Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole injuries likely hurt Red Sox in free agency and trade market

World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

As the Boston Red Sox continue to play the waiting game in free agency, other teams across the league get increasingly desperate for the offerings on the market as we get closer to the start of the regular season.

Spring training games are in full swing and Opening Day is just a few weeks away. Clubs are beginning to work their usual starters into Grapefruit and Cactus League rosters, and some injuries have taken hold.

The Red Sox are already down one starting pitcher in Lucas Giolito, and some minor injuries to a few key bullpen pieces are cause for concern.

But Boston is not the only team grappling with injury issues early on. Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole got an MRI on his throwing arm after he experienced an issue in his recovery time following a spring training start. Aaron Judge also had an MRI on his abdomen after the Yankees organization told reporters that his surprising early exit from a spring training game was fully planned.

While Judge's MRI came back clean, there's no telling yet what the results of Cole's scans will show. But for someone who's been lauded as one of the best and most durable pitchers in the league, any injury news is cause for concern from his clubhouse.

Red Sox, Yankees desperation for pitchers could kill them both in the free agent and trade market

The worry is palpable from the Yankees organization, as there is news that they've re-engaged with the White Sox about a potential trade for Dylan Cease after being denied multiple times this offseason. The news does not bode well for Cole's results.

As teams get more desperate for players, hopefuls in the free agent market and clubs with players on the trade block understand their need for replacements. And that deters them from lowering their prices.

The White Sox have been declining offers from teams for Cease all offseason and they claim that no offers have met their expectations. It's the same reason Jordan Montgomery is still on the free agent market — reports have surfaced that he hasn't deviated from his original asking price and no one has made an offer he and his agent, Scott Boras, deem appropriate.

Now, there's no reason to alter prices in either the trade or free agent markets. Two of the three most valuable clubs in the league — the Yankees and Red Sox — are growing increasingly distressed by their pitching situations. Boras, also Blake Snell's agent, and the White Sox organization know these two teams have the money and resources to meet their asking prices.

And now they also know that the Yankees and Red Sox need help more than Montgomery and Snell need the money.

Boston could've signed Montgomery weeks ago, when rumors about meetings between the two parties were at their peak. Giolito was healthy and the Red Sox rotation didn't look quite as desolate as it does now, with two spaces available instead of just one. Boston would've needed both Montgomery and Giolito to make a difference in the rotation. Even if he signs now, it still feels like a punt on the season without two healthy top starters.

But, as they have all winter long, the Red Sox's self-imposed limitations have likely ended up shooting them in the foot. The waiting game can work sometimes, but Boston waited too long.

And that may have been the plan the whole time, just to avoid spending money.

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