As the summer trade period begins to take shape, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski discussed his team’s plans with Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. The full interview is essential reading for Boston fans, but we’ll discuss a few key elements here.
One major topic was the team’s potential need for infield help. There have been a variety of suggestions from outside the organization, mostly focused on the struggles of third baseman Rafael Devers and the injury issues clouding the picture at second base.
Regarding the hot corner, Dombrowski says that the organization is “not looking for a third baseman.” To the contrary, he indicated, the Sox are more than content with their existing situation. “We love him,” Dombrowski said of Devers, a still-youthful player who struggled out of the gates this year but has shown more pop thus far in the month of June.
Still, Devers has come up in a variety of outlets as a speculative trade piece. Of course, there’s no indication from any reports that he has specifically been discussed in any talks to this point. And it’s even less clear that the Sox would be willing to consider dealing him. Certainly, Dombrowski indicated that’s unlikely.
Perhaps the likelier route, if the Boston organization does seek to improve in the infield, is to look for a quality veteran that can contribute at second or third — much as the team did last year. While the hope was to avoid that necessity this time around, Eduardo Nunez has not performed and Dustin Pedroia’s health is an ongoing question mark. It’s only fair to note, though, that Brock Holt has been hitting as well as ever.
For now, Dombrowski indicated, the team is planning to wait and see how things shake out with Pedroia. There’s still no clear expectation for when he’ll be ready to return, but certainly the Sox will want to give him every chance to do so before settling on an approach. Likewise, Dombrowski notes that there are a few potential “internal fixes” to any pitching needs currently residing on the DL.
The general viewpoint that Dombrowski expressed was one in which there’s still quite a lot to take in and assess. That’s a reflexive position to take for a MLB executive, perhaps, though it’s also a valid one in this case. As he notes, the club is playing quite well, and its problem areas may look somewhat different in five weeks than they do today.
All that being said, there’s a fascinating dynamic lurking in the background, as Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes. Contending teams are always looking to get better at the deadline, but the current AL East alignment could portend a veritable arms race between the Sox and rival Yankees. Taking the division is not only a prize in and of itself, but represents a major advantage in the postseason due to the Wild Card play-in format.
So, can the Boston organization keep pace with their familiar foes from New York, not only in the standings but in the deadline acquisition game? That remains to be seen, but Dombrowski says there’s little reason to fear that his club’s relatively under-stocked farm system will prove a hindrance to mid-season trades. While he tells Mastrodonato that he’s not yet committed to making “big additions,” Dombrowski adds that he has “no question that if we want to make a move, we have the type of players that can help us do that.”