Post-Trade Deadline Predictions for Boston Red Sox
Unless you consider acquiring Craig Breslow, trading a minor leaguer and placing Ryan Sweeney on the disabled list exciting, the Boston Red Sox were very boring and inactive on the July 31 trade deadline.
Boston GM Ben Cherington thought he would improve the Red Sox by trading Scott Podsednik and Matt Albers to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, the deal confirmed via the team’s website.
Aside from that, the only other news coming out of Boston was that they placed Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day DL with a fractured pinky that could cost him the rest of the season.
Cherington must be convinced that the team can now make a run towards playoff contention, but it sure will be close.
Here’s a look at how the remainder of the season could play for the Red Sox.
Daniel Bard Suceeds in Return
Whether the fans like it or not, Daniel Bard will eventually return from Triple-A Pawtucket to the major league bullpen.
Bard severely struggled in the Boston starting rotation and was still bad right after his demotion to the minors. Bard has, however, improved over the last two weeks. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last six outings, going six innings while giving up three hits, walking three and striking out six.
Bard’s minor league numbers aren’t too pretty yet, but progress is progress.
Once he makes it back to the Boston bullpen, expect him to pitch much better than earlier in the season. Sure, there will still be plenty of pressure on him to succeed, but a lot less pressure than while he was in the rotation.
I’m not expecting Bard to come back as the dominant setup man he was last season, but a reliable right-handed option is what you should look for.
Andrew Bailey Doesn't Pitch Well
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I’m not one to judge long-term deals right away, but based off of the production of Josh Reddick and Andrew Bailey this season, I’m displeased with the trade from the offseason.
Bailey has yet to throw a pitch in a Boston uniform, while Reddick has hit 22 pitches out of the park this year with the Oakland Athletics.
Even when Bailey makes his way to the Red Sox bullpen, I don’t see him making a big impact. He was a decent closer in Oakland, but Alfredo Aceves has solidified his role as this year’s closer and it wouldn’t make sense to change that up now.
Bailey would most likely pitch in the seventh and eighth innings until spring training next season, when he can compete for the closer role. Even at that, don’t be shocked if he continues to be a letdown for the rest of 2012.
Carl Crawford Has Tommy John Surgery
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Carl Crawford’s performance and surgery decision will end up being one of the biggest topics of debate this offseason.
Long story short, Crawford is still having issues with his left elbow and is deciding on whether to have surgery now or to wait until the end of the season, according to Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald. The latest news surrounding Crawford is that he can’t play more than four games in a row, as Lauber writes.
This Crawford drama needs to be put to rest. The Red Sox are still in the playoff hunt, but his having the surgery now won’t help or hurt their chances. It makes perfect sense to have the surgery sooner rather than later.
If Crawford has the surgery soon, he might be able to make it back in time for Opening Day, but it’s still undetermined as to how long he’ll need to recover. Tommy John surgery usually takes a full year for pitchers, but it’s unclear since Crawford is a position player.
Despite Ryan Sweeney’s season potentially ending, the Red Sox still have Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish to pick up the slack.
David Ortiz Comes Back with Vengeance
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The Red Sox have suffered injury after injury the entire season, and, once Ortiz makes his way back into his DH spot in the Boston lineup, they will be as healthy as they’re going to get.
It was important to get Jacoby Ellsbury back without a doubt and maybe Crawford decides to play the remainder of the year, but Ortiz’s return is extremely important. He plays a vital role as the big power hitter in the heart of the lineup and changes the way that opposing pitchers approach those who hit in front of and behind him.
Despite missing half of the month, Ortiz still leads Boston in several major offensive categories including batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and home runs. That’s a lot of production to have out of your lineup.
With two months remaining in the regular season, expect Ortiz to come back with a bang and easily surpass the 30-home run mark. The Red Sox desperately need his bat back in the order.
Clay Buchholz Leads Boston to Wild Card
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The Boston Red Sox are not far out of the wild-card race—in which the top two will get a chance to play in the divisional round—and Clay Buchholz will be the guy to get them there.
Buchholz has succeeded while front-of-the-rotation starters Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have underachieved. He’s been as close to an ace lately as Boston has seen all season long.
Boston has won all but six of his 18 starts this year, and Buccholz has a record of 9-3 with a 4.75 ERA. Yes, his ERA could be much better, but he’s only allowed four earned runs over his last three outings, where he pitched in 23 innings.
If Boston is going to make the playoffs, it’s going to be on the back of Buchholz. Keeping his hot streak going is the most important part of Boston’s season. If he fails, they fail. Lester and Beckett clearly can’t pick up the slack should he falter.