For the second time in three years Ben Cherington has hit the reset button. In the midst of watching his team stumble into August with a last-place record, the Boston Red Sox general manager engineered a series of moves that jump-started the rebuilding process.

It came as no surprise that the Sox decided to trade off veterans nearing free agency. The surprising part of the trade deadline was what the Sox got back. Rather than loading up on more prospects, Cherington made moves that brought back major league-ready talent.

By the time the Sox took the field for the weekend series against the New York Yankees, the roster had been turned completely upside down. A low-scoring team that hoped for great pitching every night suddenly had a handful of power hitters in the middle of the lineup.

And a rotation that featured plenty of question marks. That was pretty clear by the time the team boarded the plane for St. Louis in the wee hours of Monday morning. The Sox had scored 15 runs in the first three games since the trade – an improvement of more than a run per game over their season average – yet had lost 2 of 3 to New York because of inadequate starting pitching.

Cherington believes he can remedy that situation in the months to come. He analyzed the marketplace and decided it would be easier to add pitching than hitting this offseason. Gone are the days when every team had three or four guys capable of hitting 20 home runs. The testing era has replaced the steroid era and power is hard to find.

That’s why Cherington was excited to get a pair of right-handed power hitters in Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig.

Cespedes, winner of the last two home-run derbies at the All-Star game, has 17 homers this season. That’s more than the Sox had gotten from all of their outfielders heading into the trade deadline.

Craig, having a down season with seven homers with the Cardinals, leads the majors with a .427 batting average with runners in scoring position over the last two years.

They ares expected to help bring excitement back to Fenway this season – and more importantly, in 2015. Will Middlebrooks, back from Pawtucket and finally healthy, is expected to do the same.

Meantime, four-fifths of the starting rotation is gone. Clay Buchholz is the only starting pitcher on the opening-day roster still wearing a Sox uniform. And the jury is definitely out on whether he’s ready to become the leader of a staff.

So what are we to make of this? Haven’t we always been told pitching and defense wins championships? Why would Cherington shift to a more offensive style?

Because he thought it was the best route back to being competitive.

One Sox official told me every deal made Thursday was “with the goal of being competitive in April of 2015.” The team wanted no part of a multiyear rebuilding project. It wanted to be better now and be among the best teams in baseball next spring.

The Sox will need to add pitching if they want to accomplish that. Give Cherington credit for being bold. He did it with one massive trade in 2012. This time he pulled off a series of deals.

That 2012 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers paved the way for a championship just a year later.

It’s far too early to tell if this organizational reset will have a similar effect.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.