Reports: Red Sox Acquire Fernando Abad

With the non-waiver trade deadline closing in, the Red Sox have acquired left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, according to multiple reports. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports broke the news on Twitter, with several others confirming the deal between Boston and Minnesota.

Who is Fernando Abad?

Fernando Abad

Abad is a 30-year old hurler with considerable experience at the Major League level. He debuted with the Astros in 2010, and also spent time with Washington and Oakland. Abad then joined the Twins on a minor league deal prior to 2016.

This year, Abad has appeared in 39 games and produced a 2.65 ERA. However, left-handed batters are hitting just .163 against him this season, which makes him a valuable asset if used correctly.

What Was the Price Tag?

According to reports, the Red Sox sent Pat Light to Minnesota in the deal. Light struggled in minimal Major League duty this year, so the initial price is fairly reasonable. However, MLB.com does rank him as Boston’s 14th-best prospect, so there could be some longer term ramifications.

The new addition will help fortify an improving bullpen, which is a pivotal ingredient in the postseason. Boston recently added Brad Ziegler, but reinforcements were still needed when Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara landed on the disabled list. Ideally, those guys will give manager John Farrell plenty of options to mix and match down the stretch.

Elsewhere, Dave Dombrowski is working on other possible additions before the deadline at 4pm ET. Several industry whispers have the Red Sox trying hard to acquire Chris Sale from the White Sox, although little time remains for a deal to be concluded. The Dodgers have just finished a blockbuster for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick of Oakland, so there may be an opportunity for the Red Sox to pounce in a chaotic market for starting pitching.

Stick with Yawkey Way Report for regular updates throughout the day.

Should Red Sox Shop for a Replacement for David Ortiz?

Should the Red Sox shop for a replacement for David Ortiz? While many are looking at Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to take over for Ortiz when he retires, I’m starting to wonder if it would be a good idea to look outside the Red Sox organization for new replacement for David Ortizblood and snatch someone from another team.

Now, before anyone slams me for saying this, keep in mind that Ortiz himself wasn’t home-grown. Ortiz came over from in 2003 after a few years of inconsistent hitting with the Minnesota Twins. In fact, it was Pedro Martinez who pushed Theo Epstein to sign Ortiz, who later helped the Red Sox win their first World Series in eighty-six years. There’s a few reasons why looking elsewhere for a replacement would be a great idea.

First, veterans on the team like Dustin Pedrioa, Clay Bucholtz, and even Ortiz himself could  make suggestions to Dave Dombrowski, just like Martinez did for Epstein. They’ve been around the game for many years and definitely know good talent when they see it. While there’s more than plenty of talent in the organization already, especially in Pawtucket (I’m looking at you Josh Rutledge and Henry Owens!), the Red Sox need a leader. They need a younger but seasoned player who can join the team sooner than later before Ortiz leaves. By then, this new leader will be able to take the reigns from Ortiz more smoothly.

Let’s look at Baltimore’s Manny Machado. He’s young, hit 35 home runs last season, and has a solid batting average. He’d mesh well with the younger players like Travis Shaw and Mookie Betts. Then there’s Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas, another young player who helped lead the Royals to the World Series last year with 22 home runs. The Red Sox could use that kind of experience on the team. These two guys are young enough that they’ll be around for years to come and with experience, can lead the Red Sox to another post-season appearance.

Could Replacement for David Ortiz Come From The National League?

If the Red Sox shop for someone outside of the American League they might find strong talent in the Mets organization. Travis Taijeron, who has yet to play a major league game, has already been named a top rookie in the Mets camp, and hit 27 home runs last season in the minors. He hasn’t made it to the majors yet, but the alternative hitting perspective he’d bring to the Red Sox would benefit other hitters who could look to him to see how his hitting improved with other teams. In other words, he could provide an alternative perspective.

Whoever it is that takes Ortiz’s place in the lineup, whether it’s someone already with the Red Sox, or someone from another team,  it’ll most likely surprise those in the Red Sox Nation. Few thought Ortiz would be a major benefit for the Red Sox when he signed with them in 2003, so it’s possible that his successor might follow a similar path. So who knows who it’ll be? Maybe he’s already on the team, or with another team, just waiting for the right time and place to take his rightful place in the lineup.

Xander Bogaerts has finally arrived

Xander Bogaerts burst on to the scene in 2013, showing incredible poise in the big leagues during the Red Sox run to the championship that year. He set his bar too high during that run, as a matter of fact, as he followed it up with a disappointing 2014 season in which he finished with a .240 average, 12 home runs and 138 strikeouts, per ESPN. So, what was different last year? The Red Sox brought in one Stephen Drew to play shortstop, because Xander was struggling defensively at the time. He made 10 errors in 44 games before Drew came in, according to ESPN.

That move was not good for his confidence, to say the least, as he struggled the rest of Xander Boagertsthe way. He couldn’t break out of a months-long slump, and his defense was still bad, as he made 10 errors at 3rd in 99 games in 2014. That’s changing, it would seem, though, as Xander seems to be in a more comfortable place. He’s hitting .291 right now, and he’s capable of drilling the ball. One of the highlights of Tuesday’s 1-0 win was Xander Bogaerts smacking a double off the center field wall in the 7th. He would then come around to score on Rusney Castillo’s RBI single later in the inning.

And it’s not just getting it done with his bat. He’s getting it done with his glove, as well. He’s made 3 more plays than the average shortstop, which ranks 9th among active shortstops according to the Globe. He’s certainly progressed from last year, and it seems that he’s back on track after struggling so much last season. This kid is still 22, and while he’s not a superstar yet, I think he’s finally in a comfortable position. He showed us flashes of what he had in 2013, but he has a chance this season to really tap into his full potential. There’s no impending Stephen Drew signing this year to hurt his confidence, so this is his year to really make the shortstop position his. Hopefully, he can keep this up.

