Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MA - JULY 26: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox is tagged out at the plate Austin Hedges #17 of the Cleveland Guardians in the third inning at Fenway Park on July 26, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

There’s an old adage that goes something like this: judge people not by what they say, but rather by what they do. Now more than ever, this applies to the Red Sox and the annual major league trading deadline.

Of course, we all know how this works. In recent days, Red Sox manager Alex Cora (in a press conference), president Sam Kennedy (on the radio), chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom (on television) all answered questions about the Red Sox’ intentions approaching the Aug. 2 trading deadline. All three were noncommittal. Cora basically said the Red Sox would do what was best for the organization. Kennedy and Bloom went a little further, but left the door ajar.

“There’s been no discussions or commentary internally or externally about moves related to the trade deadline involving Xander (Bogaerts), Raffy (Devers), or anyone else to my knowledge,” Kennedy told WEEI.” At this point, we’re focused on getting back in this thing and winning.”

Said Bloom to NESN: “We haven’t had any discussions internally or with any other club about (Bogaerts and Devers). We don’t plan to.”

Naturally, the language there is open-ended. At this point. We don’t plan to. But before we accuse the Red Sox of lying or deceiving, don’t take it so personally. They have jobs to do and it would serve them no purpose to tell us they were planning to move Bogaerts, Devers or anyone else. By the trading deadline on Tuesday at 6 p.m., we’ll have our answers based on what they do.

Eighteen years ago, in the last days before the trading deadline, I asked a Sox official if they were going to trade away Nomar Garciaparra. The answer I got? “Probably not.” Within a day or two, Garciaparra was gone in a deal that brought Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston. The same official later told me, “I wasn’t lying to you.” So maybe the deal came together late – or maybe it didn’t. Either way, noncommittal answers are built into the landscape of trade talks.

As for the notion of whether the Sox will be buyers or sellers, the Red Sox can’t have it both ways – at least not as it pertains to the 2022 season. Yesterday, John Tomase of NBC Sports Boston reported that Bloom informed his staff to avoid “binary thinking,” which is to say that he doesn’t want the Sox to think as buyers or sellers. If that sounds like a copout, it is. When the smoke clears Tuesday, we are all likely to know whether the Red Sox are playing for the short term (2022) or the long (2023 and beyond), no matter what the Red Sox say.

  • J.D. Martinez

    ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 11: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox looks on after scoring a run in the fifth inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on July 11, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JULY 11: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox looks on after scoring a run in the fifth inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on July 11, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    Martinez will be 35 next month and feels like a lock to be gone. Here’s why: he’s underperformed this year (so how much of a loss is he really?) and, if the Sox want draft pick compensation for him, they would be required to offer him a one-year deal for roughly $19 million. If he accepts, the Sox would lose money they might be better-served to spend elsewhere. The big second-guess concerns the Sox’ efforts to trade Martinez last offseason, which would have freed up the money to bring back someone like Kyle Schwarber, who got $79 million over four years with the Phillies.

  • Nathan Eovaldi

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 22: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox walks off of the field during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on July 22, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JULY 22: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox walks off of the field during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on July 22, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    Eovaldi already has been immortalized here for what he did in 2018, but the dilemma for the Sox is the same as above – and he’s been injured to boot. If the Sox want draft pick compensation this offseason – and we know how much the modern executives love that – they have to make a qualifying offer. A healthy Eovaldi on a one-year deal feels far more palatable than such a deal for Martinez, if only for the fact that the Sox need any pitching they can get. But given Eovaldi’s current back problems, is that really a smart allocation of resources? Doesn’t feel like it. If they can get a comparable prospect for him in the coming days, he could be gone.

  • Christian Vazquez

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 25: Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting an RBI single against the Cleveland Guardians in the sixth inning at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JULY 25: Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting an RBI single against the Cleveland Guardians in the sixth inning at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    All things considered, there may be no Sox player who has taken greater advantage of a contract year. But would the Sox make him a qualifying offer of nearly $19 million to get a draft pick? No way. (Vazquez is making $7 million this season.) That would make him perhaps the likeliest candidate to be dealt were it not for this fact: who the heck would become the full-time catcher if he’s gone? Love Vazquez or hate him, he’s a starter. If he goes – let alone if either of the above also departs – the white flag will go up on the 2022 season.