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Gammons on The Big Show: Trade deadline dealing overrated

07.23.10 at 9:43 pm ET
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Longtime MLB insider Peter Gammons made his weekly call into The Big Show to talk about all things Red Sox and baseball, especially at the most hectic time of the season: the trade deadline. Gammons covered many different topics, including the Red Sox’ plans for the next week as the July 31 deadline approaches, the plans for key free agents, the return of injured players and the rise of some minor league players in time to be traded.

“I don’€™t trade Clay Buchholz for a first baseman. The only way [the Red Sox are] going to win is with pitching,” Gammons said. “Now, if you’€™re talking about [Felix] Doubront or something like that, that’€™s fine, but they’€™re not going to give up [Jon] Lester or Buchholz to get Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder. I think that’€™s what it would take.”

Below are highlights of the interview. To listen to the complete interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.

On the trade deadline’€™s significance:

You know, it’€™s kind of interesting. I’€™ve done a lot of research ‘€” gone all over the trade deadlines ‘€” and other than last year, where the Phillies got Cliff Lee, which clearly got them into the World Series, the last team that got to the World Series and did anything of significance at the trading deadline were the Red Sox in 2004 when they moved [Nomar] Garciaparra for [Doug] Mientkiewicz and [Orlando] Cabrera. The notion of pennants being changed by trading deadline deals is essentially fiction. In 2003, the Yankees got Aaron Boone and he hit under .200, but he did hit one famous home run. In 1999, the Yankees got David Justice, but otherwise, that’€™s about it.

On whether or not Theo Epstein should make a move at the deadline or wait for his roster to settle down:

Well, I think he looks at it as, ‘€œOK, can we do something for this year and next year?’€ You can get a catcher that can go both years. I think the relief pitchers are more temps because that’€™s the nature of relief pitchers. Outfielder, I think you would like someone who can play for you next year, but if you want a David DeJesus, that’€™s out of the window now. I think I was told 4-6 weeks on his thumb.

So I think he looks at it both ways. When you look at it, Beckett comes back, and [John] Lackey was certainly encouraging last night, if four times or five times around the rotation your starting pitching is the best in the league, then you’€™ve got a chance to catch Tampa and get into the wild card. You can go into the playoffs with Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, you’€™ve got a great chance to win every series.

I don’€™t think he’€™s going to trade off six prospects to go get a guy that’€™s going to fill in. I do think that Cody Ross was another world. I’€™d still pick [Rick] Ankiel if he shows he can play, the problem is he came back off the DL last night, hasn’€™t played any rehab games, so it’€™s hard to tell if you can take him. You still have the whole scope of it in the Jayson Werth thing, but that’€™s a big gamble until you sign him because he wants to be a free agent at the end of the year.

On the possibility of re-signing Adrián Beltré instead of bringing on a new big bat:

I think it’€™s going to be hard to sign Beltré. They’€™d like to. The question with attendance down ‘€” I think [in] 13 cities now ‘€” how many teams can afford a $13 million a year third baseman? I think that’€™s one of the things they have in the market. I still think the Angels’ first priority ‘€¦ well, I know their first priority is Carl Crawford, that’€™s why they put his locker next to Torii Hunter at the All-Star Game.

I think it’€™s hard to move [Kevin] Youkilis back to third base at this point in his career and to trade four prospects for a first baseman. ‘€¦ It’€™s a great idea, it’€™s nice and everything, but I don’€™t trade a No. 1 starter. I don’€™t trade Clay Buchholz for a first baseman. The only way they’€™re going to win is with pitching. Now, if you’€™re talking about [Felix] Doubront or something like that, that’€™s fine, but they’€™re not going to give up Lester or Buchholz to get Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder. I think that’€™s what it would take.

On if the Red Sox will make a push for Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier:

Well, I met Ethier at the end of [last] season and I think that’€™s a distinct possibility. I think that one Dodger to watch in here is Russell Martin. I think that they might move him and I’€™m guessing that the Red Sox might be interested. Though he’€™s an athletic catcher, he hasn’€™t had a good year at all, his OPS is down below .800, but he’€™s still young and he’€™s going to be about $7 [million] or $8 million in arbitration next year. Unless [the owners'] divorce court is finished, then I’€™m not sure that the Dodgers can afford him. We know they offered [Jed] Lowrie for [Chris] Iannetta and that didn’€™t happen.

