Originally written on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 7/24/12

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If Ben Cherington is using this week’s six-game road trip as his barometer for how to approach the trade deadline, the Red Sox [team stats] general manager may consider borrowing Ralph Bellamy’s line from the climactic scene of “Trading Places.”

“Sell! Sell! Sell!”

The deadline is still a week away, but the frenzy already has begun. In a flurry of moves yesterday, the New York Yankeestraded for outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the Detroit Tigers acquired pitcher Anibal Sanchez, and the Atlanta Braves were close to a possible deal for veteran right-hander Ryan Dempster.

And the Red Sox?

With another chance to prove they’re worthy of consideration as a wild card contender, they absorbed a 9-1 pounding by the Texas Rangers. It was the Red Sox’ fourth consecutive loss, and for the first time since June 16, they dipped below the .500 mark.

Herald | Red Sox pounded as rivals stock up

The calls are getting louder among media members (and non-pink hat fans) to sell at the deadline, and I'm with them, but I want to repeat the caveat I've mentioned here a few times.

Don't just sell for the sake of selling. Don't sell low on assets (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Daniel Bard, Jacoby Ellsbury).

Sell off pieces that don't fit in the long-term plan. That includes Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney, any reliever, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Those guys are all affordable, playing well (maybe a little too well), and would fit in well on a contender. We could get some pieces back for them.

There's no point in trading off the guys who aren't playing well. We all know Lester is better than this; why pretend that he isn't? Why accept anything but full value for a guy who's proven his worth? I'm all for moving Ellsbury in the offseason, but why now, when he hasn't shown that he can stay healthy?

Then there's the other side where people say we should sell and then point to names like Kelly Shoppach. What, exactly, is the point of selling Kelly Shoppach? We could get back a PTBNL and maybe a little cash, or the lowest of low prospects. Just to make room for Ryan Lavarnway? 

Meanwhile, some were getting excited about Anibal Sanchez yesterday, hoping we could move some prospects to get him. He's in Detroit now, anyway, but it's a good thing. We don't want rentals. If we make a long-term-focused move, that's OK, but trading prospects for 2012 rentals will prove to be a waste.

So if you're serious about selling, get serious about the long-term plan. Buy low, sell high, right? Let's stick to that this trade deadline.

On page 2, Salty is coming around.

"I feel comfortable," declared Saltalamacchia. "I feel good. I'm not missing any pitches. I'm getting the pitch up and driving it, which is something I did in the first half. If I can continue that stretch and start swinging at better pitches like [Monday] night, then I'll be OK.
"It's just a timing thing. When you're timing's off, you miss your fastball and swing at bad pitches. My timing was off and I didn't feel comfortable and I wasn't getting ready, so I was just swinging at whatever they threw. Where, now I feel the timing's a little better and I'm starting to get pitches up in the zone and I'm hitting them."

CSNNE | Despite losses, Saltalamacchia finding his swing again

Salty's a pretty streaky hitter, so it's good to see him come around again (whether we keep him or trade him). I'm still not 100% on his catching, but by all accounts he's a hard worker and a good guy. He's not what's wrong with the team.

Herald | Left at a loss to explain | Jon Lester remains in the rotation | CSNNE | Doubront can't get Sox back on track | Sox open road trip with 9-1 loss to Rangers | Gonzalez staying level-headed after hot week at plate | Globe | Texas-sized beating | Their only move: going backward | Plan for Lester is unveiled | ESPNBoston | Red Sox trying to hold together | Manager talks to slumping Jon Lester | Rangers trounce Red Sox behind Scott Feldman | Gonzalez named AL player of the week

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