Clay Buchholz Passed the Eye Test

I’ve seen Clay Buchholz pitch twice in person now. Once was back on May 21st against the Texas Rangers, when he threw 7.1 innings, struck out 4 and gave up 3 runs in a loss. A valiant effort, but a loss nonetheless. The Red Sox offense did nothing to pick him up that night, so Clay Buchholz couldn’t be blamed for everything on that particular night, as he did everything possible to keep the team in the game.

The 2nd time was last night, and it was a gem. His performance a couple of weeks ago Clay Buchholz was nothing like last night, though, when he shut down the Twins, scattering 3 hits over 8 innings and striking out 8 batters, while only walking 2.

Clay Buchholz was nothing short of perfect last night, and he needed to be, since the offense couldn’t do much of anything last night. That is, until Rusney Castillo drove in the lone run in the 7th last night with an RBI single. That was enough for Clay, as he didn’t need the extra help, at least on offense.

The only scare came in the 8th inning when Aaron Hicks drilled a ball to the right field wall, which Castillo made the play on thankfully. Other than that, the Twins never really looked like a threat offensively. They couldn’t put anything together, and that was thanks to Clay Buchholz’s brilliance on the mound.

The only thing stopping Clay from completing the shutout was that he wasn’t 100%, apparently. At least, that’s what Clay himself told the media after the game. Per the Boston Globe:

“Definitely didn’t feel 100 percent, but it wasn’t a reason for me to skip a start,” Buchholz said. “I told them I’d go out there, give them what I got, and fortunately I was able to give them eight innings. If it was any other day and I felt good and that’s how the game was going, I wouldn’t have let him take me out of the game. I was gassed. I’d rather give Koji a clean inning to work with rather than pull me in an inning with a runner on second base.”

If that’s the case, it makes Clay’s performance more impressive. He’s shown on more than one occasion this season that he’s capable of these types of performances. He just needs to do it a little more consistently.

Mistakes Kill Red Sox Momentum

Yesterday’s loss was ugly enough to make even the most optimistic Red Sox fans, like me, cringe. The Red Sox blew a 4-run lead en route to an 8-4 loss.

But, is it really that surprising? No. This season has been like that for the Red Sox. They Red Soxseem to take 2 steps back every time they take one forward. They have been doing that all season, and it’s tough to watch. A few days ago, I pointed out on here that they could save their season by being more consistent, and I stand by that, but I wonder if that’s possible for this team. Like I said above, this has been a “1 step forward, 2 step back” type of season for the Red Sox, and it’s really tough to watch.

I want to believe the Red Sox can still turn this around, but after yesterday’s game, I find it hard to believe the Red Sox have it in them to play consistently enough to make a run at the division. There have been a few bright spots as of late, like Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia, but they have yet to put together a string of convincing performances as a team, and that’s what worries me at the moment.

Yesterday epitomized their season in many ways: They started well, with Steven Wright going 6 innings, giving up only 3 runs on a Torri Hunter home run. The offense gave Wright runs to work with, behind some sloppy Twins defense and 2 home runs, one each from Dustin Pedroia and Blake Swihart. But then it all unraveled because of bad fielding, and bad baserunning. Pablo Sandoval make 2 costly errors and Mike Napoli was thrown out attempting to score. It’s those kinds of mistakes that have kept the Red Sox from maintianing any consistency so far this season.

I would love to believe that the Red Sox can get hot, and maybe they still can, but it would take a gigantic effort from 1-25 to turn things around. And, with the way things have been going, I’m having a hard time believing it’s possible.

DraftServ = Self-Serve Beer. Yeah, That’s a Good Idea.

DrafyServ

The Minnesota Twins have become the first major league team to sell beer from a vending machine. The self-serve beer station debuted Sunday during the game against the New York Yankees. A second station is expected to be ready in time for the All-Star Game next week.

To buy a beer from the vending machine, buyers prove their age at a concession stand (presumably to a human being) and purchase a vending card. That card is used at the vending machine where buyers can tap up to 48 ounces every 15 minutes. The machine offers four beers: Bud, Bud Light, Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale.

These unique machines, called DraftServ, are a partnership between Anheuser-Busch and concessionaire Delaware North, the latter of which is owned by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who is a business partner of Red Sox owner John Henry (both teams co-own NESN.) The obvious question is this: when will DraftServ, or maybe even HardLiquorServ, make its’ debut at Fenway Park? The Twins are almost as bad as the Red Sox, so shouldn’t Sox fans at least have the right to go and pour their own Absolut or Crown Royal? At this point, maybe the team should think of installing Anti-DepressantServ?

“It’s a way to engage with the customer and allows the fan to have greater control of what they’re drinking,” Jerry Jacobs Jr., principal of concessions giant Delaware North, told ESPN.com. Translated, this means “It allows our partners to reduce payroll by cutting staff members and replacing them with machines that won’t have the slightest idea if anyone is totally plastered or not.”

This has all the makings of a disaster. Allegedly, each machine will have one human being monitoring customers to make sure they look of age and that they’re not hammered. Just like with other self-serve machines that inevitably have problems with confused customers, can you imagine the problems with confused and DRUNK customers?

Can you picture Tony from Boston, after downing 98 ounces within 35 minutes, trying to withdraw money from DraftServ thinking it’s an ATM? Or how about Kelly from Southie, getting agitated because she can’t rent “Lone Survivor” from DraftServ?

If this makes its’ way to Fenway, maybe watching the antics of the customers vs. machine will be more entertaining than the antics of the Red Sox vs. opponents.