Boston Red Sox

Did Red Sox give up too much? Mixed reviews on Kimbrel deal

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Did Red Sox give up too much? Mixed reviews on Kimbrel deal

Unsurprisingly, there's been a mixed reaction across baseball to the Red Sox' trade for Craig Kimbrel in exchange for minor league prospects.

Some evaluators -- ESPN's Keith Law among them -- think the Red Sox surrendered too much in outfielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra, especially to obtain someone who may only impact 60 or so innings in a season.

And while some have noted that the Sox traded from a position of strength -- the Sox seem set at center and short with Xander Bogaerts under control for at least four more seasons and Mookie Betts for at least five more years -- Law and others argued that the Sox would have wiser to utilize Margot and Guerra to land a starting pitcher rather than a closer. 

Others, of course, have praised the deal and Dave Dombrowski's aggressiveness to fill an obvious need.

It will take several years to properly evaluate this deal. Indeed, Kimbrel may be gone from Boston before we know how good Margot, Guerra and others are in the big leagues.

Nevertheless, we surveyed a handful of scouts, executives and talent evlautors for their takes.

NL SCOUT: "I like Margot and Guerra. [They're] middle-of-the-diamond kids with upside, (but) I doubt either becomes Betts or Bogaerts. [Infielder Carlos] Asuaje is an up-and-down utility player for me - at best. Didn't see the young lefty [Logan Allen]. The Red Sox are getting an elite closer for three years. If they add a front-end starter, look out.

"Prospects are nice, but in that market, give me Brady as QB over [Marcus] Mariota.''

NL TALENT EVALUATOR: "They gave up what it takes to win. I thought they did well not giving the top prospects away. But I do love Guerra. With Margot, bet on the come.

''I see Margot as a (Doug) Glanville type and Guerra reminds me of [Didi] Gregorius. Asuaje is a fungible depth infielder. I don't know Allen. Keith Law is too locked in to prospect values. These kids [the Red Sox] gave up are not top echelon, as some thing. Guerra is the best of the lot for me. What I like is that they avoided giving up [Rafael] Devers, [Yoan] Moncada, [Anderson] Espinoza, etc.''

AL SCOUT: "They gave up a lot, but they also have a lot [remaining in their system]. Margo and Guerra are going to be solid regulars. I see Guerra as a [San Francisco Giants shortstop] Brandon Crawford-type, though he does not look like him. Margot is A.J. Pollock with less power. Asuaje is a nice sleeper, too. Never saw [Allen].

AL TALENT EVALUATOR: "I don't see where they gave up much. Margot is still a ways away (from contributing at the big league level and Asuaje isn't a prospect. But the thing to remember is [elite] closers are quite valuable and the Red Sox
got one. And you have to take into account that [Koji] Uehara and [Junichi] Tazawa move down a slot, which will should be good for the whole bullpen.''

AL EXECUTIVE: "I haven't seen much of the prospects, but has anyone figured out what the hell San Diego is doing? One year, adding; next year, cutting. No plan. But for the Padres to trade they must really like those kids. None is really that close to the major leagues [Margot is 20 and has a half-season at Double A; Guerra is 19 and has yet to play above Single A].

"There's a lot of projection there -- higher risk, and a higher chance of being wrong. Time will tell, but it's clear Dombrowski isn't afraid to trade the young ones.''

NL EXECUTIVE: "It's a great get with to Kimbrel, but huge return for a reliever despite the fact that he will help them. Problem with the Red Sox -- and it's a good problem to have, but it can make it tough to make trares - is that they have so many high end prospects that their #5-8 prospects are as good as most teams' No. 1. So it seems like a huge return to the rest of the industry but it's hard hard to make trades for elite players when you start to go outside of your Top 10
prospects.

"So yes, it's a lot. But knowing how hard it is for them to make trades, I think it makes sense. If they're philosophically willing to give up a lot for an elite closer, then that's the price they'd have to pay.

"The counter argument is that they once signed Koji to a modest free agent deal and he became an elite closer, so you can find [closers] in different ways, but with less certainty.''

MAJOR LEAGUE EXECUTIVE: "I certainly thought [they gave up too much] but it's a different paradigm. Either you're looking long term [rebuild], balancing short- and long-term, or you are locked in on the short term. [Dombrowski] is all about the short term and this trade made sense from that perspective. But if you do too many of the deals, you wake up in a few years like the Phillies...or the Tigers."

For those who believe that Dombrowski sacrificed too much from the system, they can comfort themselves with the notion that Dombrowski himself said he didn't expect to make another major trade this winter.

Thus, it would seem, the rest of the farm system is safe for now.

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

BOSTON — The minutiae starts to fade now. Steal a few wins, rattle off a gorgeous run when people didn’t expect you to — what should or shouldn’t happen doesn’t matter.

Are the Sox really this good? At a certain point, it’s irrelevant how many wins were lucky (Friday’s, arguably), or against bad teams (the White Sox), or anything else. Those victories are cinderblocks in the standings that the Yankees are will find increasingly difficult to budge.

There’s simply no challenging the value of banked wins, no eliminating them.

Look, you didn’t need Friday night’s 9-6 Red Sox win over the Yankees to realize the Sox are resilient. All of August has been a coming out party: for a pitching staff that’s making due without David Price, for an offense liberated by a 20-year-old third baseman who homered again Saturday, Rafael Devers, as the team adapts smoothly to the absence of Dustin Pedroia.

“We miss them,” Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday night. “There’s no question we miss those two guys, and [are] really looking forward to their return. But it speaks volume to the team we have, the depth and talent that’s here. 

“What Raffy has done by coming up, and Eduardo [Nunez’s] arrival here at the time when Pedey goes down, they’ve been instrumental in the way we’ve played. I don’t know if you want to call it the next-man-up mentality, but we have not skipped a beat and guys are beginning to flourish and shouldering a greater burden.”

