It's starting to look like the Red Sox are going to be neither buyers nor sellers at the deadline, but simply...observers.
The latest news from Buster Olney, appearing on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show, Olney suggested that the Red Sox will do their due diligence, but most likely will just be bystanders while the rest of the league makes their moves:
"I'm sure they're making their calls and seeing what the value with some of these deals are," Olney said. "As long as they're in the no-man's land they're going to sit and stay pat."
Olney's statement certainly seems to jive with everything else we've heard about the Red Sox of late.
Let's go down the list here:
Anibal Sanchez -- Gone to Detroit
Hanley Ramirez -- Gone to Los Angeles, with Boston's only real interest coming asa middle man. Olney goes on to say that the proposed Crawford deal (likely in the reported form of Crawford + Prospect for Hanley + Bell, assuming Olney is not using "literally" literally) was discussed for about 15 seconds.
Matt Garza -- Per Olney, "not really an option at this point."
Cole Hamels -- Locked up long-term in Philly.
Zack Greinke -- Quoth Nick Cafardo: "Been pretty much told Greinke will not be a Red Sox target."
That leaves Josh Johnson, who Olney says doesn't make any sense for the Sox, given that they're not one pitcher away right now and could just wait till the offseason to find a pitcher, likely at a lower price.
That's not actually a real statement of non-interest, however. If the Sox are going to make a serious splash, Johnson--who they've been linked to perhaps more firmly than anyone else--seems the most likely target. That might not be a good thing, of course, given Johnson's likely exorbitant price tag given the return on rental Anibal Sanchez.
Perhaps this makes the most sense for the team as a whole. While usually teams are in one of two modes, if there's any team that's going to walk the line, it's the Red Sox--contenders one moment, pretenders the next, over and under .500, switching every week. The only players the Red Sox are likely to get returns on--Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Cody Ross--are difficult to trade for any number of reasons, and if the team isn't good enough to warrant any investment in the form of prospects, it can perhaps be said that the talent has always been there to compete if by some miracle everyone started playing up to their potential.
At the very least it seems we've some small sign that the Sox won't engage in foolish panic buying that hurts the team long-term. Hopefully there's more of those to come.