There was some news in the second half of the day on Friday that we didn’t get a chance to get to individually here at Over the Monster, which means it’s times for a notes post! We have some trade rumors as we are just two days from the deadline, as well as injury notes and some news from a Red Sox legend.
Rays showing interest in Christian Vázquez
This is the big piece of news as we barrel towards the trade deadline and certainly the juiciest rumor involving the Red Sox we’ve heard to date. The idea of trading Vázquez is controversial, and even here on our staff we have those who think it’s time and those who think that’s nutty. Well, it would appear that the Red Sox are at least entertaining the idea on a very basic level. According to a nugget in an article from Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli at The Athletic, the Rays are showing interest in the Red Sox catcher and the conversation centers around Tampa pitching prospects.
Now, we should mention that this is not a very in-depth report, which is not a knock on the reporters because it is an article about how teams are approaching the deadline with the league’s data-sharing network. It is a very interesting read, and these nuggets just happen to be included in the bottom. I only bring up the lack of depth because we don’t really know how one-sided these conversations have been. It’s very possible the Rays have made offers for Vázquez involving their pitching prospects and the Red Sox haven’t done much in the way of countering.
If there have been and/or will be more concrete discussions, though, it does make sense. We talked about the Rays as a potential trade partner last week, and in it discussed the possibility of them targeting Vázquez. Tampa Bay has tremendous depth and mixes and matches all around the diamond, but catcher has been their white whale in the lineup. This would shore up a very important position.
There’s also the fact, as mentioned in that article, that Bloom knows this system very well. That is an even more valuable fact than it would be in any other year since there is no minor-league baseball. It also helps that the Rays have the best farm system in baseball. Boston certainly isn’t getting someone like Wander Franco, the best prospect in the game, but the Rays are loaded with pitching prospects. Just in their FanGraphs top ten, they have names like Brendan McKay, Brent Honeywell Jr., Shane Baz and Shane McClanahan, with the first three being in the top 120 prospects in baseball.
I’ve largely been on the side of not trading Vázquez, as catcher is a very difficult position to fill and there is no obvious replacement for him outside of J.T. Realmuto in the offseason, but Realmuto will be expensive and aging, and I’m also not convinced he makes it to free agency at all. That said, to this point the theoretical of dealing him has been in a vacuum. There is certainly a return that could be had from Tampa Bay that makes this palatable, at least. It’s certainly the biggest storyline to watch over the next few days.
Astros interested in Matt Barnes
In that same article from The Athletic, Sarris and Ghiroli mention another Red Sox player drawing interest in Matt Barnes. The righty has obviously had a, frankly, terrible season so far. He’s just never seemed to get in a rhythm and doesn’t look like his old self. That said, he has a track record that says he can be very good and one of the elite strikeout arms in the game, and teams are likely not valuing one month of baseball as much as many of us do, whether we know we are or not.
As for the Astros specifically, they have not had the season they expected as injuries have caught up with them, but they are firmly in a playoff spot and are looking to shore up their holes for October. They have gotten some solid performances, but looking for some more experienced relievers to pair with Ryan Pressly makes sense. Barnes, of course, has pitched in multiple pennant races and one World Series run. That said, his performance so far this year will certainly have knocked his value down and the Red Sox wouldn’t be getting any sort of top prospect back for the righty.
Nathan Eovaldi pushed back again
Nathan Eovaldi was originally supposed to make his next start last Wednesday against the Blue Jays, but was pushed back to Saturday due to a minor calf issue. That got pushed back to Sunday after the team didn’t play Thursday out of protest, and now it is being pushed back again. Ron Roenicke indicated that Eovaldi threw a bullpen on Saturday and while it wasn’t anything major they want to wait until he feels nothing. That makes sense in a lost season like this, though it’s still frustrating to see the best pitcher on the team not able to pitch. Zack Godley will make the start on Sunday.
Manny Ramírez is back
Jon Heyman dropped a surprising bit of news on Friday night, reporting that Manny Ramírez has signed a deal with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. I am convinced Ramírez is just going to continue to play in more and more obscure leagues until he’s 80. It is also worth noting this will be Ramírez’s third color Sox team for whom he has played.