Welcome back to Read Sox. This week we take another look at the state of the struggling rotation and consider how it can be bolstered at the non-waiver trade deadline. We then focus on Steven Wright’s journey to success, the probable end of Rusney Castillo’s chances with the Red Sox, David Ortiz regretting announcing his retirement ahead of time and the promotion of Yoan Moncada.
Through Tuesday’s games the Red Sox’s offense is still the best run-scoring group in baseball. Alas, the thing that has held the Sox from performing at a Cubs-like level is their run prevention. Beyond David Price and breakout star Steven Wright, the starting rotation is a bit of a mess. That is probably too harsh an assessment of Rick Porcello, as his ERA, cFIP and DRA are all below league average and, as Christopher Smith of MassLive.com notes, through 14 starts Porcello has been much better this year than he was last year.
After Porcello is the morass of Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Henry Owens and Roenis Elias. Rodriguez has made four starts since returning from the disabled list and only one of them was good. In his Red Sox notebook, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe writes that the organization has told Rodriguez that his time in the big league rotation is running out. If Rodriguez needs more time at Triple-A to get his mechanics and focus sorted out that is fine. But the question then becomes: who replaces Rodriguez? The fifth spot is already being used as an open tryout from week-to-week with no one doing much to show they should hold the job.
After five good outings in relief, Buchholz got another chance to start on Tuesday night against the White Sox. His first pitch was hit for a home run, his second pitch was hit for a double, and his third pitch, a ball, received cheers from the home crowd. He settled in for five innings, but allowed another home run and did not exactly instill confidence that he can be effective going forward. Buchholz spoke with Alex Speier of The Boston Globe about the difficulties of his 2016 season thus far. Buchholz seems to endlessly be the guy with all kinds of potential who can’t put it together for long periods.
Given that none of Owens, Kelly and Elias are likely to solve the rotation’s current woes, the fix will need to come from outside the organization. With the non-waiver trade deadline a little over a month away it is worth thinking about what the Red Sox will (or should) do to improve the club. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests a number of players for whom the Red Sox should consider trading and does not shy away from big names. Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, and Sonny Gray are examples. To me, Cole and Sale are unlikely to get moved this season, but Fernandez or Gray could be had, albeit at a steep cost in prospects. Despite the cost, at Over the Monster, Marc Normandin reminds us that the Red Sox are going to move some of their prospects eventually as that is part of what prospects are for: chips to fill holes on the major league team. That, and some of the emerging players at the lower levels are blocked by someone on the major league team. The counter point to this idea is given by Bill Ballou at The Providence Journal, who used the organization’s history in trade deadline deals for pitching as a cautionary tale.
Regardless of your thoughts on which prospects should be moved (if at all), there are clear holes to fill: starter, reliever, left fielder, left-handed bench bat. With the Red Sox in contention this season, the next month of trade rumors and proposals should be more fun than it was in the last two seasons when the team was on the selling side of things.
Steven Wright, a bright spot in the aforementioned struggling rotation, continued his impressive season on Monday night, throwing nine innings of one run ball, lowering his RA9 to 2.84. Wright spoke with the Boston Herald’s Evan Drellich to give an inside look at how he remains a calm, relaxed presence on the team. The story contains interesting insights into Wright’s development as a baseball player, and also how turning to Christianity helped mature his outlook on life.
Rusney Castillo was outrighted off the 40-man roster on Monday, as his continued ineptitude with the bat makes him useless to the major league team. In the Providence Journal, Tim Britton writes that while this move could be read as an effort to correct Castillo’s issues, it is more likely that he is not part of the team’s future plans. Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe has more on Castillo’s demotion, focusing on what has turned out to be a disastrous contract.
When David Ortiz announced he would be retiring after the 2016 season I thought it was a curious decision. After seeing other players go through the year-long goodbye party he must have known how making the announcement would change, at the very least, his media commitments for the season. Well, he apparently underestimated the extent of the change and as a result regrets the decision. In an interview with Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes, Ortiz talked about how there are too many people to whom he needs to pay attention and how the demands on his time are affecting his ability to prepare for games. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, despite his stellar performance thus far, Ortiz is not changing his mind about retiring. He says the daily grind and pain are too much to go through for another year.
While one man’s Red Sox career is coming to an end, another’s is progressing. This past weekend, the organization promoted top-prospect Yoan Moncada from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland. At Bleacher Report, Bill Speros has a great profile of Moncada and the hype that has followed him since he was signed. The hype will only increase with this promotion. For more on what led the Red Sox to promote Moncada up to Portland, check out Alex Speier’s article outlining the baseball/organization perspective on the move in The Boston Globe.
Three Good Game Stories
Monday night’s series opening game against the White Sox was there for the Red Sox taking in the bottom of the ninth, but after loading the bases with nobody out they failed to score. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald has more on the Red Sox failure in the big moment.
On Father’s Day the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners behind another great start from David Price. Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com details the game and how in Price’s last eight starts he has been pitching like the dominant starter for whom the Red Sox paid.
In his coverage of Saturday’s win for WEEI.com, John Tomase noted that Rick Porcello managed his way in-and-out of trouble, ultimately providing a much-needed solid outing from a starter not named David Price or Steven Wright. In support of Porcello, the Sox’s offense scored 6 runs with Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. going yard.
Photo by Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images