|07.31.10 at 6:15 pm ET|
The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and the Red Sox came away with some pieces that could help in the future in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and pitcher Daniel Turpin. They also promoted outfield prospect Ryan Kalish, along with reliever Dustin Richardson, while also starting the process of integrating Felix Doubront into the bullpen.
There were a grouping of players, however, which the Sox felt like might immediately have an impact on the 2010 club which ended up being deemed not worth the investment.
A handful of potential late-inning relievers were in the Sox’ sights as the trade deadline’s final minutes ticked away, a group that included Seattle’s Brandon League, along with Scott Downs of Toronto and Kerry Wood of the Indians. What wasn’t available, despite reports, were the kind of closers who might have warranted giving up top prospects. Both Kansas City’s Joakim Soria (who had the Red Sox on his list of teams he would have to approve a trade to) and Florida’s Leo Nunez were for all intent and purposes unavailable.
As for outfielders, the Red Sox’ top priority was David DeJesus up until the news that the Kansas City outfielder was being forced to undergo season-ending surgery on his right thumb. Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth also was high on the Sox’ list, but approximately five days ago the Phillies decided they were going to hold on to the outfielder.
|07.31.10 at 4:56 pm ET|
The Red Sox acquired catcher Jarrod Salatalamacchia from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor-league right-hander Roman Mendez, first baseman Chris McGuinness, a player to be named and cash considerations.
The Sox have long been interested in the 25-year-old Saltalamacchia, attempting to acquire him in deals with the Atlanta Braves (Boston balked when told that it would take Jon Lester to make the deal) and the Rangers. The switch-hitting catcher has was placed on the 15-day disabled list shortly after opening day due to stiffness in his back. He’s had just five big league at-bats this year, collecting one hit.
He required surgery over the offseason to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and when he returned, he experienced problems throwing the ball back to the pitcher. But he is now healthy, and Sox GM Theo Epstein said that he has been throwing both to the pitcher and to bases reasonably well.
He has been in Triple-A since returning, hitting .244/.326/.445/.771 in 63 games for Oklahoma City. The Sox have optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Sox are hopeful that he may be able to tap into his significant potential with a change of scenery.
In 240 career big league games, he is a .251 hitter with a .313 OBP, .388 slugging mark, .701 OPS and 23 homers in 874 plate appearances. Though his recent numbers have been unimpressive, he is considered a potentially above-average bat for a catcher, though there have been questions about his ability to stay at catcher for the long term.
Mendez is the highest ceiling prospect whom the Sox are moving. Mendez, who turned 20 on Sunday, was dominant in his U.S. debut in 2009, producing a 1.99 ERA and striking out 47 while walking eight in the Gulf Coast League.
This year, however, he has struggled. He started the year at Single-A Greenville, but that assignment was short-lived after he got off to an 0-2 start with an 11.40 ERA, striking out 18 and walking 10 in 15 innings. He was sent to extended spring training and then reassigned to the Lowell Spinners, for whom he is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 19 walks in 33 innings.
Mendez, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, features a big arm, occasionally touching the mid-90s with his fastball while still working to develop a secondary arsenal. The development of a secondary arsenal could make him an impressive starting pitching prospect, though at the least, his fastball suggests the potential of a late-innings reliever.
McGuiness is an advanced hitter whom the Red Sox described as being “Youkilish” when they drafted him out of The Citadel in the 13th round in 2009. He was hitting .298/.416/.504/.920 with 12 homers and 46 RBI in 78 games for Single-A Greenville this year.
|07.31.10 at 4:05 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced that right-hander Ramon Ramirez has been traded to the Giants. In exchange, the Sox will receive minor-league reliever Daniel Turpen.
The Sox had talked with the Mets over recent weeks about trading the right-hander to New York, but a major league source said that the two sides had not matched up. The Mets were interested in Ramirez, whom they viewed as a good buy-low candidate, and the two sides had discussed a swap of the Sox reliever for Rod Barajas before the catcher went on the disabled list. The two sides also discussed Ramirez for a prospect, but could not match up.
Ramirez was 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 44 appearances for the Red Sox this year, though he had been better of late. He had a 2.86 ERA since June 5, a period during which opponents are hitting .216 with a .622 OPS against him. He has struck out 17 and walked seven in 22 innings during the run.
In 2009, he was 7-4 with a 2.84 mark in his first season in Boston. The 28-year-old was originally acquired from the Royals after the 2008 season in exchange for outfielder Coco Crisp.
Turpen has been pitching for Richmond in the Double-A Eastern League, where he had a 4.09 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 19 walks in 50 2/3 innings. In four minor league seasons since being taken in the eighth round of the 2007 draft, he has a 2.69 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 220 2/3 innings.
“There’s a chance given service time and some other things that there might be some turnover in the pen and he’s someone who can be part of the solution looking ahead. Maybe not this year, but looking at our future bullpen,” said Sox GM Theo Epstein. “He’s a performer that comes from a difficult arm angle, keeps the ball on the ground and throws strikes. We like his demeanor and the three-pitch mix.”
