BUY? SELL?

The MLB trade deadline is next Wednesday and your enigmatic 2018 World Series champions have decisions to make.

While some are saying certain contract situations could lead to some key parts being moved, the likely scenario is that the Red Sox will add.

In short, they’re simply too close to give up on the season.

On Thursday night at Fenway Park, Boston played the first of eight games out of the next 10 with the Yankees. As play began, they were miles from first place in the AL East. But they were just two games out of the second wild card, a picture that could get even more crowded as the Twins had seen their Central lead dwindle to two games after a three-game softball series against the Yanks.

Sell? Mookie Betts? J.D. Martinez? Jackie Bradley Jr.? Don’t count on it. Any of it.

As Hall of Famer Peter Gammons pointed out in a tweet quoting an anonymous National League GM, “The Red Sox are not selling. Fans may not love this team, but they’re not buying giving up when they’re a couple of games out of the wild card spots.”

In other words … BUY!!!

There are relievers out there. There are starters out there. Someone even suggested getting Todd Frazier from the Mets would add a righty bat. But looking at it from the outside, I have to think there’s an arm — or two — on the way.

Two things, of course, standing in the Red Sox’ way, are that dreaded luxury tax — and the lack of a deep list of prospects to offer.

Dave Dombrowski, the most unpopular general manager in the history of the game for someone whose team is a defending champion, is on the spot. We don’t think his job is on the line, but his popularity sure is waving in the air.

The fans, and perhaps more importantly the players, will be left stunned if a move or two is not made by the trade deadline. Both want to see their team bolstered by the GM.

However, as Alex Cora said Monday: “The front office has a job to do. Obviously our goals are set to win the World Series. If it doesn’t look that way and they decide to go somewhere else and take another approach, you’ve got to respect that.”

Those DEVIL Rays

One night, Kevin Cash, the father of the opener (a reliever opening a game), raised eyebrows by bringing a position player to pitch while down only five runs. The next day, the innovative manager made heads explode by leading the Red Sox into a protest while having lefty Adam Kolarek face a lefty batter, move to first base for a batter (with righty Chaz Roe pitching) and then return to the mound.

It’s not that this hasn’t been done before. But this time it involved what happens to the DH. The Red Sox didn’t like the fact the Rays did not lose the DH.

“There’s a lot there,” Cora said. “They brought in the lefty for Charlie (Morton) and then they brought in Roe for (Ji-Man) Choi. They kept the DH at that moment. So they had a pitcher, a first baseman, they had a pitcher on the mound and they still had a DH. It’s kind of hard to explain.”

In short, it’s complicated. Shorter, only one protest in the last 33 years has been upheld, so don’t count on it.

The bottom line is the Red Sox missed a chance to sweep a three-game series.

Marco Hernandez got a raw deal. Completing a comeback from two years out, the infielder was the odd man out because the Red Sox wanted to keep righty batters for depth. Sometimes things work out that way. Ask the Yankees’ Clint Frazier, who hit 11 homers and batted .283 in 191 at-bats for the Yankees this season and is still in Triple-A.

Said Cora: “We didn’t want to be too left-handed heavy roster-wise. It’s a tough one because he’s playing well but at the same time, we need him to keep playing. He did everything that he was supposed to do. It’s just a baseball decision. Roster-wise, it makes sense to keep Michael (Chavis) and Sam (Travis) and have balance the way we’re going to manage it.”

Betts, to MassLive, on reports he doesn’t want to remain in Boston: “It’s completely wrong,” Betts told MassLive.com. “I’ve loved it here. I love the front office, my teammates, coaches. Everybody. It’s been nothing but amazing here. Just because you go to free agency doesn’t mean you don’t want to be somewhere. It’s just a part of the business.”

Pats are back

Summer is winding down and that means it’s time for football. “Day one. Hopefully we can get off to a good start,” head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday. “We have a long way to go — take it one step at a time. We’ll see if we can have a good day today.”

Ahhh, those comments have been missed.

My favorite answer? Asked what kind of role he expects from WR Braxton Berrios, Belichick said, “Whatever he earns.”

Asked if he likes training camp (does any player?), Devin McCourty said, “No, no one likes training camp. But, it gives us a chance to be a good football team. I think you understand, especially as you get older, not everything that’s really rewarding and that you’ll like in the end is always fun. I always think of training camp like that, but there’s days out there that are really fun.” He mentioned joint practices against other teams as a fun part of camp.

The annual list of NFL merchandise rankings are out and that old man in Foxborough’s merchandise is No. 1 for the second straight year.

Your top 10: 1. Tom Brady; 2. Dak Prescott; 3. Carson Wentz; 4. Ezekiel Elliott; 5. Patrick Mahomes; 6. Saquon Barkley; 7. Aaron Rodgers; Deshaun Watson; 9. Khalil Mack; 10. Drew Brees.

Here and there

Didi Gregorius on the Yankees coming to Boston after the team scored 32 runs while going 2-1 in Minneapolis: “Every time you get a chance to play them, you get a chance to bury them. That’s all you want to do, keep expanding the lead.” …

From Patriots.com: “Patriots Foundation needs your help to fill 15,000 back-to-school backpacks for military children. Collection boxes will be available at all gates at Training Camp.” …

The Dallas Cowboys, at $5 billion, top the list of the Forbes’ most valuable sports team. The Yankees are second at 4.6. The Patriots are the top Boston team, coming in seventh at $3.8 billion. John Henry/Tom Werner have two teams in the top 50: the Red Sox ($3.2 billion) are tied for 12th and Liverpool ($2.18) is 45th. The Celtics ($2.8) are tied for 22nd. …

Finally, Tedy Bruschi talked about his second stroke — and how quick recognition, after feeling numbness in his left hand, saved him from something more serious. “Recovery has gone well,” Bruschi said on ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s podcast. “The amount of support that I’ve received from so many people — my New England Patriot family, my ESPN family, all of my friends and loved ones — it’s been tremendous.”

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Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.