In the event left-hander David Price falters this year in his return from elbow problems, the playoff-contending Red Sox will be forced to scour the trade market to bolster their rotation, observes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer represent high-end starters who could end up on the move prior to the trade deadline, notes Silverman, who doubts that the Red Sox would be able to put together a deal for any of the four. Even without factoring Cole into the mix, the Red Sox are bullish on the Pirates’ pitching at both the major and minor league levels, according to Silverman. If Boston and Pittsburgh don’t swing a deal, Miami right-hander Dan Straily could also be a possibility, though Silverman is skeptical that the Sox would meet the Marlins’ likely high asking price for him. Conversely, Silverman regards Royals left-hander Jason Vargas as an ideal fit for Boston and Twins righty Ervin Santana as a “perfect bridge-type acquisition.” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Saturday that Vargas and Santana are generating buzz as the trade deadline draws closer.
More from Boston and two other American League cities:
- For the second time this season, a shoulder issue will force Athletics right-hander Kendall Graveman to the disabled list, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Graveman, who’s dealing with soreness and will head to the DL on Monday, is likely to miss more time than he did when he previously sat out from April 15-26, per Slusser. When on the mound this year, the sinker-throwing Graveman has logged a 3.83 ERA, 6.13 K/9, 2.68 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate. For now, his spot in the rotation will go to Daniel Mengden, a righty who has spent the year at Triple-A after undergoing offseason foot surgery. Mengden debuted in the majors with 14 starts and 72 innings last year, posting a 6.50 ERA (with a more encouraging 4.34 FIP), and has recorded strong results in the minors this season (2.21 ERA, 8.85 K/9, 2.21 BB/9 in 20 1/3 frames).
- As expected, the Indians have demoted righty Danny Salazar to the bullpen, the Associated Press was among those to report. Salazar will serve as a relief option for the Tribe beginning Wednesday, but he could start again as early as next week, according to Terry Francona. The manager indicated that Cleveland is placing Salazar in the bullpen to help him regain his confidence. Home runs and walks have been the key contributors to Salazar’s 5.50 ERA, up nearly two full runs from the combined 3.72 mark he put up in 484 1/3 innings from 2013-16. On the positive side, the hard-throwing 27-year-old is second to Chris Sale among starters in K/9 (12.45) and ranks behind only Sale and Max Scherzer in swinging-strike rate (15.4 percent).
- It looks as though the Red Sox are targeting next weekend for third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s activation from the DL, writes Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. Upon his return, Sandoval – unavailable since late April because of a right knee sprain – will provide a much-needed option at third for a team that’s dealing with significant injuries to Marco Hernandez and Brock Holt. Boston’s third basemen have been utterly inept this year, having slashed a paltry .231/.281/.316 in 243 plate appearances. Sandoval didn’t look like part of the solution prior to his injury, though, with a .213/.269/.377 showing in 67 trips to the plate.