As the Red Sox were out winning a game against the Angels last night, the front office and Dave Dombrowski were actively trying to make the Red Sox better. Over the last 48 hours Dombrowski has been able to provide the Red Sox with the much-needed depth to potentially take them over the hump. The moves may not be flashy but the potential return of investment could pay off with a World Series run.
The current makeup of the Red Sox is to win now. The team did not need a complete overhaul at any position via trades. Going into the month of July the Red Sox needed another bat who could play the outfield. A security blanket in the outfield for both Dustin Pedroia and Rafeal Devers. The last thing this team needs, which is true of mostly every contending team in baseball, is a bullpen arm. The Red Sox should be actively looking for a left handed reliver to take some stress off Brian Johnson. However, Drew Pomeranz would be a nice option as a lefty reliever when he comes back to the active roster.
48 hours ago, Dombrowski struck a deal with MLB veteran Brandon Phillips. The career infielder, is going to start his Red Sox career in Triple A. Once he gets into baseball shape the Red Sox brass hopes that the former Cincinnati Red can contribute at a major league level. The Phillips deal further verifies the Red Sox have no idea on the availability of Dustin Pedroia for the remainder of the year. Phillips is going to be used as an insurance policy late in the year if Pedroia can’t play.
The current deal that the Red Sox made was for journeyman outfielder and first baseman Steve Pearce. Pearce is an intriguing bat especially against lefties. The former Blue Jay has hit lefties very well over his career, and plays a more than serviceable position in the field. He is going to be a key cog on this team in the later innings as a pinch hitter, as well as a mid-level player who is able to give the stars on this team a much-needed break.
The veteran player is currently in the midst of his age 35 season and he is going to be nothing more than a rental for the Red Sox. The veteran outfielder has now completed his tour of the American League East, as he has now played for every team in the league. In Pearce, the Red Sox are going to get a player who rarely strikes out, and does not walk much. Pearce is a contact hitter who does get on base, mostly via a hit.
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In Pearce, the Red Sox are not expecting much in the way of Power. Pearce does have the ability to hit homeruns, but his swing is mostly tailored for line drives that are going to pepper the monster. The way Pearce is described, many would say he is a taller and stronger Eduardo Nunez. One could say that however, Pearce is a much more disciplined hitter at the plate. He does not chase nearly as many pitches as Nunez seemingly does, and he will be a little more selective.
To acquire Pearce, the Red Sox decided to part with infielder Santiago Espinal. Espinal was in the midst of a breakout season in Salem this year. In fact, at the time of the trade he was amid a 15-game hitting streak. The breakout season started in Spring Training, as the infielder was not a prospect on the radar of many prospect sites. At the time of the trade Sox Prospects had Espinal as the number 15 player on the Red Sox list.
Pearce was acquired for a relatively cheap price. Espinal was blocked in the organization and he was not close to major league ready yet. The Red Sox were able to part with only Espinal and were able to acquire some cash to help pay the remaining pay of Pearce’s $6.3 million-dollar contract. Cash considerations coming along with Pearce give the Red Sox roster flexibility to add a high-priced name at the trade deadline.
The Red Sox are not done adding pieces yet, but based on what they have already added along with the current make-up of the team, the Red Sox will not be making a huge deal at the deadline. One thing the Red Sox still need as mentioned above is the need for a reliever, preferably a left hander. There is a pretty good one in Baltimore who the Red Sox have been linked to at points this year.
Getting an early jump on the trade market can only help the Red Sox. Pearce is obviously not a player who is going to set the market or get the ball rolling, but Dombrowski appears to have had a plan, the player he targeted was available so he moved on it. There are not going to be many cheap options on the trade market that any team could acquire as a bench bat. If Pearce can continue to play this year at his career norms, he could be a very sneaky and quiet acquisition for the Red Sox. He will only help their chances of playing deep into October.