Last night, after a thrilling extra inning game in which David Price looked like the David Price of old, Dave Dombrowski was able to complete a trade for All Star gold glover Ian Kinsler. Kinsler, 36, will be a free agent at the end of the season but provides excellent insurance as a sure-handed infielder that can also swing the bat a little bit. For the season, Kinsler is hitting .239 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI, but he has really started to turn it on as of late. According to Boston Sports Inf., since July 13, Kinsler has a slash line of .395/.480/.651/1.131 with two home runs, six RBI, and seven extra base hits.
In return for Kinsler, the Angels received minor league RHP Ty Buttrey and minor league LHP Williams Jerez. Furthermore, the two sides decided to split the remainder of Kinsler's contract, which will come out to roughly $1.83 million for each side. This could help the Red Sox in regard to staying under that $237 million luxury tax threshold, but we will see how that turns out. As always, these moves come down to the price. The Red Sox gave up two prospects that were not highly ranked in a very poor farm system, meaning they have a very outside shot of ever sniffing a major league roster.
Buttrey is a 25-year-old reliever that is currently lurking in Triple-A. He was ranked as the #19 prospect in the Red Sox system. For the 2018 season, he had a 2.25 ERA, and a 1.136 WHIP with an impressive 13.1 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9 and a 7.4 H/9. These are almost all career numbers, which means the Red Sox chose to sell high on a guy that they do not believe in. For his career, Buttrey has an ERA close to 4 and almost half the number of strikeouts per nine. Even lower on the rankings is Jerez. Previously ranked as the #23 prospect in the system, Jerez is a 26-year-old left handed reliever that is having a season that is pretty comparable to what he has done for his entire career. For the 2018 season, Jerez has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.383 WHIP with a 11.7 K/9, a 4.2 BB/9, and a 8.2 H/9. In short, the Red Sox gave up essentially nothing.
To me, this move signals a growing concern with the fearless little leader, Dustin Pedroia. In a whopping 11 at-bats this season, Pedroia is hitting .091 and does not look to be returning anytime soon from that lingering knee injury. The Red Sox have been pretty quiet on the status of Pedroia, but, at least in my opinion, this move tells me that they do not expect him to come back this season. There is a lot of concern, at least from me, that he will never come back, but that is another article for another day. Kinsler is a great defender at second base, just like Pedroia, has his moments offensively, like Pedroia, but can actually stay on the field to be a contributing member of a ball club.
Outside of the impact that this move has on Pedroia, it is also a move that can help this team immediately. With Rafael Devers going on the Disabled List with a hamstring issue, Eduardo Nunez can flip over to third base, where he is more comfortable, and Kinsler can play a much better second base from a defensive perspective. This also allows the Red Sox to not play Brock Holt as much, who can be exposed if he plays everyday.
All in all, I think this is a fantastic move for the Red Sox. They gave up essentially nothing for a player that still has a lot in the tank and can help this team towards their ultimate goal. It is clear that the Red Sox are making moves that will help them right now, which signals to me that they should still be in the market for a reliever. Unfortunately, Dombrowski said that he would not be surprised if the Red Sox do not make another move, which would be a huge mistake.
Check back in with BBS all day as we continue to give you coverage of the MLB Trade Deadline!
Minutes ago, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays completed a trade for starter Nathan Eovaldi. In exchange for Eovaldi, the Red Sox gave up Jalen Beeks. While Beeks has had spots in which he came up to the big league club, he has been an international league pitcher this year, throwing 87.1 innings, where he struck out 117 batters. Don't let these numbers fool you, however. I do not see Beeks making a serious impact on a team like the Red Sox anytime soon. He will not get an opportunity to pitch at the highest level of this sport with the Rays.
While Eovaldi has had some elbow issues in the past, he is still a very solid pitcher and I am surprised the Red Sox were able to get him for essentially nothing. The 28-year-old righty has a 4.26 ERA and was lit up for eight runs against the Twins on July 13, but has allowed a total of 3 runs in his other 4 starts since June 26.
I like this move a lot. Probably more than I should, to be honest. Eovaldi is not going to be the next Roger Clemens but he is an extremely solid back-end guy that can help this team eat up innings.
This move makes a ton of sense for the Red Sox. They do not have a lot of depth in their starting rotation and should have been very concerned after seeing what Drew Pomeranz gave them last night in his first start back since going down with yet another injury. Simply put, the Red Sox could not afford to have both Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez making multiple starts for this team. Furthermore, I really like the idea of the Red Sox getting another right handed starter. Outside of Rick Porcello, the Red Sox have primarily used left handed pitchers for the majority of their starts this year. Against a team like the Yankees, where most, if not all, of their deadly hitters are right handed, it is important to mix it up against them and play the matchup game.
