Red Sox: time for change is now

It’s one of those baseball clichés: they’ll make a move, but not until the trade deadline. The Red Sox are under .500 nearing the end of May, but, they’re still in striking distance of the first place New York Yankees. While the pitching has been serviceable of late, you’d be hard pressed to find any form of a believer in a pitching staff lead by punchless Clay Buchholz.

Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox have been frustrated thus far as they sit in last place of the American League East.

It’s simple. The Red Sox need to make a move now. In the offseason, the Red Sox brain trust added third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and leftfielder Hanley Ramirez to the lineup. In the form of pitching, middle of the line starters Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Rick Porcello were added, to go along with equally mediocre Buchholz and Joe Kelly. The logic in making these moves is questionable, but it’s done, and now it’s time to fix it.

Believe it or not, contrary to what the Red Sox seem to think, hitting is not the key to winning in modern day baseball. The San Francisco Giants have won three of the last five World Series, mostly on the heels of their excellent pitching. Names like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and most recently Madison Bumgarner amongst others have brought three championships to the Bay Area. All the while, opposing pitchers haven’t lost much sleep about facing their lineups. If it wasn’t clear after their first two championships, the San Francisco Giants are the contemporary model of how to win games.

Take a look at the 2013 Red Sox. Yes, the hitting was good, but—more importantly—the pitching was great. Jon Lester, John Lackey, a stable Clay Buchholz and a lock-down bullpen lead the way for would-be champs. Even with this blueprint, the Red Sox felt content entering the 2015 season with the underwhelming staff that we watch today.

They need pitching, and there are names on the market. The Oakland Athletics’ Scott Kazmir is absolutely on the block, and the Red Sox would be wise to kick the tires on the lefty. The A’s sit in the basement of the AL West, with the 31-year-old being one of their few bright spots. They have a long history of shipping out their stars for handfuls of prospects, something the Red Sox have plenty of.

Cole Hamels is another name on the market. The Phillies veteran has been the staff ace—or close to it—for the past seven plus years, and it seems like his tenure in the city of brotherly love will be coming to an end soon. Are the Red Sox a fit? Yes. Will the price be high? Probably. But not as high as the price to be paid with another last place finish, something that this ball club is on their way to achieving again.

The key to these moves, whether it’s Kazmir, Hamels or another name, is to make them happen as soon as possible. Waiting until the trade deadline will put the Red Sox in too deep of a hole to climb out of. And after last year, that’s a great way to lose your job, Mr. Farrell and Mr. Cherington.