BOSTON - The Red Sox did this to themselves.
A horrifying road trip in which the team lost all but its first and last games, coupled with Mondays' embarrassing 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays, has everybody thinking about anything but the rest of this season in a positive light.
With the MLB Trade Deadline approaching on Thursday, the attention is turned to who won't be with the Sox in the coming days.
Jon Lester is the latest - and greatest - name on the list. John Lackey and his $500,000 salary next season is another one. Jonny Gomes has been in rumors, as has Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara - the list goes on.
Those players are very much aware of the rumors, as is manager John Farrell. He was asked about the Lackey rumors, but wouldn't specifically comment on them.
"The only thing I will say is we have a number of guys of interest to a number of team," Farrell said. "To comment specifically on an individual, I can't say to what level a team has interest to one player or pitcher."
So which players does Sox GM Ben Cherington refuse calls on? Well, that may be a trick question, according to Farrell
"I'm sure Ben will listen on anyone," Farrell said.
And so brings the biggest distraction of the season - trade rumors. It's hard enough to compete at the MLB level as it is. Now throw in the mental aspect of not knowing if you're going to be shipped out of town the next day.
"There's a lot of talk," Farrell said. "We're not unrealistic to see that players are hearing and seeing their name associated with a potential [trade]. So those are some common distractions that are associated with the trading deadline. And we do what we can to maintain an open line of communication. That's the here and the now.
"I will say this, that it is important that we all continue to focus as a team, this is us in uniform, the things that we established a year ago and the things that we continue to build. That can't be jeopardized and that can't be sacrificed with a so-called distraction taking away from the way we play. That's unacceptable in my mind."
So Lester, assuming he isn't traded by Wednesday, is supposed to suit up for the Sox - a team shopping him - and block all of that out while pitching a strong game? It seems a little unfair to expect that, but this is where we are right now. Farrell does his best to keep players like Lester in tune with the goings-on around them.
"We've talked to players individually on the current situation that's in front of us," Farrell said, "and I think that's just being professional with them to keep them abreast of what our plans are. And this goes beyond players that are potential free agents and those players that might be rumored in trades. This goes deeper to players that we know are going to be here and we'll continue to build with. That's just a professional courtesy and respect to them and respect to the process that we have."
Those conversations will be a little easier on Friday once the deadline has passed.