The Red Sox clearly still have moves to make. After the Yankees acquired Zach Britton last night, it became clear that the Red Sox needed to go out and get another reliever. They simply do not have the arms in their bullpen to win a World Series. Don't believe me? Look at what Joe Kelly has done in recent weeks. With that being said, by making this move, the Red Sox could essentially have two arms moved to the bullpen. They saved their better prospects in order to make that move for a good, if not great, reliever, while also perhaps adding Pomeranz to that same bullpen. In his short appearances in the bullpen, Pomeranz has been much better than he has been as a starter.
Be sure to tune back in to BiasedBostonSports.com as we continue to monitor the MLB Trade Deadline. Next up, we will highlight what type of relievers the Red Sox may be interested in and how it could impact the team this offseason.
As we approach the Trade Deadline, it is clear that the top dogs in the American League are all looking to improve. The Cleveland Indians have already made their moves, choosing to jump into the market early in hopes of not overpaying. They were able to strike a deal with the San Diego Padres for All Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber in exchange for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. This may have been a slight overpayment, given that Mejia was Cleveland's best prospect, but Hand has been one of the best closers this season and has multiple years of control moving forward. Cimber is no slouch either and the Indians desperately needed some help in their bullpen with Andrew Miller injured and Cody Allen struggling mightily.
Looking at the two other top teams in the American League, it is clear what the Astros and Yankees are after: Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. The Yankees are looking to get both a starter and a reliever, and rightfully so. Luis Severino has been awesome this season, although he has given up 11 runs in his past 10 innings (two starts) of work. Severino currently has a 2.63 ERA and just narrowly missed starting the All Star Game for the American League. After Severino, however, the Yankees are swimming in some murky water. CC Sabathia has had his check engine light on for a couple seasons now, Sonny Gray has underperformed since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics, and Masahiro Tanaka is a huge unknown. In my opinion, Tanaka is the wild card here. I do not think you can rely on Gray to be anything more than a #3 starter, but Tanaka could be an ace if his head is on straight. Unfortunately for the Yankees, given that this team has championship aspirations, they cannot wait to see what will happen. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Yankees need to act quickly in order to keep pace with the Red Sox.
Furthermore, the Yankees will also need to be in the market for a reliever. One would think that Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, David Robertson, and Dellin Betances would be enough, but it is clear that it is not. Chapman has been stellar this season, pitching to a 2.03 ERA with 26 saves in 40 innings, and the rest of the bullpen has not been that bad, either. Green and Betances boast ERAs under 3, with Robertson being just over at 3.05. One would think that would be good enough, but reports indicate that the Yankees are interested in Baltimore's lefty reliever Zach Britton. I am not sure if this is just the Yankees doing their duty in scouting a guy with Britton's caliber or perhaps they are trying to replace Tommy Kahnle, who was optioned to Triple-A after amassing a 7.00 ERA in the beginning of the season.
The other top team most mentioned in a deal for Britton is none other than the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. While the Astros have a 66-36 record, which is good enough for first place in the American League West by five games over the Seattle Mariners, they also have some issues at the back-end of their bullpen. After a confrontation with skipper AJ Hinch, as well as a poor season, the Astros decided to demote Ken Giles to Triple-A and roll essentially without a closer. Giles had a 4.99 ERA before heading to Albuquerque, but I doubt he is back in Houston anytime soon after showing up his manager. If the Astros are smart, they will move Giles to another team. Given what we know about this team, it is clear that Britton would look very good in an Astros uniform and they have the pieces in their farm system to make it happen. With three starting pitchers with an ERA under 3, the starting rotation is fine and their lineup is not going to change. If the Astros want to get back to the World Series and get past the best teams in the American League, they need a pitcher to come in for the ninth inning in a close ballgame and shut the opposing team down. If they can get Britton, watch out.
Now, lets get to the moment you have all been waiting for; it is time to talk about the Boston Red Sox. Sitting at 71-31, the Boston Red Sox are currently 40 games over .500 for the first time since 1949. They have the best record in all of baseball and have put some space in between them and the New York Yankees, who are now a surprising six games back in the American League East. For the Red Sox, the level of competition has been poor and they have simply won the games that they should be winning at an alarmingly steady rate. Chris Sale has been perhaps the best pitcher in the American League this season, boasting a 2.13 ERA with an incredible 197 strikeouts in 135 innings. JD Martinez and Mookie Betts have become serious MVP candidates, while Craig Kimbrel has been a little off with his command, but is still having a stellar season. So what do the Red Sox really need to do looking at the Trade Deadline coming in a couple weeks?
Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. It feels like I already used that before? See, and that is where the problem lies. Teams like the Yankees, Astros, and even the Indians, although I don't think they will be much of an issue on the trade market for the Red Sox, have farm systems that will blow Boston's out of the water. Don't believe me? Lets get a concrete example: Zach Britton. This guy is being coveted by three of the top four teams in the American League. To be perfectly honest, one of these three teams is probably going to win the World Series. Almost instantly, the Red Sox are going to be decimated in any type of deal that involves Britton, taking away the fact that the Yankees and Astros can offer much more with less organizational shock because of their sheer depth. If the Red Sox deal for Britton, that is the only move they are making. They aren't getting a starter or another bat, they are getting a very good reliever and that is it.
Specifically with Britton, there is some legitimate hesitation to trade significant farm pieces if you're the Red Sox for a guy that could walk at the end of the season. The Red Sox are in a difficult position because they are a team that needs to win right now. They have a lot of guys that will be in for a huge payday in the next couple of seasons, so the time to win a World Series is now. Should the Red Sox do whatever it takes to get the necessary pieces to win? I would say so, but many would disagree with me.
As currently constituted, I do not think this team is good enough to win a championship. The Red Sox need another starter that can give the team innings. Whether that be Drew Pomeranz or Steven Wright, I need more of them and less of Brian Johnson. Furthermore, like I hinted at before with Boston's interest in Britton, they need another legitimate eighth inning guy to complement Kimbrel. Tyler Thornburg, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly simply do not have my trust yet.
It will be an interesting couple of weeks, as we see how these World Series contenders approach the Trade Deadline. As always, tune in to BiasedBostonSports.com for the most up to date Red Sox moves!
Get it? ‘Cause he’s short…and his downfall was fast...
I’ll see myself out.
If you’re like me (bless your soul if you are) and you’re a proud, born and raised Green Teamer, Isaiah Thomas probably has a special place in your heart. He essentially, singlehandedly, made our beloved Celtics relevant again for the first time since in a few years. Brad Stevens got everybody excited again when he was hired in 2013, but the roster he had to work quickly snapped us back into reality.
Out of nowhere in 2016-17, this little guy named Isaiah Thomas messed around and was a MVP candidate and put up historic numbers - like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James numbers. That season-long performance from Thomas was something I know I’ll never forget. For the first time in years, the Celtics had a guy who was must-see television. Even if they were playing on the west coast, myself and others knew we had to stay up and watch because, well, we didn’t want to miss something spectacular. Thomas was so, extremely efficient in his time with Boston on the court, it was tremendous.
This dude singlehandedly brought Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron and his Cavaliers - again - as an MVP candidate. That entire Celtics team was the little engine that could, and almost did, thanks to Thomas. The Celtics are nowhere near where they are right now if not for that player.
Naturally, after seeing what the man was capable of, how loved he was in Boston by the people and the people on Causeway, we all assumed that he’d play out his prime in Boston and sign a huge, maybe max, contract with the team in the summer. He played through a hip injury into the playoffs and even through the tragic death of his sister the day after it happened. I’ll never forget that entire situation and how right then when everybody rallied around him, that he was a Celtic for life. He dropped 50-plus points in that game following his sister’s death at the Garden; I mean come on. That was special and everyone had that feeling that he was going to play here for the long haul.
Just after the Celtics were eliminated in the ECF, Thomas revealed that the hip injury he’d been playing through since around mid-March was pretty serious and he probably shouldn’t have played in the playoffs because of it. He’s very correct in saying that (and still stands by that to this day), because maybe, just maybe, if he sat out of the playoffs and rested up, the Brinks truck would have backed up and he’d be a ~$200 million millionaire.
The downfall of Thomas pinpoints directly to his hip injury. It all came crashing down from the moment he collided awkwardly with Karl-Anthony Towns on March 15th - it only worsened from there. We could all see from that point forward that he had lost a step. Regardless, we all assumed that offseason surgery would fix it and soon enough, he’d be back on the court once again leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Before we even had the chance to figure out what his surgery was or meant, Trader Danny pulled the trigger and shipped Thomas and that beloved 2018 first-round Brooklyn pick in late August to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving and Kyrie Irving alone (that pick turned out to be Collin Sexton just last month) in a complete robbery of a deal and everybody, myself included, freaked out. Nobody really knew what to do except scroll through Twitter with our jaws dropped to the floor. We considered everything that Isaiah did for the city, the fans and the team. We considered whether Danny pursued this all along or only just recently. We considered Thomas’ feelings. There was a lot of considering and thinking and screaming. Lots of screaming. In real life and online screaming. Kyrie freaking Irving was a Celtic, but...at what cost? The cost of Isaiah Thomas.
