BOSTON — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is trying to play it cool again when it comes to potential trade targets. He does this, sometimes. He’ll occasionally say he’s not going to tip his hand, even though the team’s area of needs are almost always obvious. Other times he’ll come out and say where he’d like to upgrade, as he did in the days leading up to a trade for infielder Eduardo Nunez.
He kind of did both on Friday.
After David Price went to the disabled list Friday, Dombrowski downplayed the potential need for a starter.
“No, not really,” Dombrowski said. “Like I’ve said all along, we’re really open to getting better however we can. We feel comfortable. Of course, we want David Price to start, but if not, we feel comfortable with Doug Fister moving into the rotation. He’ll take his spot. I’m not sure what day he’s going to pitch, Monday or Tuesday.
“We’re not going to go out and make a big trade for a starting pitcher. We’re still hopeful that David will be back at this point. … Doug’s first outing was solid, next two not as good. We thought he threw the ball real well after working on some mechanical things in Seattle the other day.”
Fister has a 7.46 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. Mechanical changes or not, that’s not much to hang your hat on. Lefty Brian Johnson, meanwhile, is getting his shoulder examined, so his status is unclear.
It just might be too difficult. Adding a rotation piece would be costly in terms of prospects and presumably luxury-tax dollars as well. But what about a reliever?
Apparently, Brandon Workman has stolen Dombrowski’s heart — but here’s betting Dombrowski is still looking.
“Well, surprisingly, I’m not going to answer that question for you because I don’t really want to tip our hands on what we’re trying to do other than [the fact] that we are open minded,” Dombrowski said. “Our bullpen has actually performed well and I will say that, we think Joe Kelly’s close to coming back. He’s going to throw, I don’t know, today or tomorrow, and if everything goes well we’ll probably send him out for an inning and then be in a position that we activate him. So it’s not far down the road. That’s big for us.
“We look, I look at, the comeback of Brandon Workman of being like a trade acquisition really. He’s throwing the ball outstanding. He’s throwing the ball in the mid 90s with a good breaking ball and cutter. And I don’t feel, I, we don’t feel like he is just a young guy who’s never been through it. He pitched in the World Series, he’s a proven guy. So when you add another guy like that out there with Kelly and the other guys we have, if we can get better, we will.”
Dombrowski noted how high the prices are generally. Whether he was speaking generally or to relievers wasn’t clear, but it was while answering a question about the potential addition of a reliever.
“But it’s not necessarily always easy and secondly, with the request for what people want at this point, the acquisition price, is large,” Dombrowski said. “Now, what happens between now and 4 o’clock on Monday, we’ll find out. And we continue to have conversations, a lot — there’s even some clubs that aren’t sure what they’re doing yet. I could name three off the top of my head that we talked to today that aren’t sure what they’re going to do yet.”