One Week From The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline

We are officially one week away from the highly anticipated trade deadline. Will the Red Sox be buyers, or sellers? Who will stay, and who will go to another team? Those answers will hopefully come in the next week.

Unlike in years past, Major League Baseball has decided to have one and only one tradeHighly Anticipated Trade Deadline deadline. There’s no more waiver trades like there were in the past. What happens between now and July 31st for the Red Sox is very crucial, and determines their fate in the American League.

Right now, they took 2 out of 3 from the Rays in Tampa Bay, allowing them to be one game back of the Rays. However, do they have what it takes to continue the uphill battle? Will they add a new member to the bullpen, or to the line up? Only time will tell, and the clock is ticking away.

From the Rotation to the Bullpen

On July 13th, Dave Dombrowski’s journey to help the Red Sox’s pitching problems began. Dombrowski proceeded to trade for Baltimore Orioles starter, Andrew Cashner for cash, and two minor leaguers. This seemed like a good trade at the time, as Cashner has been a consistent starting pitcher for the Orioles, with a record of 9-3. Since then, Cashner hasn’t been living up to the hype so to speak. In two starts for Boston, Cashner is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA. He has pitched 11 innings, allowing 14 hits and 10 runs. Of those, 4 have been home runs.

With one piece to the puzzle solved so to speak, it’s hard not to look at the bullpen and their struggles this season. Again, with the highly anticipated trade deadline looming in the distance, the Red Sox have been linked to some names that could hopefully save them.

One player in particular is Kirby Yates. The current San Diego Padre has also pitched for the Yankees, Rays and LA Angels. Yates was named to his first All Star game this July, and has been an effective closer for the Padres. The 32 year old righty has a 1.05 ERA in 41 games this season.

Another player that has been linked to Boston is a member of the San Francisco Giants. No, it’s not Madison Bumgarner, it’s Will Smith. Again, not the actor, the relief pitcher. In 44 games for the Giants, he has a record of 3-0, with a 2.44 ERA. Smith has also pitched for the Kansas City Royals, and Milwaukee Brewers in his career. The 30 year old lefty would be a great fit for the Boston bullpen. Smith was also named to his first All Star game this season, and won the Willie Mac Award in 2018.

The Highly Anticipated Trade Deadline Awaits Boston

The main focus for Boston this upcoming deadline is pitching, mainly the bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Cashner, and Nathan Eovaldi coming off of the injured list, the Red Sox look prepared for the next few months of the season. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, can the lineup stay hot enough to keep the ball rolling to October? Can the rotation kick it up a notch to win games and keep the bullpen well rested? There are so many questions and such little time.

Unfortunately for Boston, one name that they were linked to, New York Mets starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler, is on the injured list until at least Friday. the 29 year old right hander is 6-6 on the season in 19 starts. Granted, his ERA is 4.69, but Wheeler is still a promising up and comer since making his debut in 2013.

Like most trades, many prospects can be moved. For Boston in this highly anticipated trade deadline, it’ll be interesting to see who gets traded from the farm, or from the big league club itself. I doubt Dombrowski would trade away the future, especially Tristan Casas or Bobby Dalbec. If the Red Sox can find some form of consistency, then next Wednesday’s deadline will be something to look forward to.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was A Mistake

Let’s just get down to it; the Drew Pomeranz deal has been a disaster so far. Since Pomeranz joined the club, his stats have done the talking. He has a 6-8 record with an Drew Pomeranz DealERA of 4.82 in 21 games pitched. In those 21 games (20 starts), he has given up 21 home runs and has walked 38 hitters. Pomeranz has been dealing with injuries ever since he showed up in Boston. In his last start he was pulled in the third inning with left-forearm tightness.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was Risky To Begin With

Whether Pomeranz is involved in a World Series run or not, the Sox still traded away a valuable prospect for him. Anderson Espinoza was ranked as a top 25 prospect by Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2017 season. He’s a guy whose fastball is already 94-97 mph. The Sox were desperate for starting pitching last year, which ultimately was the deciding factor in the deal. When news broke that San Diego GM AJ Preller disclosed information on Pomeranz’s health concerns, Boston was given opportunity to rescind the trade. They declined the offer, which may have been the worst decision so far. Dealing a valuable prospect in Espinoza was already risky. Doing it for an injured Pomeranz who still has not proved himself in the big leagues yet? That’s a real risk.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Still Has Time to Correct Itself

Drew Pomeranz is under contract for this season, and will be arbitration-eligible next year. In 2019, he will be a free-agent. If a trade were to be made, the Sox would still have an opportunity to benefit from making the Pomeranz deal in the first place. To this point, he has been one of the least reliable pitchers in the organization. Maybe he has been bothered by injury ever since he was traded here, but regardless, we need production. The Red Sox starting pitching has taken on too may injuries to allow Pomeranz to be this bad. Trying to pitch in Boston is tough for any pitcher, and it doesn’t always work out. This could just be one of those cases.

