|07.31.15 at 5:57 pm ET|
The Red Sox were involved in many trade discussions this week, but ultimately the trade deadline passed without any major moves being made.
The team did acquire reliever Ryan Cook from the Athletics in a cash deal.
“We had a busy few days. We worked on a lot of stuff,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “Talked about a lot of stuff. Big, small, in between. In the end we didn’t find enough compelling to do much. It just didn’t come our way. Thought we had a really productive week, nonetheless. We know a lot more about what may or may not be in play for us going forward in the offseason.”
This season the Sox had veterans with expiring contracts in Shane Victorino (who was traded to the Angels on Monday), Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza as the players who were rumored in trade talks the most.
“There was some interest [in team’s veterans],” Cherington said. “Again, it didn’t get to a level we felt compelled to do anything. Again, without getting into specific names or guys, there could be things that we look at in August along those lines. We just have to wait and see.”
The general manager said a few talks were further along than others, but nothing ever got really close to happening.
“There were probably a couple things that got a little closer. Not that I can be specific about, but as you guys know, this week you talk about hundreds of concepts, literally,” Cherington said. “There may have been a small handful of it that got a little traction. but again, didn’t get to a point that we felt like pulling the trigger now. We know what we want to do going forward.”
With the team currently 13 games below .500 and 13 games back in the AL East, the focus has shifted towards 2016. Cherington said there is still plenty of time before now and then to get better.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” he said. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week and so we went into it with the mindset of we were going to pursue things that we think fall in line with improving in ways we need to improve to be [good] for Opening Day. If we find those things, we’ll do it now. We’ll pursue it. If not, we’ll wait and tackle it in the offseason.
“Like I said, we talked about all sorts of stuff. I think we learned a lot about our players, other players who could be available going forward and just the timing didn’t line up to make a lot of moves now. We know what we need to do going forward and we have more information to guide us.”
|07.31.15 at 4:40 pm ET|
The Red Sox did make one move at the Friday’s trade deadline, although it certainly wasn’t a big one.
Manager John Farrell said the team received right-hander reliever Ryan Cook from the A’s in a cash deal. In four games with the A’s this season he has a 10.38 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2012 when he recorded 14 saves and had a 2.09 ERA with Oakland.
“We acquired him as a middle reliever. I don’t have the exact time he will arrive here. This is something that came down within the last few minutes,” Farrell said.
“This is a guy that has been a closer in the past,” he added. “Again, I know that there’s been some change of role out in Oakland and as we did with Jean Machi to come in and take a look at him. This will be a very similar situation.”
This year is his fifth season in the majors and overall he’s 13-12 with a 2.93 ERA over 212 appearances.
|07.31.15 at 2:13 pm ET|
With the trade deadline ticking ever closer, ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney checked in with WEEI’s midday show to talk about deals that could be in the works before the clock strikes 4 p.m. on the East Coast. To listen to the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
“I have nothing concrete in terms of what actually could be taking place,” Olney said, “I know there’s been a ton talk of talk between the Cubs and the Padres and we know that the Red Sox and Padres match up to some degree. The Red Sox really like [Padres starter] Tyson Ross, it would make some sense if they were to wind up somehow with [Padres closer] Craig Kimbrel.
“Besides the fact that he would be under contract for the next two years, he’s an excellent closer, but also they’d be able to keep him away from the Yankees, who are sitting there with a big safety net. If the Padres weren’t able to make another deal, [the Yankees] are positioned to get Kimbrel. There are a lot of different reasons they could potentially work something out.”
Olney added that another piece that could potentially fit in to a three-team trade is Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. Castillo has played only 30 games this season for the Red Sox and just four since recently being called up from Triple-A. He has a .256 average on the year and is signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract.
