Dear Theo Epstein:
Realistically, the Red Sox aren't buried, but are they dead?
Even if the Sox had their full roster, that's not happening.
If the Sox don't beat Toronto the next two games, then Theo Epstein should think the unthinkable, sell 'em off. If you're not going to make a max effort to re-up Beltre (likely 4 by 60) and Martinez (maybe 4 by 10) and pay Papelbon 10 million (a total of 110 million), then maybe the Sox go into selling mode, in order to retool for 2011.
Among Beltre, Martinez, and Papelbon, you should be able to get useful if not premium pieces, as you're not selling off junk, realizing that what you're not trading is quality but not duration, as you don't have a lot of control.
The 2011 rebuild isn't as bad as it seems.
C - Saltalamacchia and wait for your prospects
1B - Adrian Gonzalez for Ellsbury, Casey Kelly, and another piece.
2B - Pedroia is healthy
3B - Youkilis slides to third base.
SS - Scutaro for another year, with prospects in the pipeline
LF - Kalish
CF - Cameron, while you wait
RF - Drew, last year of his contract
Extra - McDonald, earned a ticket back with a raise
Extra - Lowrie, with a chance to compete for the shortstop job
DH - ah, there's the rub...do you extend Ortiz
SP: Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, Lackey, Matsuzaka
RP: Rebuild: Bard, Atchison, Bowden, Doubront, Richardson...
The bullpen reclamation seems to be an annual issue, and the Papelbon question is a huge overhang, both structurally and financially. The trend is negative, although he's still a young guy. They could try to move Matsuzaka to the West coast, but are they going to get value for a guy who could win 15 games a year for a couple of years?
The free agent market is a bit thin, with the prime piece Albert Pujols, who isn't going anywhere. Carl Crawford would be an attractive acquisition, and the Sox should have a lot of money coming off the books (Lowell, Varitek, Wakefield, Beltre, Martinez, Hall). Obviously, if they're willing to part with Casey Kelly, then they'd be able to at least enter the Gonzalez sweeps.
Sox fans will miss the classy veterans Mike Lowell and Tim Wakefield, but realistically need to get younger and more athletic.
Developmentally, the Sox are waiting on Anthony Rizzo (1B) who has apparently moved ahead of Lars Anderson, the Navarro-Iglesias battle for shortstop, and it's hard to expect Anthony Ranaudo to be ready before late 2012 at the earliest. Do the Sox have any power-hitting outfielders coming through the system and what's their alternative?
I've done my own surveys, and Sox fans are ready to accept reality and move on. Can you?