BOSTON -- For the past week, John Farrell must be feeling like he's overseeing a sinking ship.
On the field, the Red Sox have lost seven of their last eight and fallen a full dozen games back in the American League East standings, ending whatever slim playoff hopes they had.
In the clubhouse, meanwhile, a half-dozen -- or more -- players await word on their status and where they might be headed.
Morale is low and two months in the season remain. And all Farrell can is attempt to steer his club through a rough week and hope to come out the other side.
"That's why we've taken the steps to meet with individual players,'' said Farell Wednesday. "To outline as best we can, moves that might be made with the intent that [we build ourselves back into] the best team we can be, as quick as possible. We spend some much time together, in a way, it's a second family. And anytime you remove someone from that family, there's going to be a little bit of shock value to it.
"What we have to do is take a step back from all of this and know that there's decisions that are part of the business side of the game and have faith in the fact that [general manager Ben Cherington] has got a clear-cut plan to get us back to [being] a team that will contend. And if there are some decisions along the way that might not be popular, that was my reference to it.''
But no matter who is traded or who remains after Thursday's deadline, the Sox are optimistic that 2015 will see the team in contention.
“We find ourselves in a unique situation — at the trading deadline with a pending free agent (Jon Lester) and an extremely talented guy,” said Farrell. “That’s where our faith in Ben and the plan that’s in place is steadfast.
"We have every intention to compete and contend next year. The question mark remains: Who are the players that come back for individual players that we have now? We don’t know that yet. But I would hope that the team that is built for 2015 isn’t just based on those who are brought back in trade by tomorrow at 4:00. This is an ongoing process that we continue to build.”
That said, there's no getting around the disappointment of the last week-and-a-half, a period that has seen the Sox tumble out of the race.
"We can out of the All-Star break with some momentum,'' said Farrell. "That continued through the first four games as we resumed play -- and it stalled. I think that's where my frustration might originate from. The trading deadline is going to be here every year and we're hopeful that in years to come, we're in a mode of adding and [are] not in this position.''
Farrell said he hoped the team's 1-7 record since beating Toronto 14-1 on July 21 was not the result of being distracted by trade talk.
"I would hope [that impact] would be minimal,'' said Farrell, "because the feeling in the clubhouse, after the first game in Toronto, was clearly on the upswing. Not that you look at a stretch of seven games with any added significance or pressure, but we felt like we were making headway in the right direction. And for different reasons, that stalled.''