Drew Pomeranz

Dave Dombrowski is wheeling and dealing again.  Last night, the Red Sox GM, traded Anderson Espinoza, their top pitching prospect, to the San Diego Padres for All-star lefty Drew Pomeranz.  Dombrowski is clearly in a win-now attitude and is doing whatever he can to make this team better come October.  Many people are upset at Dombrowski because they believe that he gave up too much for Pomeranz.  Although it was only one player, Anderson Espinoza, is what many fans and scouts believe to be their best pitching prospect they’ve had in years.  He is only 18 years old but he was dominant pitching for the both the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and the rookie level Gulf Coast League Red Sox.  He has struggled a little in Low A Greenville and maybe Dombrowski didn’t see as much as other people did and decided this was the right time to pull the trigger.

People are also concerned about Drew Pomeranz.  Pomeranz is a 27 year-old journey man who has been traded multiple times, been sent to the bullpen, and been sent to Triple AAA.   He was the number 5th pick in the 2010 draft but before this year he was never able to find his groove.  In the 2016 season, Pomeranz is having a career year.  He is 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA, which ranked 3rd in the National League.  He’s never pitched over 100 innings, which is a concern, but this year feels different.

I understand why some Sox fans would be frustrated by this move, but I feel like Dombrowski did the right thing.  The Sox want to win this year and in order to do that they need good starting pitching. If Price, Wright, Porcello, and Pomeranz keep on pitching like they have all year than this team will be good enough to win a World Series.  The Pitching market is weak this year and in order to get something you have to give up something.  The Sox did that without giving up either Moncada or Benintendi.  They also have Pomeranz locked up until 2018 so it’s not like they gave up too much for a rental.  I’m sure Ortiz is feeling good about this deal because this is his last year and the ultimate goal for him is to go out as a four-time World Series Champion.

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Sox At The Break

July 10, 2016 at 7:45pm in Red Sox, Uncategorized
ORTIZZZ

The Red Sox are 49-38 at the all-star break, not bad since the last 2 seasons they were out of the playoff hunt at this time.  There are obviously places this team needs to improve before they can be legit contenders this season.  However all of us Sox fans should be happy with our team right now.

Team Grade B+

B+ seems like an acceptable grade to give this Red Sox team.  They have had some timely hitting, good pitching at time, and seems like this team enjoys each other’s company and playing everyday.

Biggest Disappointment

The biggest disappointment thus far has been Craig Kimbrel in my eyes.  Yes, David Price is a solid answer as well, however I really thought Kimbrel was going to be dominant.  Farrell also needs to do a better job using Kimbrell.  I actually think his stint on the DL could be a blessing in disguise.

Biggest Surprise

The common answer in this category is Jackie Bradley Jr, However the answer is David Ortiz.  Really who could have predicted this season from Ortiz?  He is top 10 in nearly every american league hitting statistic, and is hitting for both average and power this season.  More importantly he has been a real leader in the clubhouse and on the field.

MVP

Xander Bogaerts has been the best player for The Sox this season, you could even argue he has been the best player in baseball this season.  Xander is doing it both in the field and at the plate this season.  He is hitting .331 which is good for 2nd in the American League, already has double digit home runs with 10, and most impressively he has been hitting well to all fields this season.  Xander is cementing himself as the best shortstop and maybe player in the Majors.

 

 

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Red Sox acquire reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Dave Dombrowski has been in search of bullpen help as the August trade deadline fast approaches. Last night (or early this morning) the Red Sox acquired 36 year old righty Brad Ziegler from Arizona for prospects Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe. Ziegler will immediately help to stabilize a bullpen that has been teetering on the brink of implosion for months. Koji Uehara, while certainly effective at various times throughout the year, has been something of a “choose your own adventure” on the bump this season. You never know if you’re getting the dominant Koji we remember from 2013 who helped lead the Sox to a World Series title, or if you’re getting the guy we saw last night, giving up monster yabos to a less-than-stellar Rays lineup and nearly blowing a game that the Sox seemed to have in the bag. Junichi Tazawa, who has been an extremely valuable bullpen piece for the Sox over the past several seasons, has completely fallen off the rails this year. His ERA has ballooned since a solid start to the season, and he simply can no longer be relied upon in high leverage situations. Add in the fact that Carson Smith was lost earlier this year to Tommy John, and you begin to see why this move was imminent.

