A Red Sox trade for quality pitching would appear unlikely

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Joakim Soria #48 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Indians 5-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Joakim Soria #48 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Indians 5-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox need pitching, but do you just move sideways? There is plenty of average pitching available and Boston needs above average.

As summer takes off so does the yard sale season begin. And signs are posted around major league venues advertising – subtly – that players are available.  The curtain for this yearly rumor mill festival started out with a proverbial bang. The now wretched Kansas City Royals shipped closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals for some unexciting prospects. A joyful beginning as it involved a “name” player to get buyers and sellers in a real communal feeling. But what of the Red Sox?

The home town heroes could take two roads during the next six weeks in being both buyers and sellers. The most obvious candidate to be sent packing is Jackie Bradley with Blake Swihart just a nose behind in the race to be someone else’s problem. At this point, a rudimentary examination of the all blessed statistics clearly shows neither will be getting anything of significant help for the immediate, or even long-term future.

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The Red Sox also have Drew Pomeranz who is a free agent in waiting.  After his “illustrious” and injury plagued 2018 Pomeranz he will get rich only by sitting at the Park Street Station with a DD cup looking for a few Red Sox fans willing to contribute to his departure. The stark reality is Pomeranz will bring in little value unless a miraculous recovery takes place resulting in a proliferation of shutout innings. I will put that firmly into the “Pigs fly” category.

The rumor mill is being well-greased with a Rafael Devers trade possibility. The ultimate risk in shipping out a sweet swing that could blossom into a latter-day Mo Vaughn. Or Lars Anderson. The joys of risk and reward, but the president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has never been reluctant to fill up his dance card with quality young players to be sent elsewhere. Be aware – Andrew Benintendi – not to get too comfortable in Boston.

Just what do the Red Sox need? Everyone needs those mentality fragile creatures who sit on that middle of the diamond bump. Our bullpen is in a perpetual state of waiting for rehab assignments to conclude. Will Tyler Thornburg surface? The Carson Smith issue has already been rendered moot by the surgical scalpel.

Another arm in the bullpen is nice, but not just any arm. The Red Sox – as with most teams – have a boatload of those. Pedestrian players who don’t really kill you nor do they excite you. The Heath Hembree’s of the pitching world. But what about the Herrera’s?

Doing a cursory examination of pending free agents with awful teams offers a few possibilities. Is the once dominant Zach Britton a possibility? Last I was informed Britton was on a rehab assignment, but if the price demanded is relatively minor that may be an option. Last time we went the lefty route with the O’s it was Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez.

I would like lefty Tony Sipp in Boston. I would also like a Maserati with Heather Locklear as my chauffeur. I do believe Sipp will remain tethered in Houston. But what about right-hander Brandon Kintzler? A 1.48 WHIP and a 3.8 BB/9? I would rather feast on a ground glass buffet.

One name most certainly has a shiny keys attraction for me and that is righty Joakim Soria. The good news is in multiples for the 34-year-old veteran. Reasonable ERA, FIP, and even a delectable 1.7 BB/9. And he plays for the White Sox who are in a perpetual state of rebuilding.

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But since I also enjoy bad news, such as you need a new transmission, I look at Soria’s 37.7 GB%. There is also that balance left on an $8 MM contract. What Soria represents is the ability to close, set-up, and provide an arm that is historically better than several now building up their service time in the bullpen.

What it really all boils down to is there is not much in the way of an up in lights possibility on the market that could make a substantial difference. If the Red Sox wish to pry someone else loose you need something of value to exchange. And value usually is baseball speak for premium prospects. Our prospects are in extended surgical rehab, on the bad boys PED list, or being blown away by wooden arms in the International League and Eastern League. Old Mother Dombrowski’s prospect cupboard is bare.

The Red Sox rotation is five-men solid, but arms do have a way of shredding. Maybe Hector Velazquez of the “is he still with us?” Could Brian Johnson be plugged in? The Jalen Beeks experiment will certainly not win a baseball Nobel Prize. With that said the Red Sox may well just keep Pomeranz in the break glass in case of torn forearm muscle slot. Better to have too much pitching.

Next: Eduardo Rodriguez is key to a deep postseason run

The reality is clear – at least for me – that to fortify the pitching just may not be feasible based on what the Red Sox have to offer.  Average we can get for a JBJ, a Swihart, or a warm Pawtucket (AAA) body, but quality will cost quality.