A lot of good questions this week surrounding Stephen Drew, future deals, and whether the Red Sox should give up on the season.
As I’ll reiterate later in this mailbag, it’s too early to give up on the season if you’re the Red Sox, and I think Ben Cherington pointed that out in his recent comments.
The scouts and general managers I speak to during the course of a day are all aware of Boston’s outfield problems, so they’ll soon begin offering some players for Boston to consider. The Red Sox really would love to solve this from within – get Shane Victorino healthy, get Daniel Nava hitting, get Jackie Bradley to take the next step, and hope that Grady Sizemore turns the corner and is able to get through what he thinks is his last phase of his two-year rehab – getting his legs strong.
That’s what Cherington has been waiting for.
Drew was an easy fix when Cherington needed a left-side infielder because he didn’t have to give up any talent for him. The outfield deal will require giving up something Cherington probably doesn’t want to give up.
I offered plenty of options in a recent column on the outfield situation.
As Cherington pointed out on Tuesday, he’s also looking for the team to show him signs that it can hang in there and begin to turn it around before he lets talent go for an outfield fix.
Here’s the mailbag:
Who will the Red Sox get at this year’s trade deadline?
David, Providence, R.I.
Tell me where they are in July. If they’re in the hunt, wouldn’t shock me to see them try to obtain another starting pitcher. The Philadelphia guys – Cliff Lee (if he’s healthy) and Cole Hamels – are possibilities. If they’re not in it, the Red Sox could sell off a few veterans who may not be in their plans next season, such as Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross, and Grady Sizemore.
Is there any chance the Sox can make a play for Alex Gordon since the Royals are in last place? Seems like a perfect fit.
Jeff, Discovery Bay, Calif.
He would be of interest to the Red Sox. Red Sox executive Allard Baird drafted him in Kansas City, but the Royals are in the hunt and probably will stay within striking distance, so I don’t expect that.
If the slow start lingers and if they don’t think they can re-sign him, at what point do the Red Sox think about trading Jon Lester? What would a half-season rental gain in return?
Parnellville, Metairie, La.
This will be a tough one. I don’t believe that even if they’re out of it they would deal him. I think they want one more serious negotiation with him and I’m not sure if that’s going to come before the trading deadline.
I am not a Steven Drew fan. I still believe it was a waste of $10 million and that there was no reason to move Xander Bogaerts to third base and Brock Holt to the outfield. If they do not want to have Drew bat against lefties, why was he rushed to Boston instead of remaining in Pawtucket until he got his stroke worked out? How is the team better right now as compared to Bogaerts at SS and Holt at 3B? So far you are the only fan/writer I have seen that is in favor of this signing.
George, Ringoes, N.J.
If you don’t like him, you don’t like him. Not trying to convince you otherwise. As Ben Cherington pointed out, on May 21, when Drew was signed, they needed a left-side infielder. There was no cost, other than his salary, associated with the purchase of Drew, who was the favorite of pitchers, the players, the coaches and the manager. It’s important they feel comfortable with who is on the field. Bogaerts had the third worst DFS (Defensive Runs Saved) score in the majors at his position. We know how much Middlebrooks struggled. And, the most incredible thing of all, he’s played four games.
Is it too early to consider whether the David Ortiz/Dustin Pedroia off-season signings were a mistake?
Jay, Los Angeles
I would say they’re not mistakes. Neither is having his best year, but they are players you want on your team. Pedroia will get hot at some point, I think, and Ortiz won a game the other night, His power numbers aren’t far off what they usually are.
Toronto has the third-best record in MLB and the Red Sox are well behind, yet there are several sports writers who insist the AL East is still up for grabs with the Sox still one of the teams that can win it. One look at the roster of this team – especially the worst outfield in baseball – would tell anyone this is nonsense. Why do these writers insult our intelligence?
Mel, New York, N.Y.
I guess you’re saying things can’t change and they will remain the same. Things can change rapidly. The Red Sox have proved that. They lost 10 straight, won seven straight and lost five straight. Most of these teams are one good streak away from being in the thick of things. So, you either look at it half-full or half-empty. Or in your case completely empty. You might be right. I can’t sit here in June and predict you’re right. The Cleveland Indians were 34-35 on June 17 last year and wound up 97-70, that’s 63-35 the rest of the way. The Tampa Bay Rays were 36-35 on June 22 last season and went 56-36 the rest of the way. The Red Sox have a little farther to go, but can they sneak into a wild card spot if they straighten their team out? Sure they can.
I cannot help but wonder if at least part of Daniel Nava’s hitting problem is that John Farrell seems to prefer Jonny Gomes over Nava. Even last year when Daniel Nava was hitting .300, Farrell said the team was better with Gomes in it. That must have been discouraging to Nava. What are your thoughts?
Karen, Vicksburg, Miss.
That seemed to be the case in the postseason last year and the early part of this season. But that has changed as Nava is now getting more opportunities than Gomes as he slumps and Nava seems to be on the upswing.
The Sox have multiple prospects in the farm system they hold in high esteem, but what do your sources say about them now? Do they look at any of them as a true No. 1 in case they don’t re-sign Jon Lester? Do you think they would consider John Lackey as their No. 1 next year until the young arms are ready?
Great question. Every organization is going to play up their own guys, so to get an objective evaluation you usually go to scouts from other teams whose job it is to evaluate other prospects. The consensus seems to be that lefty Henry Owens translates into a good No. 3 or better in the majors. There’s good vibes on Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, who could fill spots on the back end. And nothing says they’re right and the Red Sox are wrong. Lackey has been terrific and Clay Buchholz is the most talented for sure, but has been so undependable due to injuries. If they do not re-sign Lester, I’ll bet they sign a pitcher a little less costly. Maybe a guy like Justin Masterson.
Brock Holt has been a pleasant surprise. Xander Bogaerts is turning the corner toward being an everyday shortstop. With Drew back on the club and first base missing two veterans with injuries, why move everybody around just to accommodate Drew, who will be gone by the end of the year? Put Drew at first and let the youngsters settle in at their proven positions.
John, Fleming Island, Fla.
Again, I think you underestimate Drew. He’s a run-saver. Putting him at first is not the purpose of him being here. He may be here for just the remainder of the year, but this is the year you’re trying to win in. I think there’s a tendency by some to just write off this year. You may have to do that, but you don’t need to do that this early.