Ziegler will help to spell Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who has been dealing with some knee soreness in recent weeks. While Kimbrel certainly hasn’t been the dominant closer we all expected coming over from Atlanta in the offseason, he’s still the best relief pitcher on this staff by a wide margin. Dave Dombrowski didn’t bring Brad Ziegler in to take Craig Kimbrel’s job. The move is more of an “insurance policy” of sorts. Ziegler does an excellent job of pitching to contact, and he is a veteran reliever who is comfortable pitching in almost any situation. One of the biggest knocks on Kimbrel this year has been his inability to perform in non-save situations. Ziegler should help to remedy that issue, in addition to taking over the eighth inning role for Koji.

What really gets me excited about the Sox recent acquisitions is the idea that Red Sox front office is gearing up for bigger, better moves as the trade deadline draws closer. Getting a guy like Aaron Hill, who has been a terrific hitter at Fenway throughout his career (.308) to play third against lefties and give Pedroia the occasional day off at second was the first of what feels like many moves on the horizon for Dave Dombrowski and the Sox. Then Ziegler today, instantly fills another void.

In order to make the “big splashes” on the trade market, a savvy GM  first must take care of the leaks and crevices. Getting a big name pitcher the likes of Jose Fernandez of Chris Sale is of no value to the Sox if their bullpen is just going to give up the lead in the 7th or 8th. It’s now clear that the Sox are in it for the long haul, and that Dave Dombrowski has a few more tricks up his sleeve before the August 1st deadline.

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Kimbrel was selected to the 2016 ASG. Leon Halip (Getty Images)

Six Red Sox players were recently named to the All-Star team, with Dustin Pedroia currently on the outside looking in. Starting for the Red Sox in San Diego will be David Ortiz (DH), Xander Bogaerts (SS), Mookie Betts (OF), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF). Pitchers selected from the Red Sox include Steven Wright and Craig Kimbrel.

Five of the aforementioned names should have almost been shoo-ins. Ortiz, at 40, is hitting at an unbelievable rate. Bogaerts is clearly the best shortstop in the AL. Betts and Bradley Jr. have been impeccable in the outfield, and both are exceeding all expectations at the plate. Steven Wright’s ERA is 2.68, second in the AL.

But then there is one more name: Craig Kimbrel, who was acquired by the Red Sox for four prospects in the offseason. San Diego rightly touted him as the best closer in baseball, and at that point in time, it certainly seemed he was. When Boston brought him in, he was portrayed as a bullpen stabilizer and lock-down pitcher in the media.

When Kimbrel is called upon, who shows up on the mound might be based upon the score. From Scott Lauber (ESPN): “In save situations this season, Kimbrel has allowed nine hits and three walks in 18 2/3 innings, with 27 strikeouts and a 1.45 ERA. But in non-save situations, he has allowed 12 hits and 10 walks in 13 1/3 innings, with 21 strikeouts and a 6.75 ERA”.

These stats never shined brighter when Kimbrel faced the Rangers this week with a 3-2 Red Sox deficit. Kimbrel got zero outs, and gave up four runs, turning a potentially winnable game into an unwinnable one for the Red Sox, who are in dire need of wins.

So, is Kimbrel All-Star worthy? Is he worth the four prospects? Maybe. Some would argue that his 17 saves in 19 opportunities is respectable enough for a nod. But not many.

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Last year, the lone representative from the Boston Red Sox at the All-Star Game was Brock Holt. Holt saw little playing time, and the Red Sox were deservedly under-represented. This year however, the Sox seem primed to send four position players to San Diego to take on the NL.

