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Red Sox Reality: Don't Make Another Trade

The Red Sox simply should not make another trade this season unless it's a long-term solution and a real steal.  Aside from getting Chris Sale straight up for Dan Butler, the Sox should not get involved in another trade.

The Sox actually are about as well situated as they can get on pretty much every front.  That's not to say they are a perfect team, just that the cost of getting anyone who would substantially improve them is prohibitive.

The starting rotation is clearly the spot for which most fans are crying for improvement, with the bullpen a close second.  But in the starting rotation, David Price is one of the best pitchers in baseball and we should expect him to pitch like it.  His high strikeout and low walk totals, and his health, bode well for him.  It looks likely that the Sox' fate with rest on the one game Wild Card playoff, so much of the season really hinges on that one start by Price.  Short of Sale, there's no one available on the market who would be an improvement over Price in terms of our chances of winning that one game.

After Price, Steven Wright is on pace for a 20-win, 3.12 ERA, 180 strikeout, and 218 inning season.  It seems like he's hit a rough patch, but who are you going to get who is better than that.  You have an answer?  Wow, well now that you have that answer: how are you going to get that guy while keeping Yoan, Benintendi, Devers and Groome?  If you still have an answer, you probably also thought the Sox could have gotten Drew Pomeranz for a price less steep than Anderson Espinoza.  We couldn't have.  You don't get All Star, 27-year old starting pitchers with 2.5 years of control for second tear prospects.  Believe it or not, the general managers on other teams also know how to do their jobs and expect talent for talent. 

Speaking of Pomeranz, that was a great pick up.  Of course it might not pan out, or perhaps he gets tired in his first full season as a starter but really dominates next year.  Remember, this guy was the #5 pick in the draft.  We're not talking about smoke-and-mirrors success from a middling talent or freak first half from a reliever-turned-starter.  As a sophomore at Ole Miss, this was a kid who started the first game of his playoff regionals on a Friday, then came back on 2 days rest and "held a no-hitter heading into the seventh inning and limited the (Western Kentucky) Hilltoppers to one unearned run on two hits. He walked one batter and struck out 16. The 16 strikeouts tied the single-game record".  His MLB career might have started slowly because he was still tired from that epic performance, which his coach compared to Schilling's bloody sock game.  Pomeranz is a good pitcher and the best starter on the market.  No guarantees, but that's baseball.

And Rick Porcello is very Rick Porcello.  He rarely dominates but he always wins.  He's on a pace to go 21-3 with a 3.57 ERA (and falling), and 208 innings.  Sure, I guess I'll take that from my third/fourth starter. 

Lastly, Eddie Rodriquez is the ideal 5th starter: a high-ceiling young starter learning his craft in the backend of the rotation.  He'll dominate at times, he'll struggle at times, but he'll also probably position himself to be a star in coming years and maybe he's the dominant lefty in the bullpen in the playoffs.  The only way he gets to that next step is by pitching in the bigs now.

There really isn't room for much improvement here.  Would the Sox be improved in the short term by getting Rich Hill, Andrew Cashner, Matt Shoemaker, or Jeremy Hellickson?  And someone like Hellickson is apparently only available for a top-5 prospect from some sucker organization.  For the Sox, that would mean someone like Sam Travis, Michael "105mph" Kopech, or Josh Ockimey for a guy who doesn't upgrade the rotation.  That would be dumb.

As for the bullpen, the Sox could use help but they also are getting help.  Tazawa is back, Matt Barnes has been solid, and Brad Ziegler has been great.  Craig Kimbrel is almost back as well.  Throw in Robby Ross who has been solid and Joe Kelly who maybe finally has a home, and you have the makings of a strong bullpen.  If we ever see Koji again I call that a bonus. And next year, you have Carson Smith coming back and maybe Pat Light or Noe Ramirez ready to live up to their potential.   In the meantime, some mix of Buchholz (who shouldn't be traded unless you get value given his value as a 6th starter), Tommy Layne (who hasn't been great), and Heath Hembree can sit at the end of the bench and laugh at Robby Ross's mad dashes for bullpen homers.  As with the starters, the chance of upgrading here without losing something you'll miss from the minors seems minimal.  Maybe a solid lefty could help. That said, E-Rod or even Pomeranz might fill that role in the playoffs. 

Lastly, leftfield.  Again, no reason to make a trade.  Brock Holt is ok out there, especially when he doesn't play all the time.  Bryce Brentz has filled in admirably and we'll be upgrading when Chris Young returns.  Meanwhile, Blake Swihart might come back and have an impact, and I almost guarantee we see Andrew Benintendi get a shot as the starter within the month.

Yet another downside of my fellow Sox fans' belief that they can get any talent they want and don't really have to give up anything they are excited about is that they always think that someone out there would clearly be better than what we have.  Let me end the suspense right now: there is nothing out there this year worth spending what it would cost to get that person.  Unless of course the White Sox really want a 30-year old backup minor league catcher.


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