Soon enough, we got over it the exact moment we saw Irving donning a Celtics uniform. Meanwhile, Thomas’ time in Cleveland was short and not-so sweet. He didn’t return from rehabbing his hip until early January and only played 15 games for the Cavs, because he was traded to the Lakers in early February and only got to play 17 games for them as he underwent another hip surgery that ended his season in March.
Once summer began, Thomas got to hit the free agent market and, as the story goes, had very few suitors and, in general, interested teams. Celtics fans with brains pondered whether or not the Celtics might bring him back, but quickly realized that probably wouldn’t happen. Why, you may ask? You may recall the media firestorm between Thomas and Ainge that went on for months after he was traded to Cleveland. There were endless streams of petty and cryptic tweets about Ainge and the Celtics, how they have no loyalty, Thomas threatening to never talk to Ainge again, so on and so forth. I recall this being extremely embarrassing for everyone involved. I can only imagine how Thomas felt about the whole situation, but they way he went about it by attacking Ainge was wacky. Thankfully, Ainge handled it maturely and gracefully as he does.
Here we are, present day, and Thomas chose to sign a one-year, $2 million deal, which is the veteran minimum, with the Denver Nuggets. Taking that kind of a deal is a major gamble for Thomas, but then again, he was forced to take it. It’s a prove-it type of deal for the guy: he’ll come off the bench and, well, try to prove himself in an attempt for teams to hopefully take a gamble on him next year in free agency and actually make some cash. He needs to make an impact as a sixth man if he wants teams to pay him anything in the future.
Recently, Thomas sat down with the beloved Adrian Wojnarowski for an in-person column interview on ESPN.com and talked lots about the Celtics, how everything went down, reiterating that he probably shouldn’t have played in the 2016-17 playoffs, that type of predictable stuff we’ve already heard. The one part of this interview that sticks out is this little tidbit:
“Before finalizing the agreement with Denver, Thomas had reached out to Boston GM Danny Ainge. They talked for 15 to 20 minutes, Thomas says, and he told Ainge: ‘If the opportunity is there, I would just like to let you know that I'd love to come back.’
Ainge says his mind was open to the idea, but the Celtics needed to work through Marcus Smart's restricted-free-agency discussions before they could consider making an offer to Thomas. Ainge was willing to continue the conversation, but Thomas accepted the Nuggets' offer before Boston had reached its new deal with Smart.
‘S---, I'd have gone back," Thomas says. "I don't hold grudges.’"
Everything considered - was he really willing to come back to Boston? After everything he said about the team and Ainge, was he really going to do that? I’m sure part of his willingness to come back to Boston had, in part, to do with the fact that he was getting no offers, or only crappy offers. I’m just glad to see, from a personal standpoint, that the two of them have put that whole saga behind them and have seemingly made amends. Each of them owe the other that respect; both of them greatly helped out the other in the year and a half or so that they worked together in Boston. Without Ainge, Thomas is nothing. Without Thomas, Ainge is still attempting to assemble a relevant, winning team and viable roster.
Just imagine an Isaiah Thomas return to Boston, though. The Garden Faithful(™) welcomes back The Little Guy(™) and he finally gets that video he so desperately wanted. Weirdcelticstwitter would collectively burst into flames, as would the TD Garden as a whole. One can dream, I suppose.
Thinking rationally, though, there’s no way a reunion would have worked out this season with the roster being as crowded as it is. I have this feeling, for some reason, that one day a reunion will take place here in Boston. Whether it’s a couple, five or ten years from now, I think we might see Thomas in Celtics green again. My Green Teamer heart is telling me so.
It is just incredible to sit back and think about: Thomas was ready to sign a nine-figure deal and cement his status as the face of the Boston Celtics exactly one year ago. A year later, he’s about to play under the veteran minimum and come off the bench for the Denver freaking Nuggets. All because of a bum hip.
One year ago and change, on July 17th, 2017, I wrote an article stating that I believe Thomas is worthy of a max deal and that he will most likely get one to remain with the Celtics. It is incomprehensible, how quickly he plummeted off the face of the NBA. Nobody is ever safe. Ever.