“What I got from some people within the Red Sox organization was … ‘Oh boy, we don’t know if [Castillo] can play,'” Olney said. “And if that’s how they feel, if that’s how the front office feels about it, then this potentially could present an opportunity to move some money because the Padres are trying to move some money, the Cubs are trying to move some money with Starlin Castro. Again, these are three teams with so many jigsaw pieces that fit in one way or another which is why people are anticipating that with these teams, there could be something there.”
|07.31.15 at 1:55 pm ET|
Do the Red Sox have something cooking with the Padres and Cubs?
According to multiple reports, the Red Sox are engaged with talks on a three-way deal involving the two clubs. The Red Sox, looking for young pitching, have been linked to Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, as well as closer Craig Kimbrel.
However, an official from one of the clubs involved said on Friday afternoon that a deal was unlikely.
That doesn’t mean the Red Sox couldn’t talk directly to the Padres about Ross, a 28-year-old former All-Star who’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season.
Ross comes with positives and negatives. On the plus side, he is striking out over a batter an inning for the first time in his career (9.7) while producing a historically outstanding ground ball-to-fly ball ratio of 1.74. Ross also keeps the ball in the park, as evidenced by his four homers allowed in 127 2/3 innings this year, or lifetime rate of just 0.6 home runs per nine innings.
However, he has also benefited from spending his career in big ballparks in Oakland and especially San Diego, where his home ERA of 2.57 in Petco Park is more than a run and a half lower than his lifetime road ERA of 4.24.
He also leads the National League in walks (61) this season, for a rate of 4.3 per nine that represents his highest total since his final season in Oakland, 2012, when he walked 4.5 per nine.
If the Red Sox can’t land Ross, they’re also expected to engage the Indians on right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. The trade deadline is Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.
|07.31.15 at 1:01 pm ET|
Any hope that the Red Sox could make a run to the playoffs has been expunged since the All-Star break. Since returning, the Red Sox have gone 3-11, including most recently dropping three of four to the White Sox.
The prolonged slump has brought the Red Sox‘ record to 45-58, placing them firmly in last place in the American League East, 13 games behind the division-leading Yankees. The Sox are tied for the worst record in the AL with the A’s.
“It [stinks]. Come here every day, work hard to go out there and try to execute as a team,” Mike Napoli said after a loss to the White Sox. “We’re not getting it done. It’s not fun. You need to come in, keep playing hard, play the game the right way and try to make things turn into good things, positive things on the field. Just got to keep going.”
The Sox will be taking on the Rays in a weekend series at Fenway. The Rays are fourth in the AL East. The team has a 51-52 record and is seven games back of the Yanks. The Yankees have started to separate themselves from the pack, as they hold a six-game lead over both the Orioles and Jays.
To stay in the hunt, and at least within reach of those Orioles and Jays, the Rays need to have success in this weekend’s series in Boston.
For the Rays, the problem has been on the offensive side. The team has scored 367 runs, placing it 26th in baseball. As a team, the Rays own a 27th-best .238 batting average and 24th-best .684 OPS.
On the mound, the team has been significantly more proficient. Tampa owns a 3.50 team ERA, which is third best in the American League. The Sox are a full run worse, with a 4.50 team ERA. The Rays have a .233 batting average against, which is tops in the AL. They have allowed the third-fewest runs in the league.
The Rays’ anemic offense has to some degree negated the effectiveness of their pitching staff, as the they have a minus-13 run differential that places them ninth in the AL.
|07.31.15 at 10:19 am ET|
The 2015 season has been far from kind to the Red Sox. Their spot in the standings far removed from the playoff picture, forcing them not to consider trading for short-term rentals before Friday’s deadline. Instead, the team reportedly is interested in starting pitchers that are under team control long term.
That interest has taken hold in a couple young starters of note, including Carlos Carrasco of the Indians and Tyson Ross of the Padres.
‘ Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 31, 2015
The #Redsox also like Tyson Ross a lot, says source. They’ve been operating “very quietly” in trade talks for pitching.
