Red Sox

Does Chris Sale’s injury mean sale time for the Red Sox?

Here's something heavy they need to consider.

Rafael Devers grimaces on a dugout bench at Yankee Stadium
The Red Sox lost their last two games to the Yankees by a combined 27-3, and that somehow wasn't the worst of their problems. Elsa/Getty Images


If you thought four nights in Florida changed everything for the 2022 Red Sox, wait until you get a load of a Sunday afternoon in the Bronx!

The easiest thing is probably just to quote the Globe’s Peter Abraham, whose feelings seem to be the general consensus:

After taking a 13-2 loss, Alex Cora talked confidently about persevering, as did J.D. Martinez. But how much adversity can one team be expected to survive? . . . The Aug. 2 trade deadline is coming up fast and the Sox can’t cling to the idea of snagging a Wild Card spot and seeing what happens in October. They do not have a roster equipped to win the postseason given all their inadequacies and injuries.


It’s quite a U-turn from Saturday morning, when the Red Sox had split their first eight with New York after another scintillating, never-say-die win late. Even that, however, came after they’d cemented a sub-.500 record in their Tampa-Yankees-Tampa-Yankees test.

They finished 4-10 in that test. They’re now out of playoff position, passed by Seattle as it has won 14 straight mostly against the same level of dregs Boston’s June surge came against. Thus, the above question.

What can this season be? Or, more specifically, what is its greatest value to the future of the franchise?

A back-and-forth battle with as many as seven teams for three wild-card slots in which nothing is promised? Or a selloff in which the Red Sox could likely get something tangible for any or all of J.D. Martinez, Nate Eovaldi, Christian Vázquez, and perhaps even Michael Wacha or Kiké Hernández.

Impending free agents all, they are. As likely is Xander Bogaerts . . .

Let’s take a breath. Two years ago, the Red Sox wrangled Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold from the Phillies for Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman, neither of whom are in the majors right now. Nothing the Red Sox have to shop outside Bogaerts, a whole other discussion, will do much better than that.


Martinez isn’t hitting home runs, but still has 30 doubles and a .302 average, and a reputation as a hitter who makes those around him better. Seems to check a lot of the same boxes the potent-but-injured Kyle Schwarber did a year ago, given what was available then. And what did Washington get for Schwarber from Chaim Bloom?

Aldo Ramirez, a 20-year-old righty who’d thrown 31 innings in Low-A. (He hasn’t pitched at all this year due to injury.)

By all means listen, but be realistic about a possible return and act accordingly. The Sox were buyers last summer, and spent a Double-A pitcher for Hansel Robles and Michael Chavis for Austin Davis.

Their big chip is Bogaerts, but it’s not as though he’s any more of a long-term acquisition than Martinez would be. And the Red Sox should absolutely understand what breaking the glass on that means, above and beyond letting him opt out of his contract three years early this winter and losing him as a free agent.

Optics, let’s be clear, are not a primary driver of team behavior around here, at least when it comes to teambuilding. That’s by and large a good thing; doing whatever the reactionary and fickle think in the moment is almost always going to be a bad plan.


But there has to be a limit, doesn’t there? They traded away Mookie Betts, their greatest home-grown player since Carl Yastrzemski and Roger Clemens. Bogaerts is not that level of talent, but I dare say he’s become as beloved a face of the franchise, unequivocal in ways Betts never was about wanting to remain here.

A team that moves on from Bogaerts, that increasingly appears unlikely to find common ground with Rafael Devers given what’s happening with Juan Soto in Washington, that probably won’t have Martinez and probably won’t have Eovaldi . . . that team won’t have to worry about whether winning can paper this all over because that team won’t be winning in 2023 or, probably, 2024.

Trying to battle through to October with this group, who has shown it can play with anyone but hasn’t shown the ability to beat anyone of substance consistently, might not amount to much. It frankly doesn’t feel all that different from the Bruins this spring.

But there’s something to be said for the genuine effort. Especially when this winter will almost certainly feature copious painful goodbyes as the last real pieces of 2018 decamp for what’s next.

Chris Sale’s latest injury is the sort of thing that puts all new options on the teambuilding table for Bloom’s administration. I hope they consider them all.

And I hope that consideration includes understanding what the “best fans in baseball” are going to have to watch before there’s light coming from the other end of the tunnel.


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