Red Sox Add Kimbrel, Send Signal of Intent

When the Red Sox traded for San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel last week, shock waves reverberated around the baseball world. Such a trade can be viewed as a defiant signal of intent, a confirmation of Boston’s rekindled commitment to acquiring elite talent.

Red Sox add kimbrel

In Kimbrel, the Red Sox added a genuine star. The bullpen ace will turn 28 in May, but has already amassed 225 saves in five full Major League seasons. Only thirty-eight pitchers have ever saved more games in baseball history, which is indicative of Kimbrel’s prodigious ability. Given his relative youth, Craig figures to have a legitimate shot at 500 saves, a plateau reached only by Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman thus far.

Of course, the Red Sox didn’t want to give up dazzling prospects such as Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen, but the opportunity to rebuild a woeful bullpen around one of the two best closers in the game was too good to pass up. Dave Dombrowski has often struggled to construct a strong relief corps, but Kimbrel gives him an enviable cornerstone.

Moreover, this trade was highly symbolic. From a philosophical perspective, it indicated that, after years of indifference and indecision, the Red Sox are ready to go all-in and recommit to investing heavily to win now, rather than just stockpiling assets for a tomorrow that may never arrive. Dombrowski is the ultimate win-now architect, and ownership has clearly granted him autonomy to reshape the Red Sox into a powerhouse.

So, what is his next move towards achieving that objective? As every baseball fan on the planet knows, the Red Sox need a bonafide ace, a bulldog to head the rotation. And, as Dombrowski indicated recently, that piece will likely be acquired via free agency. Accordingly, Boston figures to compete heavily in the market for David Price, who seems the perfect antidote to the franchise’s pitching problem. Alternatively, Zack Greinke may be a target, although his advancing age will test ownerships’ resolve, while Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann will also be worthy of consideration.

However, I think the Red Sox need two, not one, additional starters. At present, the perpetually inconsistent Clay Buchholz will start on Opening Day, while Wade Miley or Rick Porcello would likely pitch Game 4 of any potential playoff series. Quite frankly, that simply isn’t viable if the Sox hope to seriously compete for a world championship. Therefore, I expect Dombrowski to finally solve the ace problem before wading into the secondary market for a strong mid-rotation arm like Mike Leake, Doug Fister, Jeff Samardzija, or Mat Latos.

Hypothetically, a rotation of Price, Leake, Miley, Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez would instantly improve the Red Sox beyond measure, and go a long way to redressing the balance between offence and pitching that was so distorted last year. Dombrowski could possibly offset the salary burden by working some kind of trade including Joe Kelly, Porcello, or, ideally, Hanley Ramirez.

At this point, speculation is the lifeblood of baseball fans. A lot can happen between now and Opening Day. However, with one trade, one sacrificing of homegrown talent in order to obtain elite external reinforcements, the Boston Red Sox made a new commitment to their fans, and fired a warning to their rivals. Dave Dombrowski wants to win immediately, and the journey to that end promises to be greatly intriguing.

Red Sox Play Purest Form of Baseball vs. Padres

purest form of baseball

These sandlot kids play pure ball, the National League way. Courtesy news.moviefone.com

Some consider the National League (NL) to be the purest form of baseball. Tonight, the Red Sox play the San Diego Padres, a National League team. The pitchers are part of the lineup in the National League. Since the Padres are in American League (AL) territory, they play the American League way; our way. No pitchers will bat.

I find it important that the Red Sox play teams in the National League. The National League formula is, in a word, innocent. It makes us all nostalgic for the game we played, years ago, in sandlots and Little League. Everyone hits and everyone bats. There is no need to manipulate the lineup with a Designated Hitter, or pitching changes that slow the game down. In the NL, the game is played as it was meant to be played.

That said, I do like American League ball. I think the DH adds something special to the lineup; that player, whether David Ortiz, or others, can make or break games. We saw that to be true in both the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins.

Interleague play shakes things up and gets the players out of their comfort zones. I am sure coaches and players have to study more tape and stats before these interleague games. They simply do not know their opponents that well. Ultimately, it prepares the teams for World Series play. And, as we all know it is never too early to prepare for October baseball.