before the Mookie Betts trade.

Not to mention, the Red Sox don’t have any other catchers, Jonathan Lucroy was a bust and Kevin Plawecki is well, Kevin Plawecki. (Don’t even ask about the farm system, which currently looks like pumpkins in December.)

Chaim Bloom said that no player is untouchable, while I understand the idea behind a statement like that, it’s not necessarily true. The 2020 Red Sox can trade anybody, except for 3 players:

Rafael Devers (Still on his rookie deal, the best young player in the organization.)

Xander Bogaerts (With Betts gone, Xander is the face of the franchise and signed through roughly the end of his career. You’ll never get enough in return to make dealing the cornerstone of a rebuild worth it.)

Christian Vazquez (Because catchers don’t grow on trees. Let’s try to develop, I don’t know, one legitimate big league pitcher before we tackle the thermonuclear-calculous-rocket science of player development that is grooming a major league catcher.)

While it’s disappointing initially to see guys like Moreland and Workman head of town, it makes sense for where the team is and where it needs to get to, to make moves like this. For an organization that never believes they’re rebuilding, trading any of the cornerstones of an organization that is on very shaky ground could set the franchise back for a decade.

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