With Ramirez gone, the Sox recalled left-hander Dustin Richardson from Triple-A Pawtucket. Richardson has a 2.57 ERA in 13 big league appearances (spanning just seven innings) this year. He was 3-0 with a 3.19 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket this year.
|07.31.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
Red Sox prospect Ryan Kalish is on his way to Fenway Park, and could be activated for Saturday’s game, according to a source. Kalish is hitting .294 with a .356 OBP, .476 slugging mark and .832 OPS in 37 games with Triple-A Pawtucket. He was promoted from Double-A Portland in May, after hitting .293/.404/.527/.931. He has 13 homers and 25 steals in 28 attempts between the two levels this year.
He has been particularly hot since returning from the disabled list for a strained right hip flexor at the end of June, collecting multiple hits in 13 of his last 24 games while hitting .343 with six doubles, a triple and four homers. His defense is also considered above average for a corner outfielder, meaning that he will help the team to address one of their foremost deficiencies (poor outfield defense).
According to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, the Sox have cleared a roster spot for Kalish by designating Jeremy Hermida for assignment. Hermida proved a disappointment after the Sox acquired him from the Marlins during the offseason, hitting .203 with a .257 OBP, .348 slugging mark and .605 OPS. He returned recently after missing six weeks with broken ribs, and struggled in his return to action, going 2-for-20.
The 22-year-old Kalish earns comparisons to Trot Nixon for his intense play. Like Nixon, he was a highly recruited quarterback coming out of high school. Kalish turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Virginia to sign with the Red Sox after being taken in the ninth round of the 2006 draft.
Kalish, 22, is in his 5th year in the Red Sox organization after being selected in the 9th round of the 2006 draft.
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|07.31.10 at 2:03 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have expressed a willingness to move some of the relievers on their current major league roster. The team has made Ramon Ramirez available to other clubs. While Boston was believed to be seeking a major league return as of Friday, the club appears willing to move the right-hander for a prospect at this juncture.
Ramirez is 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA this year, though he has a 2.86 ERA since June 5, a period during which opponents are hitting .216 with a .622 OPS against him. He has struck out 17 and walked seven in 22 innings during the run.
With both Michael Bowden and Felix Doubront expected to be called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in the near future, the Sox will need to clear spots in the bullpen for both pitchers. That, in turn, might explain why the Sox are making some of their own relievers available at a time when they are in the market for relief upgrades.
|07.31.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
Mike Lowell still hadn’t been activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the Red Sox meeting with the Tigers Saturday afternoon. The infielder said he hadn’t heard anything new since the Red Sox asked Lowell for patience while they figured out what the roster might look like following non-waiver trade deadline. In the ‘It Shouldn’t Make a Difference Dept’ Lowell does have a limited no-trade clause, with the player and team each choosing two teams that the list would be comprised of. From the players perspective, the two clubs on the no-trade list are Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
|07.31.10 at 1:41 pm ET|
The July 31 deadline for non-waiver trades is less than three hours away. Yet Red Sox manager Terry Francona suggested that he has “no idea” whether his club will do anything before it passes at 4 p.m.
“I just don’t know,” Francona said. “If you asked [Sox GM Theo Epstein] right now, I don’t know if he knows.”
One area that the Sox are unquestionably exploring is the market for bullpen help. Yet the Sox have been deterred by what they’ve seen as an excessive cost of doing business.
The team makes no secret of the fact that it has endured a significant bullpen struggle this year. The bullpen ERA stands at a pitiable 4.43 mark, and the options aside from Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon have been suboptimal for the Sox.
Yet the team is also leery of spending heavily to acquire relief help. Relievers are volatile, going from All-Star performances to virtual irrelevance, a fact that is evident even by looking at the Sox’ own bullpen corps.
“[Hideki Okajima] is a good example. He’s a guy that’s made the All-Star team. He’s run thorugh some tough times,” said Francona. “When you’re acquiring bullpen help, there’s certainly some amount of a crapshoot with it. That’s what I’m sure Theo and those guys are discussing right now, and it’s very difficult decisions. You’re probably going to overpay for a reliever, and that is very difficult.”
That, in turn, makes the notion of internal fixes appealing. And the Sox will certainly seek to bolster their relief corps from within.
Michael Bowden is currently in Pawtucket, honing his craft as a reliever. On Friday night, the organization informed left-hander Felix Doubront that he will likewise be groomed for relief duty for the rest of the year. Francona emphasized that the club still views the 22-year-old’s long-term future as being a member of the big league rotation, but for the rest of 2010, the team believes that Doubront can be part of the solution to its late-inning struggles.
“Everybody involved thinks this kid has a chance to impact us going forward this year in the bullpen,” said Francona. “He’s going to be a starter – a major league starter. But I think for the rest of the year, if he gets the chance, he can maybe impact us out of the bullpen. But we want to, like we do with these other guys, get him some innings out of the bullpen.
“He throws strikes. He’s quick to the plate. The game doesn’t speed up. There’s nothing that doesn’t [impress about him]. The only thing is, I think, he hasn’t done it. He’s been groomed as a starter. There’s some things he has to get used to: getting up in the middle of the game, mindset, again, we just want to give him a chance to do that. It’s the only way it’s fair.”
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