Red Sox Acquire Ryan Cook from A’s

The Red Sox had a quiet trade deadline not dealing any of the veterans many of us expected them to. Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza were still in the lineup for Friday nights game with the Rays, while many Sox fans feel the Sox need to look elsewhere and give the younger players a shot.

The Sox did make one small move in acquiring A’s pitcher Ryan Cook. Cook, now 28, was the A’s former closer, who was an All-Star in 2012.Ryan Cook It is expected Cook will be activated tomorrow and supply some help in the Red Sox depleted bullpen. Cook was pitching in Triple-A Nashville, but did appear in 4 games with the A’s this season allowing 5 runs. He also was once traded for now teammate Craig Breslow, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cook had a 4.05 ERA in 30 appearances with the Nashville Sounds this season, so the Red Sox seem to be taking a flier on a player they expect to rebound while controlling him for two additional years. Cook does come cheap, as the Sox will either surrender a player to be named later or cash in the deal. Cook spent two stints on the disabled list last season but this year has been working to get his effectiveness back, as he sometimes has trouble find the plate.

Obviously the Red Sox did not seem to find a taker for any bad contracts they have signed in recent years and did not want to deal of of their prospects with many of the top prospects in the lower levels. The Red Sox bowed out of the Cole Hamels sweepstakes after Hamels had listed the Red Sox on his no trade list but I feel if they offered to pick up his option for 2020 he would likely have approved the deal. Tyson Ross’ name was tossed around Friday as well who were looking for a shortstop of the future but apparently Deven Marrero was not the shortstop they were looking for.

The Red Sox can still make moves until August 31 but the player needs to pass through waivers to be dealt. Mike Napoli and his salary would likely pass through waivers but the Pirates who were rumored to have interest in Napoli, acquired Michael Morse on Friday so they seem to have a right handed hitter to platoon as first.

Padres Demote Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A

The career of Will Middlebrooks has taken another sour turn with the Padres demoting the third baseman to Triple-A on Wednesday as he continues to struggle at the plate.

When the Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval last winter, Middlebrooks spot on the roster was immediately in question. Will MiddlebrooksMiddlebrooks was traded to the Padres for Ryan Hanigan just before Christmas, in one of the smaller moves the Padres made this past winter after adding Justin Upton, Wil Myers and James Shields. Middlebrooks was the Padres Opening Day third baseman.

After making his debut with the Red Sox in 2012 the Bobby V year, Middlebrooks has not been able to make a real consistent stay in the major leagues. He claimed the third base job from Kevin Youkilis that year and was on track to be the third baseman of the Red Sox for years to come. He got hit by a pitch on his wrist late that season which cost him the rest of the season. In 2013 he was up and down with the Red Sox and even started games in the playoffs until Xander Bogaerts took over at third base, while Stephen Drew was still on the team.

In 2014 Middlebrooks was demoted to Pawtucket once the Sox signed Drew for a second time and rejoined the team after the fire sale that saw the Red Sox trade Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew. Last season with the Red Sox Middlebrooks hit a Mike Napoliesque .191 with only 2 home runs and 19 RBI. Sox brass wanted Middlebrooks to play winter ball but he declined.

With another slow start this season hitting .212 with the Padres he was demoted to El Paso after already losing his third base job to Yangervis Solarte. Middlebrooks had so much potential with the Red Sox. He had 15 home runs in his first 287 at bats in the big leagues and even hit for a decent average hitting .288. Many question the moves of Ben Cherington this past off-season but it seems the Red Sox got the better end of this deal.

Ryan Hanigan may not have been a flashy name but he is a major league catcher and the Red Sox would have forced Blake Swihart’s development even further after the injury to Christian Vasquez, something they may have done with Middlebrooks.

Why is Mike Napoli Still Playing?

As Red Sox fans try and grapple with the fact that the team did not score a run in 8 calendar days, many have to begin to question the moves the team has made and the lineup card that John Farrell continues to roll with on a regular basis.

The 2015 Red Sox are a prime example of the need for youth on your roster. Although Mike Napolithey have some future stars in Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have had trouble developing prospects at certain positions, the main one being first base.

Mike Napoli continues to get at bats as the team hopes some team will see something before the trade deadline so the Red Sox can sell high on him. Although he had two hits in the second game of Monday’s double header, Napoli was still pinch hit for by Brock Holt late in the game. Napoli had recently sat out a week while the Red Sox went as far as putting David Ortiz at first base and Hanley Ramirez served as the DH.

Napoli is in the second year of a two year deal that pays him $16 million, there is no question he will not be in a Red Sox uniform come 2016, so why are they continuing to throw him out there? Dustin Pedroia is back from the disabled list so, Brock Holt could play first base. Holt did start Saturday night at first with Napoli getting the starts in the other three games of the Angels series. Holt does not profile as a first baseman for the long haul though with limited power.

The Red Sox have two players who are under performing defensively and could make the move to first base—Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Sandoval, a catcher coming up, could make the move to first more easily than Ramirez in my opinion as the move to left did not work out with Ramirez. He continues to look worse, with a ball sailing over his head in Monday’s afternoon game, after he froze on the ball off the bat. If this is David Ortiz’s last year, I want Hanley as my DH and Pablo at first and find a third baseman. The Sox could even play Travis Shaw at first for the rest of the year to see what they have in Shaw as he has seemed to have proven himself in the minor leagues.