Last week, many casual baseball fans were able to see Angels centerfielder Mike Trout up and personal at the annual MLB All Star Game. Even though he is far and away the best player in baseball, Trout does not have the same celebrity status as the other bests in their games, such as Tom Brady, Sidney Crosby, and LeBron James. Granted, baseball is doing a horrendous job of marketing Trout, but he is also a more quiet individual that does not have the typical temperament of a player that is the best at his or her particular craft. Aside from a few Subway commercials, Trout is this mythical creature that plays every night right as I am about to go to bed. Yes, some of my East Coast bias is leaking out of this article, but I believe it is a viable argument.
However, there is no denying just how incredible of a player Trout is. Aside from his rookie campaign, he has finished inside the top two in MVP voting in every year except for 2017, when he missed time with an injury. At 26 years old, he has made it to seven All Star Games and his numbers speak for themselves. In 8 seasons with the Angels, Trout has played in 1025 games. He has been able to put together some pretty impressive numbers in that span, batting .306 with 227 home runs and 621 RBI with an OBP of .414, while slugging .569. He has also been able to garner an OPS of .983. To put that OPS in comparison, lets use a player that everyone is obsessed with in Boston: JD Martinez. Martinez is having one of the best seasons in recent memory for the Red Sox, with an OPS of 1.021. So, Trout, throughout his career, has a comparable OPS to Martinez this year, who is having an absolutely monster season that will get him some MVP votes. To put it bluntly, Trout is a generational player. He is this generation's version of Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, take your pick.
Unfortunately, Trout is quickly disappearing in Anaheim with the Angels. The Angels currently sit at an even .500, which is good enough for fourth place in the American League West. Their last division title came in 2014 and, with the recent emergence of the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, I would be very surprised to see them back in contention anytime soon.
So what do the Angels do? Quickly looking at their roster, it is easy to see why they are in baseball's irrelevancy. The only players that jump out to you are Albert Pujols, perhaps just because of the name, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and I guess Kole Calhoun. A lot of these players are past their prime or have huge question marks. Furthermore, the Angels have one of the worst starting rotations I can remember. Aside from Ohtani, you will need to be a serious seamhead to recognize these other guys.
So again, I ask what should the Angels do with Trout? The player wants to win and so does the organization. However, jumping out of irrelevancy is one of the toughest things to do in sports. Fortunately for baseball, teams can sell away pieces and pick up prospects, while also tanking in order to replenish the farm system. This is exactly what the Angels should do. They will be able to get a king's ransom for Trout, who will not hit free agency until after the 2020 season. After signing a six-year, $145.2 million deal, considering the type of player Trout is, he will be underpaid for the next couple of seasons.
So, lets do a bit of recap here, if you're still with me. The Angels are a terrible team and organization that needs to replenish their farm system in order to be a better team down the line. Trout wants to leave the organization because he is not getting any younger and wants to start winning some World Series in order to cement his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time. As a comparatively underpaid guy that is under team control for multiple seasons, the Angels will be able to start the process of building for the future after trading the face of their franchise. While losing Trout hurts from a PR standpoint, I think the Angels can sell the fanbase on Ohtani if he is able to resume pitching after a scary elbow injury.
Now lets look at some possible landing spots for Trout. Sorry Red Sox fans, but this one is going to hurt. I think the Yankees are at the top of this list. Centerfield is a position of need for this team, they have the salary cap flexibility to take on a contract like Trout's without taking anything off of the major league roster, if they choose to do so, and they have one of the best and deepest farm systems in all of baseball. Trout would flourish in New York and would get everything he is looking for in the game of baseball with this type of deal.
There are a few other teams that immediately stick out to me that could be involved in a possible deal for Trout. These teams include the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, and Chicago White Sox. Personally, I don't see the Padres or White Sox trading for Trout because they aren't looking to win right now and, subsequently, Trout doesn't want to go to another loser franchise. Why not just stay with the Angels, if that were to be the case? The Braves and Phillies are two very interesting landing spots for Trout. As a New Jersey kid, the Phillies could attempt to persuade Trout that he is coming back to one of his hometown teams with an up and coming franchise and manager in Gabe Kapler. Personally, if I was from New Jersey, I would want to play with a New York team, but who knows what is going on through his head right now? The Braves are also a very interesting landing spot for Trout. They obviously have the pieces to complete a deal and are actually winning baseball games and are in contention in 2018, which is something that many of these teams cannot say.
Simply put, both sides will be better off if this relationship ends sooner rather than later. Trout appears to be fiercely loyal to the Angels and wants to win in Anaheim, but that looks like it is unfortunately not in the cards anytime soon.