I’€™m not sure there are too many other outfielders. I know a couple of people say that they should take a shot at Jose Guillen and I don’€™t know if you saw the highlight from last night, or lowlight from New York, but I think there was a base hit. [Billy] Butler hit a ball, Guillen was on second and Butler tried to stretch it into a double and Guillen was jogging from second to home. [He] was not at the plate when Butler was thrown out at second which cost Kansas City the opportunity to tie the game, so that’€™s not a guy you want. He is what he is.

On what it would take for the Red Sox to be sellers at the deadline:

I think it’€™s a possibility. Let’€™s say they fall back. I think it’€™s more of a possibility in August. The thing about this run is they’€™re trying to say Víctor Martínez may be back, but they don’€™t know what the impact is going to be on his thumb. They can talk all they want about when Pedroia will be back, but they don’€™t know that. They haven’€™t used that Forteo treatment on the fracture, so there’€™s no guarantee if he’€™s going to be right.

Nobody seems to know about [Jacoby] Ellsbury, so you’€™re talking about, they had arguably one of the top thirds of the order, they had them together for eight games all year, they don’€™t know when they’€™re going to have them all back, so if they do fall back eight games behind Tampa, they can probably get a lot of waivers on those guys and maybe move some player or two at the end of August.

On Beckett and Buchholz’€™s performances in Pawtucket:

They were getting hit and it was very clear with Buchholz that he was out of sync the other day and wasn’€™t right. This is an extremely important 27-game span, starting with these 10 games on the West Coast, and there is a sense of urgency. They’€™ve got to find out [if they'€™ll be in] the race or not.

I keep thinking, OK, the Yankees are going through a couple of pitching injuries, which make them a little bit more vulnerable, but to me, Tampa is going to [improve over] a couple of struggling months and they have yet to get [Carlos] Peña, [Jason] Bartlett, a couple of other guys really going and Wade Davis has been pretty abysmal since the middle of June, so they have to be very careful where they are. This is an odd season where the thing I keep thinking is were we a little bit deceived by the fact that Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava and a lot of other guys, Bill Hall, who were not 100-game players and had to play a lot, did they just run out of gas and what do they have left now that they’€™ve started to fade a little bit? It’€™s going to be interesting. To me, Lowrie is going to be important for them and [Jeremy] Hermida is going to be important for them over the next two weeks.

On the possibility of acquiring Chris Iannetta from the Rockies:

Well, what they told me was that they just didn’€™t want to trade him right now. The one thing they’€™re really hoping that, if Todd Helton doesn’€™t make it back, they’€™ll platoon Brad Hawpe and Iannetta at first base the rest of the season. He’€™s got a decent contract, so I think they move him at the end of the year, but for now they’€™ve got a great chance to win, and if Helton isn’€™t there, they need the platoon because Hawpe doesn’€™t hit left-handers very well so Iannetta could be a very useful piece at first base.

On Felix Doubront and if he’€™s reached the level of a Casey Kelly-type prospect:

Well, I don’€™t know if a lot of teams in baseball as much as in the eyes of John Farrell. I can remember seeing him pitch two years ago at Lowell and thinking he’€™s OK. A skinny little kid, but he’€™s big now and John keeps maintaining that this guy is really intelligent. He’€™s got one of the best learning curves of any pitcher he’€™s ever encountered. John and [Terry Francona] think he’€™s a No. 3 starter in the big leagues, especially when he’€™s 22 and he’€™s grown so much and all of a sudden he’€™s started to learn a curveball and a cutter to go along with the fastball and changeup. I think there are people on the staff that like him better than the people in the front office, but I think it would take a lot to trade him. I think they would trade him, but I think it would take a lot to trade him. I still think that Kelly is still the pitcher of choice. Actually, the guy that’€™s intriguing, and he’€™s been on the Baseball America this week, has been Stolmy Pimentel that pitches at Salem. He was in the Futures Game and a lot of teams love him, too. He’€™s a guy they might be willing to move as well.

Read More: chris iannetta, peter gammons, Trade deadline,
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