Mike Napoli’s days with the Red Sox could be numbered but with them being in last place and likely sellers at the deadline will anyone take him? Napoli is hitting .197 on the year with 83 strikeouts in 83 games played. A player who was a hero for the 2013 World Series team and a man of the people on the streets of Boston, just no longer is producing at a high level, worthy of a spot in the Sox order, but when will John Farrell and Ben Cherington finally pull the plug?

Red Sox Rotation for Angels Series

The Red Sox, after a four day layoff, head to the west coast to faces the Angels this weekend for a four game series that carries over to Monday. As the Red Sox prepare for this series, John Farrell set his rotation for the first three games out in the City of Angels.

Wade Miley, who closed out the first half, will open the second half—pitching on regular rest. Rick Porcello will get the start Saturday night while Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound on Sunday. Red Sox RotationNo starter has been announced for Monday as of yet, but likely Brian Johnson will be making his major league debut or Justin Masterson will take the ball again.

The time is now for the Red Sox to make a statement. After a series with the Angels the Sox will travel to Houston for three games before returning home. The Sox took 2 of 3 from Houston just last weekend. The Sox sit at 42-47; not exactly where they should be after the off-season they had. Being 5 games under .500 does have them in last place, but they are only 6.5 games behind the first place Yankees.

The trade deadline is only two weeks away and label of buyer or seller is something the Red Sox have embraced. Clay Buchholz’ injury hurts the Red Sox in the present and the future—he could help them keep winning or help them get some good pieces back at the trade deadline. The extent of his injury is unknown as is how long he will be out for, but the Red Sox rotation likely will not stack up without Buchholz entering it again sometime soon.

Rick Porcello needs to continue to keep the ball down. Ryan Hanigan will likely catch Porcello for the rest of the season as they try to replicate his most recent start where he gave up two runs and lowered his ERA to a still high 5.90. The time is now for Porcello to make a statement that he can be the pitcher the Red Sox acquired to help anchor the top of the rotation.

Daniel Nava Begins Rehab Assignment with PawSox

The PawSox got yet another player added to their roster for a rehab assignment this week as Daniel Nava was sent to Pawtucket to play starting on Thursday night. Nava was really lost in the shuffle with the Red Sox roster early on in the year and only collected 73 plate appearances, and has been on the disabled list since May 26 with a thumb bruise.

Nava had a great year in 2013 platooning in left field with Jonny Gomes but struggled last Daniel Navaseason even being optioned to Pawtucket in early May. Nava eventually made his way back to the major league roster but became more of a bench player. The versatility Nava serves is something that does not go unnoticed by Red Sox brass as he plays left and right field well and mixes in first base. Playing the left field wall as many have realized this year with Hanley Ramirez out there is not something that can be taken for granted.

The roster crunch will continue as Shane Victorino just finished up a rehab stint and is expected to be activated this weekend. Ryan Haniagan was activated in time for Thursday night’s blowout against the Blue Jays likely meaning a catcher will lose their roster spot. Which makes me you think, will Nava even have a roster spot when his rehab stint is over?

The chances are likely no but an injury could always occur and have Nava taken advantage of an unfortunate circumstance for someone else. Hanley Ramirez does not look like he will be going on the disabled list soon after a week off with a bruised wrist from a line drive. Shane Victorino hasn’t been healthy for much of his time with the Red Sox, so he might not be on the roster for long. Alejandro De Aza is someone who needs to stay on the Red Sox team as he looks to have provided some sort of spark for the team even if he is just a fourth outfielder on a good team he is a veteran.

Much has been made of Mike Napoli’s struggles this year and John Farrell has said they will stick with him as he has been dropped to as low as 8th in the lineup on some occasions. Nava could take advantage of some playing time if he can get it with Napoli continuing to hit under .200 and striking out a prolific rate as he continues to think the umpires are out to get him with the strike zone.

Daniel Nava began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Thursday night, but a spot on the Red Sox roster when he is ready to be activated might be his for the taking.

Brian Johnson Named an International League All-Star

While the Pawtucket Red Sox roster continues to get purged while the Red Sox look for answers with their major league club, sending the Route-95 shuttle bus back and forth, PawSox pitcher Brian Johnson received some good news on Thursday as he was named to the International League All-Star team. The AAA All-Star Game is July 15 in Omaha home of the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League.

Johnson has enjoyed a great season with the PawSox with a record of 8-5 in 15 starts. Brian JohnsonJohnson is tied for the league lead in wins and is 5th in ERA at 2.68. If it wasn’t for Eduardo Rodriguez it is likely Brian Johnson would be up with the big league club right now. Johnson another lefty, who mixes all of his pitches well without overpowering stuff, will likely see a look in the second half of the season.

With Joe Kelly now his PawSox teammate Johnson will likely see a look if Rick Porcello continues to struggle or if Justin Masterson has a repeat of his early season struggles. Johnson, will be 25 in December so he is entering the prime of his career where many players like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are already in the big leagues at 22.

Johnson, came out of his most recent start with the PawSox after five pitches issuing a walk. There was cause for concern but it is believed he had an illness that caused him to be taken out of the game. The PawSox list Zeke Spruill as Thursday’s starting pitcher with no pitcher listed for Friday nights game which could be Johnson if he is deemed ready to pitch. An injury would really be unfortunate for Johnson, as this year he has taken control and passed Henry Owens on the depth chart to get a look with the big league club.

John Farrell has taken notice of Johnson but said nothing has changed as of yet with his rotation. Ben Cherington was in town the last time Johnson pitched so take that as you will.

One other notable named to the International League All-Star team is former PawSox pitcher Michael Bowden who is with the Norfolk Tides, (Orioles AAA) who never really got to make a name for himself with the Red Sox a few years back out of their bullpen.