A year ago, the Red Sox represented baseball’s epicenter of the trade deadline solar system.
This year, the team was limited, according to a league source, as “lots of talk and not much action,” with another describing the activity as “a whole lot of nothing.”
The Red Sox made one minor move, acquiring minor league righthanded reliever Ryan Cook in exchange for a player to be named, according to two major league sources.
Cook, 28, was a bullpen standout for Oakland, posting a 2.60 ERA from 2012-14 while striking out 9.3 batters per nine innings. For a time, he served as the A’s closer. However, he was hit hard in four games early this year, permitting five runs in 4 ⅓ innings and struggling with his control before being optioned to Triple A Nashville. He has a 4.05 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 14 walks in 33 ⅓ innings.
Manager John Farrell told reporters that the Sox are “looking for the potential for a bounceback and how that could play into the construction of a bullpen for next year.”
The Red Sox did examine possibilities for adding impact players that might have represented difference makers in 2016, with the team connected to conversations about Padres righthanded starter Tyson Ross and closer Craig Kimbrel along with Indians righthander Carlos Carrasco. However, one major league source said that a rumored three-team deal involving the Red Sox, Cubs, and Padres was “truly a Twitter fiction.”
The Sox did not part with any players who will be eligible for free agency after this season, with players like Mike Napoli, Alejandro De Aza, Justin Masterson, and Craig Breslow all remaining on the roster.
However, all could be candidates to be moved in August — when players can either be traded to clubs who claim them off waivers or can be traded to any team once they’ve cleared waivers. (The July 31 deadline merely represents an opportunity for clubs to make deals without passing players through waivers.)
Napoli (still owed more than $5 million) and Masterson (still owed more than $3 million), in particular, are considered likely to sail through waivers given the remaining salary obligations to them.
In other words, the Sox could be a more active trader in the coming month than they were in the buildup to July 31.