David Ortiz

Read Sox: Planning for Next Year, the Beauty of Pedro Martinez and the Resurgent David Ortiz

Welcome back to Read Sox. This week we check in on what the Red Sox can move at the trade deadline, the legend of Pedro Martinez and what he means to the Dominican Republic, try to determine the best path to find an ace, say goodbye to Shane Victorino, and reflect on David Ortiz’s shot at being enshrined.

Going Deep

You may not have heard this, but the end of this week is the non-waiver trade deadline. With the season is disrepair the Red Sox should be seen as sellers, although that term frightens people so the powers that be offer tempered comments like “we are preparing for the next great Red Sox team.” That is a fine sentiment, but it probably involves getting rid of a bunch of current players (i.e., selling). Shane Victorino was the first to go, traded to Anaheim where he will get to watch Mike Trout do Mike Trout things from left field and, probably, his reserved seat on the disabled list. More on SHANF below. Other players who could be moved, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, include Mike Napoli, Alejandro De Aza, Jackie Bradley Jr., Wade Miley and Junichi Tazawa. That is not exactly a murderer’s row of options there. And that is the problem the team faces. They are sellers without a whole lot of stuff that will bring a good return. While it is still the best course of action to move the pieces they can and take chances on B- or C-level prospects, it seems unlikely that Ben Cherington and company are going to be able to get some magic beans for their unproductive cows. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe did an excellent job tracking the Red Sox‘s history at the trade deadline, and found that they almost always do something, and when in the position they are currently in the standings the moves are motivated by improving next season’s club. So expect a move or two more over the rest of the week, and look forward to next year.

I would be remiss if I did not include some discussion of Pedro Martinez’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Pedro is a legend in Boston, among other places. His 1999 and 2000 seasons, a time when offense ruled the game, are two of the best pitching seasons in the history of the game. The Boston Globe’s coverage of Pedro’s call to the Hall over the last couple of weeks has been excellent. But this piece about his pitch repertoire, with graphics of his grips, pitch movement, and statistical trends, stands out as must read/see stuff. Pedro the pitcher is one thing, but perhaps equally impressive as his on-field performances are his efforts off the field to be a symbol of possibility for the Dominican Republic, and Latin America generally. At a time when we have a moronic, multi-million dollar radio host denigrating the intelligence of an entire nation in as casual a manner as possible, there was Pedro, standing on-stage in Cooperstown, proudly representing his country by wearing a jacket with Dominican Republic patches, completing a large section of his speech in Spanish, repeatedly thanking his country and its people for their ongoing love and support, and finishing by waving the Dominican flag with fellow countryman and Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal. Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe has more on Pedro’s desire to be and position as an image of hope for so many. All told, Pedro is certainly an indelible figure in the history of the game.

If you want more Pedro Martinez coverage I recommend Baseball Prospectus’ celebration of him and the other members of the Hall Class of 2015.

Quick Hits

The “who is the ace of the rotation?” question has turned into a punchline as the season progresses, but the performance of Red Sox starters has been anything but amusing. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal digs deeper into how the Red Sox might get on the right path to finding an ace, explicitly examining comments made by Ben Cherington about how difficult it can be to do so.

As noted above, the Red Sox first move at the deadline was to trade oft-injured outfielder Shane Victorino to the Angels for Triple-A infielder Josh Rutledge. While Victorino has been mostly useless the past two seasons (63 games played, 0.4 WARP), he was undoubtedly a critical part of the stunning run to the 2013 World Series Championship; a time that he looks upon very fondly. Peter Abraham describes Victorino’s emotional final press conference in Boston for The Boston Globe.

With Victorino out of the mix, a space in the outfield was made available for players like Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Craig and, even Daniel Nava. The Red Sox have opted for their multi-million dollar Cuban, once again passing Bradley Jr. over for a chance at promotion, who, as Scott Lauber of the BostonHerald.com details, is having a tremendous season at Pawtucket.

On the day his buddy entered the Hall of Fame, David Ortiz was candid in talking about Pedro, calling him “the most unbelievable human being I have been around.” Ortiz then went out and had a wondrous night on the field, adding to an already strong resume for Hall of Fame consideration, something he admits has been on his mind of late.

Three Good Game Stories

Things reached a real nadir for the Red Sox last week, but then, as Adam Kurkjian of BostonHerald.com notes in his game story, the future core of Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts came through with a winning sequence to break the slump.

Sunday was a big day for the Red Sox organization with Pedro Martinez entering the Hall of Fame, but, as Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com writes that, it was also a big day for the Red Sox on the field as David Ortiz mashed them to a win over the Tigers.

All the fun of Sunday was swept away on Monday by another brutal Joe Kelly outing, who gave up four runs in the first inning and had no rhythm, but tells Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe that he will continue to fight hard to establish himself as an effective pitcher.

Photo by Winslow Towson/USA Today Sports Images

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