It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated this blog, but in this snowstorm I figured I might as well write something again. With players starting to show up in Fort Myers it’s time to start talking about the players in camp, and the players that are the most fun to talk about are the ones almost no one has ever heard of. The most interesting of that group of nobodies has to be righty Steven Wright. Wright was acquired at the trade deadline last year from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for former top prospect Lars Anderson. Wright sounds like any other run of the mill prospect being brought into camp, but he has something that makes him very special, the knuckleball. Although he’s never pitched a major league game in his life (and only 5 in AAA) John Farrell said he has a chance to make an impact in the majors this year. Whether or not that means making the opening day roster or even being in the rotation remains to be seen. Regardless, he’s a very interesting case. He could be the next Tim Wakefield or the he could end up being the next Charlie Zink, which is what makes him so interesting Will he be great or will he fall into oblivion without anyone noticing? Odds are it’ll be the latter, but I’m hoping the Sox will get another knuckleballer in the rotation. This year it’ll be tough for him to fit in with the rotation looking set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster, and even if one those 5 get injured he wouldn’t be the first option with Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa waiting for their shot in the rotation. Even though it’s a long shot how he performs this spring could have him leapfrog over both Morales and De La Rosa and give himself a very good shot to get sometime in the big leagues this year. Despite everything I’ve said though he most likely needs more time in AAA with, like I said earlier, just 5 games there with only 4 of them as starts. Hopefully sometime this year he’ll get his shot, but for now all we can do is watch him this spring.
Yesterday the Cleveland Indians designated former Red Sox starter and closer Derek Lowe. Within the next two days we’ll find out whether he’ll be traded or released by the Indians. It’s pretty safe to say he’ll be traded, because there’s interest from the Red Sox and Orioles. Now his history with the team draws fans to want him, but his numbers scare others away. There has been a need for a starting pitcher and Lowe fits the bill, but is a struggling sinkerballer the right fit. Aaron Cook’s sinker hasn’t solved any problems, so should we believe that Lowe’s sinker could save this season?
As with everything there’s a positive and a negative. I’ll start with the positives. The first thing is that he fills a need. Beckett could miss time, Cook has faltered, and Doubront may need to be shut down so a starter is needed. Derek Lowe obviously fits that, so he could be an option. He would have no problems with the Boston media, because he’s lived with it before. Also he says he just needs a slight tune up and he’ll return to his early season form, which was pretty damn good. If he’s correct about that he’d provide a huge lift to the struggling pitching staff.
Now on to the negative. He might be done. Simple as that. He was one of the top pitchers in Cleveland’s rotation, but then everything went down hill. Guys have been hitting him and hitting hard. Since June 1st he’s had a .350 batting average against him and an ERA over 8 with a record of 1-7. Overall he’s 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA which isn’t good by any means. If he has something left in the tank he could be worth something, but there’s a convincing case against him saying that he’s done.
If I had my say I’d take a shot on a Red Sox legend and try to get him back in shape. I know many fans would disagree, some more strongly than others, but I believe he’s worth something. I don’t think the PR wizards that is the Red Sox front office let this opportunity. So I think there’s a very high likely hood that he’ll be back in Boston very soon.
In the past two days there’s been a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox in the past couple days. Yesterday the Red Sox said in a press release:
“BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left hand and recalled both outfielder Ryan Kalish and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Kalish and Mortensen will be active for tonight’s game against the Tigers at Fenway Park. Additionally, the club today activated right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.”
Sweeney is likely done for the season if the Sox miss the playoffs, but he may return for the final games of the season. Kalish is returning to the Sox after a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors earlier this year. Mortensen was called up to fill the open spot Albers left, until Craig Breslow arrived which was just a few minutes ago. Chris Carpenter has missed the entire year with a right elbow surgery. He was the compensation received by the Sox for Theo Epstein.
Now on to the trades. Yesterday the Sox made two trades. The first was the Sox acquiring lefty Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. This move was made to give the Sox bullpen flexibility, so that Franklin Morales could be put back into the starting rotation. I like this move, because Morales had been very effective as a starter and I love that he’ll be returning to this role. Also the bullpen doesn’t lose anything, because Breslow is a great left reliever. I am a huge Albers and Podsednic fan, but there wasn’t a need for either of them (although you can never have enough pitching.)
The other trade was between the Cleveland Indians and the BoSox. The Sox acquired righty, knuckleballer Steven Wright for first baseman Lars Anderson. This a great move, because it brings everyone’s favorite pitch, the knuckleball. Also, Lars needed to be moved, because he had been blocked for a long while now and I’m glad they got a good return for him. Another great thing is that Tim Wakefield will work with Wright, so he’ll be taught well.
