The Boston Red Sox are standing pat.
With Major League Baseball’s 4 p.m. Trade Deadline coming and going on Wednesday, the defending World Series champions decided to finish the 2019 season with what they have. And what they have is a team that needs more pitching.
They must now rely on their current roster to get them back into the postseason, as this is the first year that the MLB is going with only one trade deadline. In years past, July 31 represented the “non-waiver” trade deadline. After July 31, teams were still allowed to make acquisitions through the month of August, it just had to be via a waiver claim.
The league got rid of the waiver deadline, in the hopes that there would be more action on July 31. And even when the clock struck 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, it looked as if that strategy didn’t work. Until it was reported minutes later that the Houston Astros had acquired starters Zack Greinke and Aaron Sanchez in trades with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.
That’s a whole lot more than the Red Sox acquired, which is nothing. Boston’s president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn’t pull the trigger on a single deal Wednesday, and as a result, he will be heavily criticized for it.
As he should be.
There had been reports of talks between the Red Sox and New York Mets for starter Zack Wheeler or closer Edwin Diaz, neither of whom were moved at the deadline. But those same reports also had the Mets asking for a package that included either Andrew Benintendi or Jackie Bradley Jr.
In a post-deadline press conference on Wednesday, Dombrowski said it was ultimately the Red Sox’ decision to stand pat, and that they were the team to turn down trades that they could’ve made if they really wanted.
I believe that, especially if the Mets were asking for Benintendi or Bradley in a trade that doesn’t involve Noah Syndergaard.
But just because the Red Sox are now pounding their chest in the aftermath of no trade-deadline deals, that doesn’t mean they were right to do absolutely nothing whatsoever.
Okay, so don’t give up anyone from your Major League roster. Fine. But you mean to tell me the defending World Series champions couldn’t have moved a minor leaguer or two in order to add an arm to the bullpen? Even if it was an average arm at best, it would’ve been better than doing nothing at all.
Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox were just two games out of the second Wild Card spot. There are two months left in the regular season. You’re the defending champs. And you decide to just sit on your hands? I don’t understand that mindset.
The assumption is that the Red Sox will look to Nathan Eovaldi’s added presence in the bullpen as their “deadline acquisition,” as Eovaldi just returned from elbow surgery a week-and-a-half ago. But since returning, Eovaldi has allowed five earned runs in four appearances and 3.2 innings. So even he doesn’t look great right now.
That said, the concern shouldn’t be with Eovaldi. It should be with the other relievers whose job it’ll be to get to Eovaldi, if the plan is for Eovaldi to be the Red Sox closer down the stretch.
Dombrowski had an opportunity to add at least one arm to his middle relief on Wednesday. He failed to do so.
And that’s not the mentality of a defending champion anyone in Boston wants to see.
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