But what, beyond this sense of resiliency, have you learned since the trade deadline? What can you tell about the Sox’ future from watching them reach a season-high 19 games over .500? 

That discussion is more complicated. The Sox are of the best anywhere, just as they were projected to be entering the year — albeit with some different personnel fulfilling those predictions. They’re just the second AL team to reach 70 wins.

Yet, it’s fair to wonder how many times a reliever like Tommy Kahnle — one of the Yankees’ significant trade additions — will let Mitch Moreland come through with a go-ahead hit on an 0-2 count in the seventh inning. 

It’s fair to wonder how many times Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly can fall into trouble without swing-and-miss stuff and be bailed out. Or how many times Farrell can keep holding back guys like Addison Reed, as the skipper did on Friday, until he really has no other choice — and be let off the hook for those choices.

The Red Sox are homer-happy right now, with multiple long balls for the 9th time in 14 games. Those home runs could be long overdue, or it could be a cluster and an aberration.

Again, those questions start to diminish in importance. Because in the same way we talk about time running out for Price’s return from injury, time also starts to run out for other teams.

There’s a cushion of five games in the AL East going into Saturday’s middle game of three with the Yankees, one of just four remaining head-to-head match-ups between the Sox and Yanks this season. The last time the Sox and Yankees were playing each other as the top two teams in the division this late in the year was 2011, a reminder of how quickly leads can dissipate. 

This isn’t a suggestion the Sox should be foolhardy, or have anything wrapped up. It’s a reminder that whether you believe Eduardo Nunez will keep up his .361 average down the stretch, or whether you find anything dubious about some of these Sox wins — they’re still in the bank, appreciating in value from now until October.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Moreland delivers with pinch-hit single to help Red Sox beat Yankees, 9-6

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Moreland delivers with pinch-hit single to help Red Sox beat Yankees, 9-6

BOSTON -- Nineteen batters.

Six pitchers.

One hour, 5 minutes.

Eight runs.

Two lead changes.

And when the seventh inning was over on Friday night, the Boston Red Sox were back in front and on their way to a 9-6 victory over New York and a five-game lead over the rival Yankees in the AL East.

"We sent a number of guys to the mound; they put a number of balls in play - hit batters, walks in there," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But then Addison Reed came on in the seventh to shut it down."

Reed and fellow Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly retired presumptive AL rookie of the year Aaron Judge with the bases loaded in back-to-back innings, and pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland delivered a two-run single to rally Boston to its 13th victory in 15 games.

The Yankees snapped a four-game winning streak, blowing a 6-3 lead after rallying from a 3-0 deficit.

"Our guys fought really hard to get in front of the lead. Really good at-bats from a lot of different people," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's frustrating, but we'll be back."

Reed (1-1) got five outs, striking out three. He was the seventh Boston pitcher, after starter Drew Pomeranz left mid-batter with back spasms in the fourth. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 29th save.

The Red Sox opened a 3-0 lead on homers from Christian Vazquez and Rafael Devers, who hit his fourth in five games and his seventh in his 19-game major league career. But Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer in the sixth, then New York scored four in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead.

WINNING RALLY

Boston loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh against Tommy Kahnle (2-4), scored one run on Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly and another on Andrew Benintendi's single. Hanley Ramirez walked to load the bases again before Moreland lined an 0-2 pitch to center to make it 7-6.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run single in the eighth off Aroldis Chapman to make it 9-6.

Kahnle recorded just two outs, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Gary Sanchez and Frazier homered, and Brett Gardner and Chase Headley had three hits apiece for the Yankees. Aaron Hicks was hit by a pitch twice.

JUDGE

Judge came up with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth after the Yankees had already scored twice to make it 3-2. With Kelly pitching, Judge fouled off two 100 mph pitches with two strikes and laid off a 101 mph fastball to work the count full before grounding out to the shortstop.

Judge came up again with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh after the Yankees had already scored four times. He got ahead 3-1 before fouling one off, then Reed beat him with a 94 mph fastball.

"He just got the best of me that time," Judge said. Of the Kelly at-bat, he said: "He's getting up there 100, 101 (mph). Those are the at-bats you want to be in, big situation, based loaded and try to come through there. But I wasn't able to get the job done."

The seventh-inning whiff extended his strikeout streak to 35 consecutive games. He had already broken the record for position players, and now he's tied with pitcher Bill Stoneman (1971) for the longest in a single season.

DREW'S DAY

Pomeranz was pulled from the game after throwing his second pitch to Headley in the fourth. After talking with manager John Farrell and the training staff, Brandon Workman was called in from the bullpen to relieve him.

"We're not going to take any chance right now," Farrell said. "He's been getting treatment throughout the game, and we'll she where he is tomorrow."

Pomeranz, who had won six straight decisions, left with a 2-0 lead. He was charged with four hits and a walk, striking out four in 3 1/3 innings.

TONY C.

The Red Sox unveiled a display in Fenway Park to honor former outfielder Tony Conigliaro, who was nearly killed when blinded when he was beaned by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels on Aug. 18, 1967. The display included Conigliaro's helmet, a jersey and AL championship ring from the '67 season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka threw in the bullpen on Friday and is expected to come off the DL (right shoulder inflammation) to start in Detroit next week.

Red Sox: LHP David Price hasn't been able to throw since Tuesday because of soreness. Manager John Farrell conceded time is running out for Price to get his strength back before the postseason.

UP NEXT

Yankees: CC Sabathia (9-5) is trying to snap a personal two-game losing streak.

Red Sox: Chris Sale (14-4) gets the start. He will be going for his fourth straight win.