The concept is simple (and familiar if you read Bill Simmons, who has done this for what seems like a million years for the NBA): Which player is worth the most if he were available via trade?
As you might imagine, it generally reveals the best values to be young, team-controlled players. Evan Longoria has been no. 1 since the Eisenhower administration, for instance.
This year Evan was dethroned by Angels wunderkind Mike Trout. But more important to Red Sox fans is the fact that just one Boston player appears on the list: Dustin Pedroia. Signed through 2015 for $36 million ranks Pedroia 34th, with Dave Cameron noting that Pedroia's injury history plus his increased abilities at Fenway result in him falling that low.
This is just one analysis, obviously, but it underlines what is wrong with the team fundamentally. Even the good players on the Sox (Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, namely) are being handsomely paid. The Sox are getting value out of some lesser parts (Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, for instance), but these aren't pieces you build around. And other than the chance the Clay Buchholz stays as dominant as he's been lately, and stays healthy, every pitcher is overpaid by some measure.
Those of you looking to move a bunch of prospects for a Wandy Rodriguez or Ryan Dempster type, remember this list when you start to make up trade proposals. This team needs some young, cheap talent, not more old, overpaid guys.
You can see the whole list here.