Red Sox 2018 trade deadline recap: Contenders made moves to improve

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – JULY 27: Steve Pearce #25 of the Boston Red Sox looks on before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on July 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – JULY 27: Steve Pearce #25 of the Boston Red Sox looks on before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on July 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

Who we got

The Red Sox started their shopping early, picking up Steve Pearce from the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of June. Boston was near the bottom of the league in batting average and OPS against left-handed pitching at the time, making a right-handed bat a priority. They have since climbed to the middle of the pack against lefties.

We can’t give all the credit to Pearce for that improvement but he deserves his fair share. Pearce is hitting .333 with a .921 OPS, five doubles, and a home run in 17 games with the Red Sox. He hasn’t been utilized exclusively against lefties but he’s been everything the team could have hoped for as a lefty masher, slashing .500/.579/.875 over 16 at-bats.

All eyes were on the trade market for a reliever, yet in a surprise move, the Red Sox acquired a starting pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi. The hard-throwing right-hander is third in the majors with an average fastball velocity of 97.2 mph (minimum 60 innings).

Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez remain sidelined by injuries. Now Chris Sale has joined them on the disabled list. Drew Pomeranz is still trying to find himself on the mound following his latest return from a DL stint. Rotation depth was a greater priority than we initially realized.

Eovaldi impressed in his Red Sox debut, tossing seven scoreless innings in a win over the Minnesota Twins. He picked up five strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter, which is fairly typical for Eovaldi. He pounds the strike zone and rarely allows himself to get beat by free passes.

Boston didn’t make any last-minute deadline deals on Tuesday but they did swing a trade the previous night. The Red Sox acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Los Angeles Angels to shore up their infield defense.

Kinsler’s arrival signals that the Red Sox have little confidence that Dustin Pedroia can return this season. Eduardo Nunez has been the primary replacement at second base but his defense has been atrocious. Brock Holt has also filled in at the position but he’s better off staying flexible in a role where he can be utilized all over the field.

Trading for Kinsler solves those problems. The former Gold Glove winner is second among major league second basemen with 10 defensive runs saved. Infield defense has been an issue for the Red Sox all season but adding Kinsler up the middle will make a significant difference.

A slow start marred by injury has dragged down Kinsler’s numbers at the plate but he was starting to heat up as the deadline approached. Kinsler blasted eight home runs in the month of June and he’s hitting .316 with a .842 OPS in July.

A Red Sox team with the best record in the majors didn’t have many holes to patch up yet they added three players who can make a difference down the stretch.