The trade deadline has come and gone. It was not a very turbulent time for baseball. This was due to some level of uncertainty as to when the BioGenesis cases would come down. Mostly this was due to a greater level of parity in baseball and the expansion of the Wild Card. Too many teams are in contention for a playoff position. This means there were too few sellers and too many buyers. This drove up prices in many instances (see Garza for instance).
Just before the trade deadline, the Red Sox were struggling offensively. This was largely because they had 2 shortstops playing on the left side of the infield. Old school shortstops not particularly known for their bats. While Jose Iglesias won a Player of the Month award, he was now regressing to the mean via a horrific slump throughout July. The bottom third of the Red Sox line up was quite unproductive.
The Red Sox had already addressed some of their bull pen issues by trading for the White Sox’ Matt Thornton. He has been a bit inconsistent, and this weekend experienced an oblique injury. His status is uncertain at this point. But the sense was that other bull pen issues could continued to be addressed internally as they largely had been as Hanrahan, Bailey, Miller, Morales etc. have struggled with injuries.
The big question was Clay Buchholz. When would he be ready to pitch again? The spot starters had generally done well, unlike the last 2 seasons. The Red Sox had more depth in their system this year with Workman, Webster, Aceves (who has now been buried and come up lame) etc. They actually got wins. But with at least a month to go before Buchholz returns, they needed more than spot starters. They needed a legitimate 2-3 starter to fend off the surging Rays. This despite the solid outings by Workman.
They settled on Jake Peavey, who won a Cy Young award years ago. But the Red Sox and the White Sox did not match up well for the trade to take place. The Red Sox seemed to have resigned themselves to the status quo, as John Farrell’s comments the night before the trade deadline indicate. He wasn’t blowing smoke, he was facing facts.
Those facts changed as BioGenesis lurked in the background. Detroit decided it had better protect themselves if Perralta was suspended. They called the Red Sox about Iglesias. Soon a 3-way deal was worked out so that the Red Sox got the pitcher they wanted for a light-hitting shortstop with a spectacular glove.
Since 2004 shortstop on the Red Sox has been a revolving door. Why trade a guy with a glove like that would could man the position for the next 10+ years? Organizational depth! Xander Bogaerts continues to make waves in the system and may be ready next Spring. There are others coming up behind him who may be Major League capable. So, they dealt from a position of strength (no one was getting Xander, by the way). This deal opens the way for Xander to take the job in a way that Iglesias failed to do last year. While the defense will not be as good the rest of this year, their offense will be better without Iglesias.
This trade also improves the rotation with a guy who has post-season experience (though he hasn’t thrived, which may not be his fault). If/when Clay gets back they can use 6 starters to get guys some extra days off before the postseason. Making the postseason is more likely this season. In 2011 the rotation fell apart in September. The Red Sox just got them some insurance to protect themselves from a similar problem. Peavey is not a “fill in” but still an excellent starter as he showed in his first start as a member of the team.
Recently Tino Martinez resigned from his position as hitting coach with the Marlins. The Marlins have a woeful offense. And he “laid hands” on a player in frustration. Why do I mention this? He was interviewed for the Red Sox position, but took the Marlin’s job before the Red Sox finished interviewing guys. Former Red Sox hitting coach Dave Madigan is now with the Rangers, whose offense has struggled some this year. The Red Sox, despite that recent slump, are still among the best offenses in baseball (and despite all the naysayers who claimed they would not hit). I can’t even remember the name of the guy they hired. Oh, they hired Greg Colbruun and Victor Rodriquez as his assistant. They are doing their jobs.