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Unlike the Marlins, Red Sox won't start over

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 25, 2012 12:58 PM

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ARLINGTON, Texas The Miami Marlins pushed the plunger, trading Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate over two days.

Outside of Giancarlo Stanton, pretty much anybody can be had off their roster, according to industry sources. Josh Johnson, Heath Bell? Make them an offer.

The Red Sox have spoken to the Marlins about Johnson. One source said this morning that multiple teams are interested in the righthander.

You have to somewhat admire the gumption of the Miami management team. Not many executives would build a new stadium (with taxpayer dollars, no less), go on a wild free-agent spending spree over the winter then blow the whole thing up in July.

Based on the track record of Larry Beinfest and his scouts, the prospects obtained from the Tigers and Dodgers will become the core of a contending team. Florida has been adept over the years at getting back good players when they dump veterans.

Don't expect that to happen with the Red Sox. Just like the Marlins, their wild free-agent spending spree hasn't worked out well at all. But unlike the Marlins, the Red Sox still fill their ballpark (more or less) and own a television network.

Their business model has no Plan B. The Red Sox would rather pursue the second wild card and maintain the veneer of competitiveness than admit defeat. If they fall short, they'll make lofty promises to get better and figure out some big splash in the winter to sell more tickets.

You can make a good case that their real fans would accept a step back for the sake of legitimate improvement and that people would still come to Fenway, especially to see more likable players. The team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008, after all. You might even be able to sell a new plan better than the tattered old one.

Instead, look for the Red Sox to add before July 31, not subtract. It takes a certain kind of courage to do that, too. Whether that is the right move or not remains to be seen.

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