The Red Sox are searching for starting pitching help as the Aug. 1 trade deadline nears, but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is having difficulty finding viable options. “This is not an easy starting pitching market,” he said Saturday (via Scott Lauber of ESPN.com). Boston isn’t necessarily looking for a front-end starter, but someone at least capable of giving the team six reliable innings, Dombrowski continued. Red Sox starters entered Saturday just 24th in the majors in innings (760) and 21st in ERA (4.52), though they’re a much better 12th in K-BB percentage (13.7).
More from Boston, which improved to 48-38 with a win over the Rays on Saturday:
- While further addressing the difficult market for starters, Dombrowski commented (per Lauber), “The names we don’t want to trade always seem to start the conversation. “It’s a common thread of the same names that seem to be coming up. But they have come up in every conversation we have, and then you try to get realistic and move from there.” It’s fair to suggest one of the names that teams have asked about is Double-A outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who ranks ninth on Baseball America’s just-updated top 100 prospects list. Given his outstanding production, the 2015 seventh overall pick could soon join the left fielder-needy Red Sox, writes WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “He’s played very well,” said Dombrowski, who added that he’s not averse to moving a player straight from Double-A to the majors. “There’s some benefits to going to Triple-A. I don’t mean to downplay it. But I’ve had a lot of success throughout my career with guys going from Double-A to the big leagues.” After ripping up High-A pitching to begin the season, the 22-year-old Benintendi has hit .288/.347/.497 with six home runs in 196 plate appearances with Double-A Portland.
- Athletics left-hander Rich Hill – who revived his career with the Red Sox last September and could end up with them (or someone else) at the deadline – told Bradford that he thought re-signing with Boston last offseason was a possibility. “I did think there was a good chance to come back to Boston just because of everything that was going on there,” the 36-year-old said. “We had some really good things working.” The journeyman instead inked a $6MM deal in Oakland, where he has continued thriving. Hill has spun 76 innings of 2.25 ERA ball with the A’s this year while supporting that figure with a 10.66 K/9, 50 percent ground-ball rate and 14.5 percent infield fly rate. He could soon end up as the top starter dealt this summer, but he told Bradford that “there really hasn’t been too much thought about being traded somewhere.”
- Although the Red Sox acquired closer Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks early Saturday, manager John Farrell indicated Saturday (via Lauber) that he’s second to Koji Uehara in the ninth-inning pecking order.“Koji’s our closer. On days when (Uehara) isn’t available, we’ve got Brad (Ziegler) to turn to,” Farrell said. Of course, the Red Sox are only choosing between Uehara and Ziegler because of All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel’s knee injury. While Uehara did pick up the save Saturday, he expressed skepticism toward Farrell’s statement, saying, “I don’t think I’ve won back the job” (Twitter link via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald).