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Epstein Does it Again, Acquires Martinez in Exciting Week

Victor Martinez and Jonathan Papelbon

The Red Sox only finished this past week going 3-3, but still managed to have quite a deal of excitement thanks to Theo Epstein and his great work once again at the trade deadline.

The Sox did not manage to get Roy Halladay, but did wind up with two strong new bats to help give their bit of a slumping line-up a new surge of power. After the Orioles left town, the Sox split a series with Oakland and started their nine game road trip with Baltimore this weekend.

1. Victor Martinez

Boston welcomed a new catcher during the trade deadline as the Sox were able to nab Cleveland’s Victor Martinez. Martinez was acquired in exchange for Justin Masterson, and minor leaguers Bryan Price and Nick Hagadone. Martinez is currently batting .284 with 15 home runs and 67 RBI. He added another RBI in his 1-5 debut with Boston on Saturday night. He will be able to give Jason Varitek such much needed rest and fill in as the back-up catcher while George Kottaras is on the disabled list.

2. Casey Kotchman

The guy that the Angels traded last year to get Mark Teixeria is now a part of the Red Sox lineup. Kotchman was acquired from Atlanta for 1B Adam LaRoche, who the Sox had just acquired a week earlier, as well as cash considerations. Kotchman is batting .282 on the season with six home runs and 41 RBI.

I don’t quite understand the acquisition of Kotchman now that the Sox have Youkilis, Martinez, Kotchman, and yes, David Ortiz, who can play first base. My theory is that Kotchman was acquired to try and seal the deal with the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, but they just did not bite. Kotchman will serve primarily as a back-up.

3. David Ortiz

Well we certainly did not want to hear it, but apparently David Ortiz as well as former left fielder Manny Ramirez were named by the New York Times as steroid users in 2003. They were on the list (that was supposed to remain confidential) of the 100+ MLB players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. In response to being named, Ortiz said he was shocked to be named, but then proceded to hit two home runs, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

4. Josh Reddick

Here’s a lucky guy who was called up directly from AA Portland. Reddick is with the major league club while J.D. Drew is recovering from a groin strain that has limited his playing time the last few games. Reddick got his first major league hit Saturday night as he got the start in right field while Drew rested.

5. George Kottaras

Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher will have some time off as he hit his first DL stint in the majors. Kottaras has been playing with a lower back strain for a while now, and his time on the disabled list will most likely get him back in shape. His placement on the disabled list is retroactive to July 30.

6. Josh Beckett

The Red Sox ace finds himself back in a position he had during most of the 2007 season; leading the majors in wins. Beckett grabbed his 13th win of the season Saturday night against Baltimore. He pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 3.27 with his effort.

If Beckett continues to perform this way, he should see some Cy Young votes at the end of the year. He is currently first in wins, fifth in strikeouts, and eighth in ERA in the American League.

7. Clay Buchholz

The guy everyone thought was most likely to be dealt at the trade deadline ended up staying with Boston, and he was very grateful to be able to stay. Buchholz was nervous while awaiting the to hear whether he was traded or not, but he ended up staying put and started next week off by finishing up the series with Baltimore.

8. John Smoltz

The future hall of famer had another rough week and is not exactly putting up the kind of numbers the Red Sox were looking for. Smoltz had two starts this week on Sunday and Friday respectively, both against Baltimore, and neither were very good. Smoltz managed to get the win Friday night in a slugfest but between both games he let up 11 runs on 17 hits and struck out eight. He only walked one between both games, which is a plus, but pushed his season era to a dismal 7.12 and now has a record of 2-4.

9. Hot Bats

After such a long team batting slump, the offense is starting to get hot, and it’s getting hot at the right time. It seems every season the Sox have a terrible August, but hopefully this year the bats will push through. J.D. Drew, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mike Lowell are all swinging the bat very well lately and will hopefully continue to do so.

A Look Ahead

So with the trade deadline behind them and the acquisitions of Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman, the Sox look to be good shape for the final two months of the season. They have narrowed the Yankees lead on the AL East to just a half game.

The next week sees the Sox finishing the sweep in Baltimore, a visit to Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rays, and then a visit to the Bronx for a four-game weekend series with the New York Yankees.

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