This is even more exciting to hear knowing that four Red Sox players could be starting the game. Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all seem destined to have the highest vote-count at their respective positions, and the fans will likely see more Sox on the field in the first inning than any other team.

The final rosters for the ASG will be revealed at 7 pm on ESPN. Expect Boston to once again have a strong presence in the making of the AL team.

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Mookie Betts (Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

In the months of June, the Red Sox went an awful 10-16. During that span, the Orioles have opened a 5.5 game lead over the once first place Boston Red Sox, and the Blue Jays have suddenly found an identity (and are currently tied with the Sox for second place). Obviously, this does not bode well for Boston, and the excitement at the beginning of the season is now slowly being replaced with a feeling of dread.

One bit of good news for the Red Sox is that they are tied for first place in the AL Wild Card race. The Royals and Astros are both only a half game behind, however.

Looking ahead to July, the Sox will kick off the month by taking on the Angels in Boston for a three game set, followed by a four game series against the Rangers. The Red Sox will look to build momentum against a sinking Los Angeles team before doing battle against Texas.

At the moment, the LA Angels sit at 32-47, and are in last place in the AL West. This is a series the Red Sox will be looking to sweep, and hopefully gain some ground on both the Wild Card race and the AL East race.

To finish out the month, the Red Sox will play Tampa Bay (at home, 3 games), the Yankees (away, 3 games), San Francisco (home, 2 games), Minnesota (home, 4 games), Detroit (home, 3 games) and the Angels again (away, 4 games).

The Red Sox will willingly accept a seemingly easier month, as they play four teams that currently sit at .500 or below.

Dave Dombrowski is expected to be active at the trade deadline, and will hopefully acquire starting pitching that will propel the Red Sox to the postseason, one way or another. Price, who has had nothing short of a roller-coaster of a season thus far, has stated to the media that he knows he can play at a higher level, and most expect him to rebound in a good way in the second half of the season.

If the Red Sox can figure out starting pitching, and can come away with a good record in the month of July, they should once again find themselves near the top of their division. Keep in mind that the Red Sox still lead the majors in runs scored (434), batting average (.286), and on-base percentage (.354). They also have several players who are leading in All-Star polling at their respective positions (Ortiz, Bogaerts, JBJ, and Betts). This team can rebound, and quickly. It is not yet time to panic in Boston, but it is a good time to remember how long the Major League Baseball season is.

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Clay Buchholz (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox desperately needed a solid start from Clay Buchholz on Sunday; they did not get one. Sunday’s 6-2 loss can be attributed to a lack of timely hitting backed up by completely subpar pitching. It might be easy to say that it’s not surprising that Buchholz struggled against a Rangers team with the best record in the American League, especially with how Buchholz’s season has gone this year. But John Farrell used his faith in Buchholz to justify not bringing up a reliever from Pawtucket a night after Steven Wright did not make it out of the fifth inning, and two nights after David Price didn’t make it out of the third. Most Red Sox fans already knew that faith was misguided, and were not surprised when Buchholz allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base, putting giving the Rangers an immediate lead they would not give up. Buchholz also walked more batters (5) than he struck out (3), further illustrating why he was demoted to the bullpen earlier in the season. Sadly the Red Sox find themselves thin on options as far as starting pitching is concerned, but there really is no reason to send Buchholz back out for another start. He has had more than his fair share of chances in Boston, and he has proven that the only thing he can be counted on to do is under-perform.

A few more notes from Sunday’s game:

  • Bryce Brentz went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, the first of his Major League career. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox try to get Brentz some playing time in Left Field going forward, as his bat could be starting to heat up. His main competition in Left, Ryan LaMarre, has done absolutely nothing with the bat since coming up from Pawtucket, so there should be plenty of playing time available for whoever is performing at the moment.

Continue reading Buchholz Struggles, Bats Fail Red Sox In Texas Finale »

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