Buyers or sellers? Sox still aren't sure

829457.jpg

Buyers or sellers? Sox still aren't sure

BOSTON -- Last week, general manager Ben Cherington vowed to re-assess the Red Sox' standing after their road trip before determining how aggressive the organization would be in its approach to the non-waiver trade deadline.

But like everything else associated with the 2012 Red Sox, there are no simple answers.

The team's 3-3 swing through Texas and New York, which concluded with two final-at-bat wins at Yankee Stadium, may have given the Sox hope the season can be salvaged.

Indeed, internally, the Sox believe the team can still rally and play over .600 ball for the final two months and vault into a playoff spot.

That sentiment is shared by others. Last week, New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman cited three American League East executives who believe the Red Sox have the best chance of any team in the division to catch the New York Yankees.

But potential and ability are one thing, and execution is another. And 102 games into the season, the Red Sox sit at .500, with a half-dozen teams in front of them in the wild-card race.

If Josh Becket and Jon Lester can each pitch as well as they did in their most recent starts -- and to be sure, neither was great, but each was good enough to give the Red Sox a chance to win -- then maybe the Sox can catch fire in the final two months and make good on that unrealized promise.

According to some who have talked to Red Sox executives, one thing is clear after the weekend in New York: The team is not in full-sell mode.

For instance, if they could trade Josh Beckett for a return of players that set them up for 2013 and beyond, they'd be willing to do so. But they're not willing to take much of Beckett's money to facilitate such a deal.

If Beckett is dealt, it will be because the Sox can improve, and not to unload Beckett at any cost.

The team's attitude toward a number of role players, however, has crystalized somewhat. While a week ago, the Sox seemed reluctant to move players such as catcher Kelly Shoppach, outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava and starter Aaron Cook, there is now a belief the Sox would trade any or all of the role players if the return is enticing enough.

There's no evidence to suggest the Sox have lowered their asking price on these players, though. In fact, a National League source indicated that the New York Mets, who have long had an interest in Shoppach, have decided the Sox are asking too much and are focusing their search elsewhere.

Cook had teams interested back on May 1, when his opt-out clause forced the Sox to add him to their 25-man roster, and his recent run of starts had only amped up interest. But his most recent outing, in which he was pounded for six runs on seven hits over four innings against the Yankees in New York last Friday, may have leveled interest somewhat.

Sweeney and Nava have some value, too, are bench players, though the one Red Sox outfielder attracting the most interest is Cody Ross. Ross can't be classified as an untouchable, but given his modest salary (3 million), right-handed power (.523 slugging percentage) and strong makeup make a deal almost out of the question.

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

red_sox_rays_pedroia_092516.jpg

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.