When comes to trade deadline, should Red Sox consider personality with these players?

Rob Bradford
July 26, 2013 - 6:04 am
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Ten years ago, then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein walked into the office of then-assistant general managers Josh Byrnes and Jed Hoyer and informed the pair the Pirates were ready to make a deal. It was going to be Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez headed to Pittsburgh for Mike Gonzalez and Scott Sauerbeck. It was a trade the Sox were certainly happy to make, although Epstein also knew there was one potential fly in the ointment -- Lyon had established himself as an integral personality in the clubhouse. It was a reality that he told Byrnes and Hoyer that should be addressed, making it clear to the guys on that 2003 team why it was the right move to take out such a popular player from the equation. On the flip side, it became a necessity to alter the clubhouse dynamic in '08 due to the chaos circulating around Manny Ramirez, leading to the three-team deal sending the slugger to the Dodgers Lesson learned: When it comes to the non-waiver trade deadline, it's not always totally about talent. It is a reminder that seems relevant in these days leading up to July 31 due to this team's lot in life. Perhaps more than in previous years, the Red Sox have prioritized personalities and character when forming the roster, and results have been striking. So, with that approach in place, it's worth asking the question if Red Sox GM Ben Cherington will continue to put a substantial amount of weight into how each acquisition will fit in within this group. "I know before I signed here the club did a lot of background checks on me, which i was totally fine with because I'm OK with the person I am and I'm an open book on and off the field," said Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes. "I think Ben and crew did a great job of finding guys with their individual characteristics that will match together and not clash. "I think there are great players out there that might not work in this clubhouse. It doesn't say anything bad about them, because maybe they work in their clubhouse. But I think what we have going on in here is pretty unique. It's unique in the fact how fast it happened. It's not like this group of guys have been together for a few years. We're only a couple of months in." Make no mistake, a good player is a good player, and there are few potential acquisitions who would come close to upsetting this apple cart. As Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino said, "You can't change an individual." But it should also be noted that even the surliest of players are most likely going to be on their best behavior for what would be a two- or three-month stretch. When the Red Sox acquired pitcher Erik Bedard at the deadline in '11, he certainly wasn't thought of as the kind of take-no-prisoners, win-at-any-cost sort of athlete a team might want to ride through a pennant race. But, other than some uneven performances and reliability, the hurler fit in just fine. "I look at it this way, if you can upgrade the team, why not? But at the same time you don't want to get an individual that's not going to mesh. But in the game of baseball how many guys are going to come in and upset things? It's usually not going to happen," Victorino said. "I always viewed it as if you can better the team, I'm all for it. It's hard for one individual to come in and change a whole culture of a team." It's also no coincidence that some of the names connected with the Red Sox -- Jake Peavy, Michael Young -- are considered solid team guys. The interest starts with talent, but often times true momentum for any deal can be pushed along by the comfort of getting a guy that fits. And even if there are any sort of misgivings regarding a player's personality, there is a feeling (at least among the players) that it is a group that can police themselves. It's a notion that has already taken root in among the minor-leaguers summoned to help the Sox' cause. "It doesn't take too many games to figure out what's going on here, just seeing how we're around each other," Gomes said. "There's a lot more on the line when you're called up for this team. You have to produce, but more importantly if you're called up the most important thing is you can't screw up what's going on." "You still have to gel. You still have to play together," Victorino explained. "If you feel an acquisition is going to make your team better, of course I'm all for it. But I think what we have here, if we get everybody healthy, we'll be just fine."

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