The Boston Red Sox are on a search of all known and some unknown baseball hot spots for roster reinforcements. Maybe they will succeed, but don’t count on it.
The town where I live has a massive landfill (AKA – Dump). In one area where you bring in recyclable items, there are goodies set aside that may still be of use. The condition is generally as expected since they were being discarded. But occasionally you can sift through and find something that actually merits attention. The Red Sox are now sifting through the baseball landfill.
Brandon Phillips was once an All-Star. A plus defender with four Gold Gloves and a bat that could give a pitcher a nosebleed. The Phillips of five years ago was the real deal. He once drove in 103 runs (2013) and in another season banged out 30 home runs (2007). This move represents completely the idea expressed by Toby Keith in hopes that Phillips (and others) could be “As good as I once was.”
Last season the Red Sox went to the pitching well and the catch of the day was Doug Fister. Fister was a late June pickup when dumped by the Angels and certainly had his moments with the Red Sox. Unfortunately, the good moments were depreciated by the bad moments culminating in a playoff disaster start against Houston.
The Red Sox are not alone in sniffing through the baseball landfill as teams have that smell of desperation at the halfway mark. Injuries, poor performances, and a sudden realization that a playoff spot is not as remote as Voyager 1. So they search diligently in hopes that somewhere a reclamation project could give you a few quality at-bats or innings. Generally, it is a fruitless search.
The Red Sox pitching staff has sprung a leak or two. Not a Titanic type leak, which would be Chris Sale showing up with his electric left arm in a sling, but triage is needed. I do not get excited about a Brian Johnson start and a wee bit more excited by a Hector Velazquez start. Nor do I expect pitching miracles by tossing Jalen Beeks into the fire.
If the Red Sox had anything to offer I’d be on the phone, FAX, email, Instagram, etc. to the New York Mets making inquiries about Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but somehow I suspect the names being requested from the dismal and disappointing Mets would be an open revolt in Red Sox Nation if management shipped out a Rafael Devers or Andrew Benintendi.
The next few weeks the search will intensify with teams turning over various rocks looking for someone who can field, hit, or pitch with anything closely resembling major league ability. Already we have seen teams taking a Phillips like shot at an unsigned borderline free agent or making a trade move for a flatline fWAR player.
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The Red Sox are stuck at the landfill since our farm system is depleted and may take years to rebuild. That inhibits moves for the real guarantees in the help department. Manny Machado is not coming to Boston. I doubt any notable on the cusp of free agency star will be heading to the Athens of America since what do we offer?
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski undoubtedly has a fleet of scouts out beating the bushes to find anyone who may be serviceable for the second half romp to 100+ wins. The team is relatively solid in all positions, but the needs are well-recognized – especially on the mound and second base. Maybe they will find another Dave Roberts? Maybe get a Jake Peavy type for a minor league prospect? Maybe a minor league player will get his shot like Devers and contribute?
The reality is the Red Sox will be thinking small as in no “up in lights” player coming to Beantown unless somehow another GM is coerced into parting with the “good stuff” – a highly doubtful scenario. The only good news is our major competition – The despicable New York Yankees – are in a similar bind. The bad news is the aptly named “Bronx Bombers” have money and prospects that open up a world of opportunity.