Red Sox Unlikely to Make Major Moves

This past season has been a massive disappointment for most of Red Sox Nation, to the point where one fan was caught on camera barfing from the right field deck during Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox. But the most disappointing thing so far? Probably the fact that the team has yet to even attempt to make a major move this year. At least at this time last year, they were trying to make moves and trying to make the team better.

The return for dealing Jon Lester and John Lackey was a bad return on investment, to sayRed Sox the least, as none of the pieces they ultimately received has made much of an impact, but at least they made some kind of effort last year. This year is a different story, though. The front office hasn’t made much of an effort to even build for the future before the deadline this year, and barring something dramatic, that won’t happen this time around.

Mind you, something dramatic could still happen, but it seems unlikely that the Red Sox make a major move. Rumors are still out there that they could go after Tyson Ross and Craig Kimbrel on the San Diego Padres, but with the deadline this afternoon, it seems like a long shot.

I’m thinking this trade deadline will pass without the team making any major moves, which would be the worst possible outcome for the tea, but the good news is that they at least have a couple pieces to build around in the off-season, namely guys like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, but it would have been nice to see the Red Sox go out and get a veteran starter or bullpen help to make it easier, but the Red Sox would need a miracle at this point for that to happen.

The best we can hope for is that they can get someone in free agency, but that might be too much to expect at the moment.

Red Sox Talking to Padres on Ross, Kimbrel

In a surprising development, rumors are circulating that the Red Sox are engaged in trade talks with the San Diego Padres, who have many interesting players on the block.

The reports initially emanated from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who was informed by a source that Boston is seeking cost-controlled starting pitchers, and that Tyson Ross of San Diego could be a prime target in the waning deadline hours.Red Sox

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later confirmed that report, and added that the Red Sox clearly have the prospects to expand a prospective deal to possibly include Craig Kimbrel, the Padres’ elite closer.

The Yankees have been heavily involved in negotiations for Kimbrel, who they would like to compliment Delin Betances and Andrew Miller in the creation of a super bullpen. New York executives worked through the night trying to hammer out a deal, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

However, Jon Heyman, the chief baseball insider at CBS, has also confirmed the Red Sox’ apparent interest in Kimbrel, who is widely considered one of the two best closers in the game.

At this point, it would appear to make little sense for the Red Sox to add Kimbrel, because there are few things more redundant in baseball than a premier closer on a 45-58 team. However, he is under contract through 2017, with an option for a further year, so Boston may be looking to add him as a cornerstone of a swift reboot. Alternatively, the Red Sox or Padres may have leaked word of Boston’s interest merely to boost the asking price and force the Yankees into a difficult position.

With barely six hours remaining until the deadline passes, we’ll know soon enough what Ben Cherington has in mind. Perhaps he’ll begin rebuilding in dramatic fashion, or perhaps he’ll stir the pot just enough to make his division rivals weaker in the medium-term future.

The Red Sox are Losing at the Worst Possible Time

In a season of perpetual disappointment, the Red Sox chose the worst possible time to embark on a long losing streak. Just as momentum was building, and fans began to see a glimmer of light, Boston lost two of three to New York prior to the All-Star Game, before stumbling to five straight defeats to start the second half.

All told, John Farell’s hapless team has lost six consecutive games, falling back to 42-52,Red Sox ten games adrift of the division-leading Yankees. Cautiously optimistic just two weeks ago, the Red Sox now have the worst record in the American League. This latest slump may be terminal.

The $166m Sox have been outscored 29-7 in their last five games. In fact, Boston’s -66 run differential on the season is third-worst in baseball, behind only the woeful Phillies and spluttering White Sox. Such a stat is emblematic of the Red Sox’ struggles, and obviously descriptive of a painfully unbalanced baseball team.

However, at this point, it’s difficult to see Ben Cherington making any moves to improve his lopsided roster. According to Fangraphs, the Red Sox have just a 2.1% chance of winning the AL East, while the likelihood of securing a Wildcard spot rests at 5.7%. For a front office that adores statistical analysis, those are particularly damning numbers. And, no matter how frustrated Red Sox Nation becomes, this hierarchy simply won’t mortgage the future to acquire a player who, at best, will enhance their chances of reaching a sudden-death Wildcard playoff from practically impossible to not gonna happen.

Now, the more likely scenario is the Red Sox selling off any excess big league pieces. At this point, Boston can only hope to retool and begin planning for 2016. Despite chronic batting average problems, Mike Napoli may interest a team hungry for power. Similarly, Shane Victorino may pique the interest of a contender searching for speed and experience atop its batting order. Even Koji Uehara may be dangled, tempting innumerable teams looking for bullpen help.

In the bigger picture, perhaps moving these ageing players would be beneficial to the Red Sox, who could finally grant extended playing time to Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr and Allen Craig, evaluating once and for all what those players actually are, and where they actually fit moving forward.

Yet, even this may be troublesome. It remains to be seen whether Ben Cherington has the energy and wherewithal to blow up his roster for the third time in four seasons as Red Sox GM. More to the point, will John Henry allow him to do so, and risk the crown jewel of his business empire becoming synonymous with failure, false dawns and fire sales?