Today there were a few more roster moves that took place. Daniel Nava was placed on the DL with a sprained left wrist and able to be activated on Sunday August 12th. Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place. Clayton Mortensen was optioned to AAA to make room for Craig Breslow who was added to the 25-man roster.
And with that, that’s all the Red Sox have done the past two days. Ben Cherrington is a very busy man.
I was away for another week, this time in Winnebago, Nebraska, but there was no cell service or TV so I was a little behind. But now that I’m back here’s my catch up post.
For Red Sox news I think the only thing that I think missed is the Brent Lillibridge trade. Lillibridge was traded to the Cleveland Indians for RHP Jose De La Torre. I love this move, because they’ve turned nothing into something. Lillibridge has been proven to be worthless, but they were able to acquire a young reliever for him. De La Torre has been put in the closer role for AAA Pawtucket and I think he could be a key piece to the Red Sox bullpen in the future or a trade chip for today.
It’s no secret that the Red Sox bullpen has been bad. They need some type of quick fix to save the pen. As promised here’s my list of guys who can help save the bullpen by the end of May.
Huston Street RHP-SDP: I mentioned Street in my article yesterday. He’s currently the closer for the San Diego Padres. He doesn’t appear to be a trade candidate, because they just traded for him, but I’ve heard that they only got him to spin him off to another team, when his value got higher, for more. At this point the Sox may be reluctant to add a pricey closer, but at the same time you look at the problems with the bullpen you have to expand what you call too expensive. He can save the pen by bringing his closer experience along with some leadership. With a win-loss record of 30-21 with 179 saves and a career ERA of 3.09 he’s proven to be a quality arm over the past 8 years.
Jeff Gray RHP-MIN: Gray isn’t a name known by many and perhaps that benefits the Sox. Gray is a reliever for the Twins currently and has played for 5 different teams in his 4 year career. He hasn’t had too many chances to prove himself, but he ended last year strong and has started off this where he left off. The Twins don’t appear to be contenders this year and the asking price for Gray would likely be low and they might be able to get a quick and painless deal done.
Brandon Leauge RHP-SEA: Last year League established himself as an elite closer. Their Mariners were thrilled with his ability to step into the closer role in their time of need, but as a rebuilding team they entertained the idea of trading him this offseason. Hopefully the market for League is still open. It’s highly unlikely they’ll deal their closer within the first two months of the season, but everyone has their price. He’d be very valuable to the Sox, because of his AL East experience and his closer experience as well.
John Lannan LHP-WSH(AAA): Lannan’s situation in Washington is getting worse and worse and he wants out. Yes, Lannan is a starter, but he gives the Red Sox the option to send Bard back to bullpen which would obviously help the pen. Lannan would add a third lefty to the rotation which isn’t a bad thing, but it could lead to some match up problems with right-handed heavy lineups. I like the idea of adding Lannan, but I like the idea of putting Bard back into the pen a lot more.
Juan Carlos Oviedo RHP-MIA: I know the Red Sox don’t want another troubled reliever (Bobby Jenks) but Oviedo was pretty special when he was Leo Nunez. The Marlins considered non-tendering him in the winter, so we know they’ll be willing to part with him. Oviedo can still close games and a deal could be made.
Roberto Hernandez RHP-CLE: He’s a cross between Oviedo and Lannan a troubled starter. Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez has had an up and down career. The Sox did make a push for him at the deadline and can rekindle talks at a lower price. He also gives them the option to move Bard back into the pen and he could pitch pretty well in the rotation. If the price is right the Sox can’t pass up this oppertunity.
Junichi Tazawa RHP-BOS: I know he’s already part of the pen, but he hasn’t pitched yet, so he’s still got a clean slate. In 2009 he was able to showcase his ability and he had some pretty good stuff. He was fantastic in his short stay. I saw his start against the Yankees and that’s when I was sold that he was going to be good. Lately he’s been sidelined with injuries, but now he has his chance to establish himself as a big leaguer.
Brandon Duckworth RHP-BOS (AAA): Duckworth is currently a righty pitching for the PawSox. He has some major league experience, and he could end up being a quality reliever in the pen. Key word is could though.
Clayton Mortenson RHP-BOS (AAA): We dealt Marco Scutaro for him so the former starter turned reliever can have an impact on this team. He’s not always dominate, so he might not be a quick fix, but he has potential and I can only hope he’ll live up to it.
This list isn’t really a star-studded list, but that’s not the point of it. These are guys who can be acquired (or called up) and have an impact. There are other guys out there, but I complied this list based off of a little research and my own personal knowledge. Feel free to add names or pick apart this list. If you want, send me a tweet @thebestsoxblog (or at least follow me). Personally I like all of these guys, some more than others, and I’d be thrilled in the Sox got any of the 6 not on the team.