‘ Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 31, 2015
In 21 starts this season, Carrasco has an 11-8 record and 4.03 ERA. The 28-year-old right-hander owns a 2.82 FIP, seemingly having pitched much better than his ERA would indicate. He is signed through 2018 to a four-year, $22 million contract that also includes $9 million and $9.5 million team options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The contract pays Carrasco well below market value for an above-average starter.
The right-hander Ross, 28, owns a 3.38 ERA and 7-8 record so far this season for the Padres. He becomes arbitration eligible in 2016 and the earliest he could hit free agency is 2018.
The Padres are firmly in the camp of sellers at this season’s deadline and own many movable players and contracts. One of those is flamethrowing reliever Craig Kimbrel, who has been linked to multiple teams, including the Red Sox.
‘ Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2015
word is out red sox could have interest in kimbrel. that would make things interesting for yanks (& astros)
‘ Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2015
The Yankees and Astros also are said to have shown interest in Kimbrel. The Padres reportedly were interested in Yankees shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo, who at one time had been viewed as untouchable.
3 says ago heard “no way” is jorge mateo being traded. today hear “we’ll see.” certainly be way to land kimbrel. #yankees
‘ Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2015
Elsewhere, the Mets are interested in acquiring an outfield bat, particularly after their almost-trade with the Brewers for Carlos Gomez fell through. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mets are interested in the Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce.
|07.31.15 at 9:52 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (42-63): L, 6-1, vs. Norfolk (Orioles)
— The Pawtucket offense had nine hits, eight of them singles, but finished just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and scored just one run. The lone PawSox run came in the ninth inning on an RBI single by right fielder Jonathan Roof, scoring DH Allen Craig. Pawtucket’s July record fell to 4-21, with an 0-8-1 record in nine series played during the month.
— Craig finished 1-for-3 with a walk, putting his season-long slash line at .263/.373/.338 with three home runs and eight doubles in 63 games played. After hitting .328 in May, Craig has connected at just a .240 (40-for-167) clip combined in June and July with two homers. The 31-year-old righty bat has particularly struggled against right-handed pitching this year, hitting just .227 on the season compared to .354 against lefties.
— Shortstop Marco Hernandez went 2-for-3 with a double, the lone Pawtucket extra-base hit, to put his average at .298 through 13 games played in Triple-A. It was the third multi-hit game for Hernandez since his promotion from Double-A Portland, where he led the Eastern League with a .326 average. The 22-year-old Dominican was charged with his third Triple-A error as he dropped a throw from pitcher Zeke Spruill at the second base bag after a comebacker in the third.
— Spruill took the loss (4-7, 4.54 ERA) despite allowing just one earned run through six innings of work. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (96 pitches, 60 strikes). Spruill also hit two batters. The 25-year-old was making his seventh start of the season, after his first 18 came in relief. As a reliever, the 6-foot-5 Spruill had a 4.21 ERA in 36 1/3 innings pitched. As a starter, he is now 0-5 with a 4.88 ERA. Boston acquired Spruill in a December 2014 trade from Arizona; the Red Sox designated him for assignment and off their 40-man roster on July 3.
|07.31.15 at 9:43 am ET|
Avoiding their third sweep in four series Thursday night, the Red Sox took the final game of their four-game set with the White Sox by a score of 8-2. With the Rays next on the docket, Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch for Boston against Erasmo Rodriguez on Friday evening.
Rodriguez has provided the Sox with a solid option in the rotation, though he’s fallen victim to the occasional bad start. In 11 starts so far this season, the lefty has recorded seven outings in which he’s allowed one or zero earned runs. He also has had three starts lasting fewer than five innings with six or more earned runs. Two of those three came at Fenway Park, but the most recent one was on the road vs. the Angels on July 20, a 1 2/3-inning effort with seven earned runs on six hits.
Most recently, Rodriguez put up seven innings on Sunday, giving up just one earned run, a home run, on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts. After that win, the rookie’s season ERA is 4.26 while his record is 6-3.
