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Bradford: The art of not regretting a trade

Rob Bradford
December 26, 2017 - 12:24 pm

Admit it, that feeling is starting to percolate inside you. Watching 49ers highlights, Isaiah Thomas "Players' Tribune" montages, or Michael Kopech workouts. Maybe, for some reason, you suddenly have the the urge to look up a definition.

Regret (/rəˈɡret/): feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).

It's only natural. And know that it's not just limited to the world of sports. For instance, this is advice given by a Web site specializing in the stock market when talking about the power and problems of regret:

"Regret, is another emotion that sometimes comes to pass but it needs to be avoided. Regret has very few positive intentions. All regret does is help to destroy your confidence and belittle your abilities. Furthermore, there really is no need to regret a trade. If you trade, you will always lose some of the time so it’s better to have a balanced approach. That way you can keep a level head and you won’t get affected by the odd bad trade."

Inspirational, right? 

In the stock market we might be able to stop right there. Not so much when it comes to living life as a Boston sports fan. The here-and-the-now emotions usually win out, and they will undoubtedly prevail at times in the coming months.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked like a potential superstar when playing for the Patriots, and now he has carved away that "potential" in proving himself in San Francisco. Thomas is on the verge of actually playing for the Cavaliers, showing off practice dunks, executing elaborate high-five exhibitions and, now, suggesting that he is in a better place after being mislead by the Celtics' medical staff. And while Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada may be a bit further off from supplying a heavy dose of uneasiness, the Red Sox' inability to possess minor-leaguers with their kind of cache has already detoured the offseason.

The Bruins are the one team that we can most likely watch throughout the next calendar year without thinking about the one that got away. Been there, done that. Thanks to the trade of Tyler Seguin, Boston got a healthy dose of practice when it comes to pushing away any regret.

In case you forgot, there was a healthy outcry from the Bruins side of things exclaiming that all those goals Seguin was scoring for Dallas didn't mean a thing. He was a bad influence in the locker room. (Remember the first "Behind the B's" episode, of the Bruins' brass pointing out Seguin's immaturity?) That skill-set wasn't made for the B's way of doing things. And (gulp) Boston actually got back fair value in Loui Erikkson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser. For a good two years, those arguments were dug in on. And by the time the debate was no longer a debate, few cared anymore.

Similar lists are going to needed in short order.

Start with why the team is better off without the player:

Garoppolo: Patriots already have the best quarterback in the NFL, and he will be that way for another few years.

Thomas: Kyrie Irving is a better all-around player, with the ability to score almost as much.

Kopech/Moncada: Chris Sale. Say no more.

Then there are the contracts:

Garoppolo: You couldn't commit that much money to a backup quarterback.

Thomas: He had one year left on his contract and is going to want a max deal. Irving has an extra year.

Kopech/Moncada: You were getting Sale for three years. 

And, finally, there might be these kind of whispers:

Garoppolo: He has only played in a couple of games. You can't bet your future on such uncertainty.

Thomas: He's not going to be the same player, is showing his true colors after the trade, and won't be able to co-exist with LeBron James.

Kopech/Moncada: The pitcher's 100 mph heat will be hit in the majors without a plus-off speed pitch, while the second baseman swings and misses way too much for a guy who already his his own logo.

The reality is that there is only one true way to fend off regret when it comes to these sort of things: Winning.

Jimmy G can go on and continue his domination. But as long as Brady and the Patriots keep doing their thing for, say, another two years, then it will be all good.

Thomas can have the time of his life in Cleveland, but if Kyrie does what he has done in previous postseason runs it won't matter. (Particularly when Irving is still in a Celtics' uniform in 2018-19 and the other guy has moved on.)

And even if Sale's time in Boston runs out after the 2019 season, right when Kopech and Moncada will have gotten their major league sea legs, that won't be an issue. Three years of one of the best pitchers in baseball is worth almost any price.

Whether it's the reality or not, if you win, the short-term perception will be you did the right thing. If you don't ...

Tyler Seguin already has 17 goals. Just a reminder.

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