With regard to the trade deadline, do the Red Sox need a closer, or do we need a starting pitcher? I believe that we can cultivate a starting pitcher within our minor league ranks. I am very confident of it based on the talent that I know teems within the minors. Brandon Workman just moved up to Triple-A. Anthony Ranaudo seems poised to make a move soon, too. Drake Britton is another Portland Seadog that is a pretty strong pitcher. We have the manpower. John Farrell has not been shy about searching the farm system for the right pitching combinations needed against a given team. Pedro Beato was a great recent decision. That solves some of the starting pitching issues we may encounter over the course of the season. Starting pitchers can be cultivated. What we cannot cultivate is a closer.
Closers are a chosen class. They are not molded. They must be mentally strong enough to handle the pressure of the two crucial innings at the end of the game. A closer must be physically dominant in a clutch, but more importantly mentally built for this kind of work. The mindset, the mental game, is the most important aspect of exceptional relievers.
So where do we go from here? There is lots of chatter about Jonathan Papelbon. I do not know how he will be received by Red Sox nation after his appearance at Fenway Park earlier in the month. There must be other guys out there, too. Is Dennis Eckersley available, or 1967’s John Wyatt? We all know these guys can throw some “cheese.”
Will Papelbon be released from the Phillies? Are there other players out there? It appears there is chatter about other people. Who knows, though? Talk is cheap. We still have time. Let’s make some decisions.