“I think [against the Angels], I tried to go too quickly to home plate and made my fastballs in the strike zone,” Rodriguez said Sunday. “Today I just got under control to control my fastball where I want. That’s what I think made it go better.”
In his young career, Rodriguez has not yet faced the Rays, the only team in the division he hasn’t seen. Against other AL East teams, the 22-year-old has a 6.08 ERA in 26 2/3 innings, a number that’s bloated because his other two shaky starts were against the Blue Jays (4 2/3 innings, nine earned runs) and Orioles (3 2/3 innings, six earned runs). The Rays slash .256/.329/.429 vs. left-handed starters compared to their .232/.293/.364 line opposite righties.
|07.30.15 at 11:48 pm ET|
For obvious reasons Steven Wright is most known for his knuckleball, but Thursday night it was his fastball that was able to get him his fourth win of the season.
Wright went seven innings allowing two runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out a career-high eight in the Red Sox’ 8-2 win over the White Sox snapping a three-game losing streak.
Making the win even more impressive was Wright and the Red Sox were going up against ace Chris Sale.
The Red Sox knuckleballer was able to keep the red-hot White Sox offense in check by mixing his fastball and knuckleball more than in any other start this season. According to Brooksbaseball.net, Wright threw a season-high 21 fastballs. His previous high in any other start this season was seven.
“It’s one of those things I don’t go out there thinking I am going to throw fastballs tonight,” Wright said. “The scouting report that I’ve seen on those guys — they are pretty patient early on and I wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes at the beginning so I thought it was a good opportunity to do some fastballs so I tried to get ahead in the count and then later on in the game me and Blake [Swihart] were able to mix it in in good situations to really keep them off the knuckleball. I just go out there and feel it out. Sometimes I throw more than other times. Today I mixed it in a little bit more in the past.”
Things got off to a rocky start as he allowed a two-run home run to Jose Abreu in the first inning, which meant all four Red Sox starters allowed multiple runs in the first inning in the series. But, Wright settled in and didn’t allow a run after that.
The win evens his record at 4-4 after he was winless over his last four starts. It was his first win as a starter since May 23.
|07.30.15 at 10:41 pm ET|
This one came out of nowhere.
Having won just three of their last 16 games, while sitting on the verge of a four-game sweep at the hands of the red-hot White Sox, the Red Sox didn’t have much reason for optimism heading into Thursday night’s series finale. Add in that John Farrell‘s team had to reverse its course against Chris Sale, one of the top pitchers in the American League, and the Sox’ best chance would seem for the rain to pick up steam from 7 p.m. and on.
But the rain did let up, resulting in just a 51-minute delay, and as it turned out the Red Sox were glad it did.
The Sox jumped all over Sale, handing the skinny southpaw with the 2.85 ERA one of his worst results of the season. The Red Sox tagged the White Sox starter for seven runs on 12 hits over five innings on the way to an 8-2 win at Fenway Park.
It marked the most hits ever allowed by Sale, who was chased from the game after not retiring an out in the sixth inning and being charged with four runs in the frame.
Sale’s counterpart, Red Sox starter Steven Wright, conversely turned in one of his best big league outings, giving up just two runs (both coming in the first inning) over seven innings. The knuckleballer finished with career-highs in innings pitched, strikeouts (8), and pitches thrown (115).
“It was just one of those days,” Wright said. “My last outing, it was definitely moving a lot more radically. It felt good coming out of my hand last night, and it felt the same coming out this time. Today it wasn’t moving quite as much. That’s just the way it goes sometimes with the knuckleballs.”
Another positive in Wright’s performance was his cohesion with catcher Blake Swihart after the backstop’s four passed-ball game the last time they got together.
“I think the other day his previous time out, he reached for a number of knuckleballs that were up above the eye level,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There was a concerted effort on his part to raise his entire body up to maybe keep his eye level above the glove. But he handled him much more clean today. There was an adjustment he made in working with [catching instructor] Dana [LeVangie] in between starts.”
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