One yr in the past immediately, Dave Dombrowski acquired the World Sequence MVP and nobody seen.
The commerce that despatched Single-A infielder Santiago Espinal to the Blue Jays for first baseman Steve Pearce barely registered. Did not the Pink Sox want bullpen assist? Why was Dombrowski losing his time with a platoon participant?
We quickly noticed the tactic to his insanity. Recognizing a deficiency in opposition to left-handed pitching — which felt like a secondary concern, however on reflection was clearly a major one — Dombrowski acted aggressively to land one of the crucial constant right-handed mashers in the marketplace.
He figured Pearce would turn out to be useful in opposition to New York’s CC Sabathia and Aroldis Chapman, in addition to Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. A World Sequence that includes Clayton Kershaw, Wealthy Hill, and Alex Wooden turned out to be a bonus, and Pearce destroyed Dodgers pitching to the tune of three homers and eight RBIs in 5 video games, incomes himself the aforementioned MVP award within the course of.
A yr later, the Pink Sox want much more than a part-time participant to reinforce a roster that has produced disappointing outcomes. However the Pearce commerce stays instructive. Whereas buying a reliever or two or 5 seems like the plain plan of assault, would possibly Dombrowski be pondering in a different way? And in that case, what are some areas of want we’re not contemplating that he would possibly handle?
Let’s check out three of them.
1. Fifth starter
We have made the case earlier than, however a part of the rationale the bullpen is so brutally taxed is as a result of the Pink Sox have didn’t common even three innings out of their fifth starters since Nathan Eovaldi went down in April.
A dependable arm would ease the pressure of Eovaldi’s absence in ways in which the parade of Triple-A filler has not, and it will enable left-hander Brian Johnson to fill a protracted function within the bullpen.
Depth is not a nasty factor for this rotation, particularly contemplating Chris Sale’s historical past of second-half breakdowns, David Price‘s iffy elbow, and naturally Eovaldi’s unsure standing. Lest we neglect, Eovaldi did not seem to be a necessity final yr, and he ended up taking part in an instrumental function within the World Sequence run.
One title to observe: Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd, whom the Pink Sox reportedly scouted lately. Dombrowski has already acquired him as soon as — in a deal involving David Value, no much less — and he has three years of group management remaining.
Boyd has some dwelling run points — he permits one per recreation — however he is 5-6 with a 3.72 ERA and is averaging a career-high 11.four strikeouts per 9 innings.
2. Backup outfielder
In an ideal world, somebody like Rusney Castillo (bear in mind him?) would fill this function internally. As a substitute, that accountability falls largely on the shoulders of DH J.D. Martinez, who has battled again points all season. Supervisor Alex Cora would like to not play Martinez a lot within the outfield, however he has began the final two video games rather than Andrew Benintendi, who’s battling a nagging harm himself.
With Pearce (again) on the IL and Brock Holt out and in of the lineup, the Pink Sox have discovered themselves skinny past starters Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. And even when Pearce does return, his manufacturing has been so woeful (.180-1-9) that he is at risk of being DFA’d.
One potential commerce associate is Pittsburgh, which ranks eighth within the wild card standings and might dangle low-cost veteran change hitter Melky Cabrera or the costlier Corey Dickerson.
3. A Steve Pearce sort
Talking of Steve Pearce, if the one they’ve would not get his act collectively, they need to contemplate buying his substitute. The Pink Sox hit right-handers 30 factors higher than left-handers as a group (.273 vs. .243), with an OPS swing of 82 factors (.813 vs. .731).
Rookie Michael Chavis hasn’t been the reply, hitting simply .175 vs. southpaws, and starter Mitch Moreland typically performs in opposition to righties when he is wholesome, which is not typically sufficient.
Red Sox shut out by way of All-Star Recreation starters
An ideal match as a primary baseman/outfielder who murders left-handed pitching at an affordable worth is Baltimore’s Trey Mancini, who’s within the midst of an All-Star-caliber season. He is hitting .298 with 17 homers and a .904 OPS total, and .307 with a .942 OPS vs. left-handers.
The prospect price for Mancini could be steep, as a result of he is Baltimore’s most fascinating asset, however he is solely making $576,000, solely turns into arbitration-eligible this fall, and is simply 27, smack in his prime.
Mancini might handle the final two points on this listing by himself, with the added bonus of being worthy of on a regular basis at-bats regardless of the place he performs.
So whereas bullpen could also be the obvious want, do not be stunned if Dombrowski tinkers elsewhere across the edges, too.
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