The Red Sox are apparently looking to do the impossible and trade some "immovable" assets according to Nick Cafardo. And while Cafardo can only speculate that this means Pablo Sandoval, it seems a safe bet to assume that the Red Sox are trying to push not only their third baseman, but starting pitcher Rick Porcello as well.
It's hard to hear about this and not think back to 2012, when Ben Cherington, in his first year as Boston's general manager, unloaded the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett on the Dodgers, actually managing to get something in return for his trouble.
At the moment, the best analogue for Gonzalez--whose value carried that trade despite his massive contract--is Hanley Ramirez. The fit isn't perfect, but it's there. Hanley hasn't hit the way he was expected to, but Adrian Gonzalez was in a down year as well back in 2012, and his contract is a lot less dangerous than Gonzalez' was at the time, especially relative to those handed out on the open market these days.
Of course, there's every possibility that Ramirez would not even end up involved in a deal that saw the Red Sox relieve themselves of Sandoval or Porcello. While 2012 provides us the framework for what such a deal might look like, it's also possible that the Sox go an entirely different route. They could seek to trade questionable contract for questionable contract in hopes that a change of scenery works for both sides. They could make Sandoval or Porcello's contracts some amount of value added on their side in a situation where they are somehow sellers, or could even buy salary relief by shipping some amount of talent out with them.
One possibility is that this is somehow connected to the Padres - Cubs - Red Sox deal that's been rumored today. The Padres are in need of a third baseman, and pursued Sandoval during the offseason. Meanwhile, they've got Jedd Gyorko on their roster doing very little and taking up a decent chunk of change himself. The Red Sox could accept the lost cause at a lower price in Gyorko while the Padres accept the increased risk of Sandoval in the hopes of turning him back into the player they wanted in the offseason.
It's all extremely unlikely, of course. The fact that Ben Cherington worked his miracles once does not mean he can work them again. And really, it's a pretty bad look for this front office to be trying desperately to undo their big offseason moves just months after making them. But if you'd kind of hope they'd have more faith in their own decision making than that, at the same who among us wouldn't slam the undo button given the opportunity?
We'll see. If it seems impossible, the Red Sox do have the ability to make something like this happen. They could be free of Sandoval and Porcello tomorrow if they were willing to give up a whole bunch to go with them. It's just a matter of whether there's someone out there interested enough to make the salary relief worth the price.
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Update 2:26 pm: Not to get your hopes up too much, but...