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It’s amazing how quickly things turn around. A week ago, the Red Sox made a bold move in claiming Johnny Damon off waivers in an effort to add outfield help as the Sox pushed toward the playoffs. Johnny Damon said “Screw You” to Theo Epstein in not so many words, and the Red Sox arrived in Tampa as they have at every ballpark all season: shorthanded. After the Red Sox won Game 1, they were just 4.5 games back, and many started thinking a playoff run was possible.
Then, the Red Sox blew two consecutive games, fell seven games back in the division, and realized a playoff spot may not be that realistic.
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With the waiver trade deadline looming, the Red Sox parted ways with one of their good soldiers in the bullpen, Manny Delcarmen, sending him to the Rockies for a minor league pitcher. The “Pride of Hyde Park” fell on hard times this season after a forearm injury, and ended up with a 4.70 ERA over 48 games. He allowed single runs in three of his final four appearances, and over the last two seasons, the righty had a 4.60 ERA after two consecutive strong seasons (2.05 ERA in 2007 and a 3.27 ERA in 2008).
“Manny had a nice career with us,” said Epstein. “I think there were times when he had it all working, a mid-90s fastball with good finish in the zone, a plus changeup that’s his bread and butter, and at times a really good curveball.”
In return, the Red Sox acquired Single-A pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller, a player who the Red Sox nearly drafted last year, according to Epstein. Balcom-Miller was 6-7 with a 3.31 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 19 starts for the Rockies’ Single-A affiliate.
“He has a good fastball with sink, and a plus changeup as an amateur,” Epstein said. “We just saw him again this year and he now has a plus slider. He has the potential to have three average to above [average] pitches. He’s a guy who keeps the ball on the ground, is a plus strike thrower and gets swings and misses.”
In the long run, this trade should benefit the Red Sox, but it’s a pretty clear sign that the Red Sox are waiving the white flag a big this year.