This analogy isn't perfect, but it's a useful illustration: This Sox team is roughly where the 87/88 Sox are.
Sale is McDowell. Beckham may finally be developing into a solid infield leader and hitter like Ventura. Reed is Thigpen. Carlos Sanchez, down on the farm, could be another young all-glove, zero power shortstop like Ozzie. Quintana and Santiago could be like Greg Hibbard and Eric King. Nate Jones could be Scott Radinsky.
Rios, Crain and Alexei might together net us in quantity the equivalent of what we got in quality for Harold Baines. Perhaps out of the prospects we acquire we nab a catcher or center fielder and a reliever who contribute next year. And we'll get salary relief from Paulie and Floyd's expiring contracts, which can be used to sign two stopgap outfielders and a catcher.
No, we haven't just drafted another Frank Thomas. But maybe we get a really solid hitter with our 2014 first round draft pick, and, after a lousy 2014, we draft the next Alex Fernandez in 2015.
By not trading away our young starting pitching, we could be rebounding by 2015 and competing by 2016.
The universe is the practical joke of the General at the expense of the Particular, quoth Frater Perdurabo, and laughed. The disciples nearest him wept, seeing the Universal Sorrow. Others laughed, seeing the Universal Joke. Others wept. Others laughed. Others wept because they couldn't see the Joke, and others laughed lest they should be thought not to see the Joke. But though FRATER laughed openly, he wept secretly; and really he neither laughed nor wept. Nor did he mean what he said.