Regardless of the next step, the Red Sox once again find themselves in a sorry state. Once again, this team appears dead before August has even arrived. And, amid an ocean of statistics and records speaking to this team’s wide-reaching ineptitude, that may be the most resounding reality of all.

Red Sox Trade Rumors Round-Up

Despite continued troubles on the field, the Red Sox still appear to be in something of a holding pattern at boardroom level, waiting until the last possible moment to declare themselves buyers or sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let’s take a look at the Red Sox trade rumors though, shall we?

In his latest column, famed sportswriter Peter Gammons offered his thoughts on a variety of Red Sox-related topics. Most importantly, he wrote that, while optimistic coming out of Red Soxthe All-Star break, Boston officials have been forced by the team’s five-game losing streak to consider which Major League players could possibly be sold off. However, simultaneously, Gammons suggests that the Red Sox are still grappling with the notion of pursuing either Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels, the premier starting pitchers on the trading block this summer.

Indeed, Rob Bradford of WEEI recently reported that Boston may trade for Cueto mainly to give themselves a running start in the sweepstakes when the Reds’ ace becomes a free agent this winter. I personally don’t see the logic here; the Red Sox are nine games adrift of a guaranteed playoff berth, and expending valuable prospects on a player who will be available for cash alone in four months just isn’t something this front office has ever been inclined to do.

Bradford also says that, from a philosophical viewpoint, the Red Sox covet young, cost-controlled arms. In that case, I struggle to see them being legitimate players in the market for Hamels, who will be 32 going into next season, and will likely cost too much in terms of prospects for Boston to be seriously interested.

Nonetheless, the Red Sox did send high-ranking executive Allard Baird to watch Hamels’ last start, as ESPN’s Gordon Edes and others have reported, which would suggest they still feel compelled to complete due diligence on all available players. However, as Ken Rosenthal conveyed in his latest FOX Sports video, Boston would be just one of several teams chasing Hamels, alongside the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers and possibly Orioles.

Ultimately, the Red Sox have two things making life difficult just now: the standings, and the calendar. Boston is currently a last-place team, perhaps more likely to lose ninety games than overcome the surging Yankees. Furthermore, just ten days remain until the trade deadline, meaning large and crucial decisions will have to be made in a short and panic-filled timeframe. Right now, we can only sit tight and wait for the first domino to fall.

Remembering the Manny Ramirez Trade

When the trade deadline approaches each July, I’m transported back to 2008, when the Red Sox dealt Manny Ramirez, my all-time favorite player, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his tumultuous reign as Boston’s defining superstar.

I was a truly fanatical fan in those days, staying up well past midnight in Britain to watch the Red Sox despite the prospect of school lurking the next morning. Accordingly, to suchManny Ramirez a diehard rooter, the loss of the most charismatic and infectious character in the history of New England sports was a major blow. My world caved in when Manny left for Hollywood.

Of course, rumors of Ramirez’ eventual exit percolated even as the ink dried on his 8-year, $160 million contract. Seemingly every year throughout his tenure in Boston, Manny Ramirez demanded some kind of trade away from Beantown and, when he wasn’t complaining, management rocked the boat by seeking ways to offload his complex, high-maintenance personality. Yet, in the end, Manny always stayed with the Red Sox, no matter how loud the trade chatter. His prodigious talent was always too much to give up.

I thought this would also be the case in 2008. A few teams would call the Sox and register an interest, I figured, but Theo Epstein would never let such a lethal offensive force get away amid a heated pennant race. Thus, when the news of Manny’s departure eventually exploded, like a cannonball to the head, I was totally shocked and incredulous.

At the time, it was difficult to follow Major League Baseball from England. In the pre-Twitter realm, all we could do was constantly refresh the webpages of various sports sites, hoping to stay in the loop. That’s what I did for hour upon hour as the 2008 deadline approached. However, as the clock continued to tick, I was dragged along on a family day trip to Liverpool on the Mersey Ferryboats. I did protest, citing the importance of the trade deadline, but little credence was given to the 13-year old possessed by an immense obsession with the Boston Red Sox.

We eventually returned home in time for me to watch the last hour of deadline action. The minutes ticked by slowly, and it appeared ever more likely that my beloved slugger would stay. Then, barely ten minutes before the deadline, the dreaded news finally filtered through to England: Manny Ramirez, my original baseball hero, had been traded to the Dodgers, and a rather peculiar fellow named Jason Bay was the new left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, as part of a three-team deal with Pittsburgh.

That night, I cried myself to sleep. Yes, Manny was perpetually annoying. And, yes, his mood swings frustrated Red Sox Nation. But he was arguably the greatest right-handed hitter ever to represent The Olde Towne Team. Manny Ramirez lodged 2,574 career hits, launched 555 home runs, and won two World Series titles with the Red Sox, but, more than that, he was an icon, a superhero in whom young fans like myself could believe. Manny Ramirez made you dream.

Manny Ramirez

In LA, Manny unleashed the greatest 53-game stretch of his career to round out 2008, hitting .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI. Meanwhile, Jason Bay was pretty good, but he just wasn’t Manny Ramirez. Therefore, I never truly overcame the loss of Number 24.

I firmly believe the Red Sox would have won the pennant and possibly a second consecutive World Series had Ramirez stayed. Instead, Boston finally dealt him away, and Red Sox baseball simply hasn’t been the same since.