Three Red Sox players — Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts — along with the team’s coaching staff are out in Cleveland to enjoy the week’s All-Star festivities. The rest of the roster is with their families or doing something else entirely, but definitely not playing baseball. It’s a break for everyone, except for the front office. It’s clear that if the Red Sox want to compete for the second half of the season, and there’s no reason to believe they don’t, they are going to need reinforcements. According to Ken Rosenthal, they are trying to at least start that process soon. The Athletic reporter tweeted on Monday that the Red Sox are pushing to to add a starting pitcher, and would prefer to act sooner than later.
#RedSox pushing to add a starting pitcher, sources tell The Athletic. Would prefer to act sooner rather than later. Casting wide net.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 8, 2019
When the Red Sox announced that they’d be bringing Nathan Eovaldi back to the roster as a reliever rather than taking the time getting him ready to start, one of the clear ripple effects was the massive hole they’d be leaving in the back of the rotation. It’s been a major challenge for them all year since the righty got hurt to fill that final rotation spot, and there is no obvious answer in the organization to fill that role at even a replacement level for more than a few innings at a time. With a clear and obvious hole that is not going to be fixed internally, it only makes sense to fix it with a trade as quickly as possible. It also helps that other teams they are competing with in the postseason race will also be looking for pitching, and beating them to the punch can’t hurt.
That said, there are a couple of significant road blocks that need to be hurdled for a trade to actually happen. The first is that the Red Sox simply don’t have the prospect capital of basically any other team in baseball. Boston has either the worst or one of the worst farm systems in baseball. The Red Sox have the talent to get deals done, but they won’t win many bidding wars and will have to get more creative than other teams to do so. Additionally, ownership and the front office has spoken at length about not wanting to add payroll this year. In this interview of John Henry from Rob Bradford of WEEI, the owner says “We’re already over budget and we were substantially over our budget last year and this year. We’re not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll.” So, either the team is reversing course on that idea or, again, they’ll have to get creative to add legitimate talent while also keeping their payroll in a similar space. None of this makes a deal impossible, but it does make things more difficult.
We’ll have more in the coming day or two about potential targets and potential trade chips, but for the time being we’ll be keeping our eyes on the ol’ Twitter machine and keep you updated on any new developments.