On the heels of acquiring reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona early Saturday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald that their bullpen is “pretty well set.” Dombrowski, who said the Red Sox had been working on landing Ziegler “for a while,” is optimistic about how the club’s relief corps will fare after Craig Kimbrel returns in a few weeks from knee surgery, stating, “Kimbrel’s coming back, and then you’ve got Kimbrel, you’ve got Koji (Uehara), you’ve got (Brad) Ziegler. I know Taz (Junichi Tazawa) is going through a little bit of tiredness in his arm and shoulder. They don’t think it’s anything major.” Drellich is less bullish about the unit than Dombrowski is, though, as he opines that the Sox shouldn’t bank on the health of Kimbrel or Tazawa down the stretch, nor should they assume effectiveness from 41-year-old Uehara and Heath Hembree.
More on Boston and a couple other AL clubs:
- With the Aug. 1 trade deadline approaching, the middling Yankees can take disparate lessons from last year’s White Sox, Tigers and Rangers, all of whom the current Bombers compare to, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The White Sox – like the Tigers, Rangers and this year’s Yanks – went into the deadline with a below-.500 record and a negative run differential, but they elected to stand pat instead of selling. That meant keeping right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who walked in free agency after Chicago missed the playoffs. The White Sox did, however, receive a first-round pick as compensation for his departure. The Tigers, meanwhile, dealt Yoenis Cespedes, David Price and Joakim Soria instead of clinging to postseason dreams. As a result, they now have highly promising 23-year-old righty Michael Fulmer, whom they acquired from the Mets for Cespedes. After making a bold trade for southpaw Cole Hamels, Texas turned its season around en route to a playoff berth. The Yankees have plenty of movable assets and will have to decide in the coming weeks which of those three teams they’ll mimic.
- If the Yankees sell, 39-year-old All-Star Carlos Beltran seems likely to end up in another uniform. The right fielder/designated hitter has already submitted his 15-team no-trade list to the Yankees, per Davidoff, with Beltran revealing it includes “a little bit of both” leagues. The potential future Hall of Famer would be open to another stint in the NL, which would mean playing the field every day. “DH is great, but I played all my life in the outfield, so there’s nothing wrong with it. I just want to play baseball, man,” he commented.
- Injuries have beset the Red Sox this year in left field, where Chris Young, Blake Swihart and Brock Holt have each missed extended periods of time. However, Dombrowski is comfortable with his in-house options. Regarding the possibility of acquiring a left fielder, Dombrowski said (via Drellich), “I’m not really looking to do that. At some point, Blake Swihart is going to come back, too. … Chris Young is coming back. Brock Holt looks like, when I went in there earlier, it looks like he doesn’t have to be on the disabled list. Bryce Brentz has done a nice job for us.” Notably, Boston is in possession of an elite prospect, Double-A outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who could solve their issues in left if he receives a major league promotion.
- While Padres managing partner Peter Seidler admitted Saturday that they probably won’t be ready to compete until at least 2019, the bottom-feeding Twins aren’t taking the same approach.“Everybody wants to win next year. We’re not looking at 2020,” general manager Terry Ryan said (Twitter link via Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press). After posting a solid 83-79 record last year, Ryan’s Twins have gone an AL-worst 31-56 this season. Needless to say, winning next year seems like a tall order.