I've seen a lot lately that OTM members do not want to trade certain members of the Red Sox because GM Ben Cherington would be "selling low" on that specific player. I would like to take a moment to address that mentality by talking about the difference between "selling low" and "jumping ship."
Both "selling low" and "jumping ship" are terms used (in the context of trading a player) when you are giving up a player when his value is low relative to what it is expected to be. The difference lies in the expectation of future performance. People who claim that trading a certain player is "selling low" expect that player to perform well in the future, increasing their value as a player. "Jumping ship" is when a player is traded with low value and there is no expectation that the player in question will perform well on your team again. Some examples are provided below:
We sold low on Josh Reddick. Reddick was a prospect with a lot of question marks surrounding his ability to play on a regular basis. However, he had also shown flashes of brilliance at the major league level. Nobody expected his current breakout campaign, but a 3-4 win player was not an unreasonable expectation.
We jumped ship from Kevin Youkilis. Forced into a part time role by Will Middlebrooks, Youkilis had all but lost the ability to hit as he was distracted by his unstable playing time. A man without a position, there was little to no expectation that he would return to the Youkilis of old in Boston.
We sold low on Jed Lowrie. Lowrie has admittedly been hurt again, but he had lost almost all of the last two years to injuries. Finally healthy, there was reason to believe he could have brought some value back. Despite selling low, Cherington managed to bring a good return back.
We jumped ship from Manny Ramirez. After being told to act up a bit by his agent, Manny's value as a player in Boston plummeted as he endeavored to make sure that Boston would not pick up his options after the season. It soon became obvious that Boston made the right decision, as Manny's drug problems came to light soon after.
I hope that this article has been helpful, and I hope that the next time someone suggests that an underperforming player be traded, you stop and think "are we selling low or jumping ship" before responding.