The latest trade rumors coming out of the Boston Red Sox camp say that the vastly underperforming team — arguably the biggest disappointment of the 2015 Major League Baseball season — will be “buyers” in the July 31 trade deadline market after all — but not in the way fans usually understand what “buying” means.
In most seasons, by July 31, teams are divided into two groups: those who have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs — and the rest of the league, who are effectively out of contention. The first group typically uses the trade deadline to pick up star players from the second-tier teams — players who can bolster their late season and, they hope, post-season chances.
While some might say that the Red Sox chances of qualifying for the post-season this year went out the window as far back as May when Boston slogged to a 10-19 record for the month, whatever remaining hopes they harbored were surely squelched when they came out of the All Star break with a winless, eight-game road trip, before finally picking up a 2-1, 11-inning victory Friday night at Fenway Park against Detroit.
But that doesn’t mean the Red Sox will not be “buyers” of a different kind, and reports say they have their eyes on a group of starting pitchers on the Cleveland Indians staff — perhaps in particular, 25-year-old Danny Salazar.
Cleveland General Manager Chris Antonetti threw cold water — sort of — on the rumors Friday, saying that his organization was “not motivated at all” to trade Salazar, or Carlos Carrassco and Corey Kluber, two other names who have surfaced in connection with the Red Sox.
At the same time, however, the Indians have been providing little support for their young arms, with an offense that ranks fourth from the bottom of the American League at just 3.91 runs per game. That’s actually a slot below Boston, whose offense has not come close to meeting expectations this season.
The question for the Red Sox and the Indians would be, what do the Red Sox offer offensively that might tempt the Indians to part with Salazar — who has fanned 124 in just 104 2/3 innings while walking only 29 this season?
If the Indians are looking for an offensive boost this year, they would likely have to take a significant portion of the Hanley Ramirez, four-year, $88 million contract off Boston’s hands. Seems unlikely — but teams desperate for a playoff berth have done stranger things.
While Ramirez has proven a bust in left field this year, most baseball experts agree that the 31-year-old is a good fit for a team in need of a designated hitter. While Cleveland’s Ryan Rayburn has put up an.858 OPS as a DH this year, he has been limited to just 145 plate appearances. The Indians have received little help from their DH spot otherwise in 2015.
Would the Cleveland Indians be able to work out a trade with the Boston Red Sox for Ramirez? That topic will likely be the subject of even more rumors over the next five days before the 2015 trade deadline.
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