McAdam: Sox may make moves sooner rather than later

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McAdam: Sox may make moves sooner rather than later

TAMPA -- The non-waiver trade deadline is nearly three weeks away, and in the past, the Red Sox have pulled off some of their biggest July deals at literally the last minute.
The complex three-team Manny Ramirez deal took place with seconds to spare in 2008 and recent deals involving Victor Martinez (2009) and Eric Bedard (2011) took place in the minutes before the deadline.
But this year, external forces might force the Red Sox to move sooner.
The imminent return of outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, while welcome, will create a logjam of outfielders for the Red Sox roster, which could speed up the timetable for some deals.
Two weeks ago, the Red Sox were forced to designate Darnell McDonald when a numbers crunch hit the roster. McDonald, while a member of the Red Sox for the past two and a half seasons, had little value on the trade market.
But that won't be the case for a number of outfielders under the team's control. And already, there's a surplus on hand. While at least two of the three outfielders who could be moved still have options remaining and could be stashed at Pawtucket short-term, it behooves the club to move one (or more) sooner rather than later.

-- Scott Podsednik, who came off the disabled list last week following a groin strain, has been optioned to Pawtucket, with no available spot on the roster.
Obtained earlier this season in a minor trade with the Phillies, Podsednik showed a renewed ability to get on base in 19 games with the Sox and is capable of playing an adequate left and center field.
In a few weeks time, Podsednik succeeded in re-establishing some value and with no spot available for him upon the return of Crawford and Ellsbury, the Red Sox would be wise to get something for him while they still can.
Even if Podsednik isn't necessarily viewed as an everyday player by many clubs, his skill set (speed, on-base ability, defense) is perpetually in demand by clubs looking to improve their depth for the final two months.

-- Daniel Nava, whose play over the last two months has re-ignited his career, could be another piece in demand.
Since being promoted -- frankly out of desperation, when the Sox had seven outfielders on the DL at the same time -- Nava has shown himself to be a much-improved defender in left.
Moreover, having taken over as essentially the everyday leadoff hitter for the Sox for the past month, Nava has comiled a .388 on-base percentage.
Most scouts would argue that Nava is better suited as a depth option off the bench rather than an everyday contributor, but with so many teams on the periphery of the playoff race, there's no shortage of demand for valuable pieces like Nava.
Like Podsednik, Nava's value has never been higher, and may never be this high again. With Crawford signed to a long-term deal, Ellsbury under control through the end of 2013, Ryan Kalish ready to contribute from Pawtucket and highly-valued outfield prospects Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz no more than a season and a half away, Nava doesn't have a long-term spot in the Red Sox' outfield.
The time to move him is now.

-- Ryan Sweeney was, for a time earlier this season, the most dependable major league outfielder the Red Sox had. Indeed, even with return of Crawford and Ellsbury, the case can be made that Sweeney remains the team's best outfield defender, capable of playing all three outfield spots.
But with Crawford, Ellsbury and Cody Ross viewed as the starting outfield soon, Sweeney has been relegated to a back-up role and he could serve as an interesting trading chip.
It's important not to overstate Sweeney's appeal. He has next-to-no home run power -- he's without one in 192 plate appearances this season -- and his .400 slugging percentage is telling.
But Sweeney can hit for average, provide the occasional double and is a plus defender. He would excel as part of a platoon or the first outfielder off the bench for a team in contention. Sweeney is still just 27 and is under control for another season and a half.

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."