McAdam: Drew's injury won't push Beltran deal

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McAdam: Drew's injury won't push Beltran deal

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
On the very same day in which it was learned that outfielder J.D. Drew is going on the disabled list Monday with an inpingement in his left shoulder, New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran was quoted -- again -- saying that he would appove a trade to the Red Sox, as long as they didn't intend to use him as the DH.

Beltran, aware that Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas and Boston are the teams most closely associated with him in trade talks, said he had no problem going to any of the clubs.

"Yeah, if that happens,'' said Beltran, ''I would love to be with one of those teams."

It might seem that those two events are related -- one outfielder being injured and lost for at least the next few weeks, and the best available outfielder on the trade market reiterating that, yes, he would forego his no-trade clause and agree to be traded to Boston.

In truth, the two are unrelated.

To begin with, it wasn't as if Drew was going to be playing regularly in right field, or anywhere else, for the Red Sox over the final two-plus months this season.

Drew had been in the starting lineup just four times in the nine games since the All-Star break and those decisions weren't related to his ailing shoulder.

Quietly and without any sort of official announcement, Drew had, in effect, lost his starting job in right. Terry Francona never made that public, but then, that's not his habit. He didn't make any sort of grand pronouncement back in April when Jed Lowrie had dislodged Marco Scutaro as the starting shortstop, either. It was left for everyone else to draw that conclusion.

The fact is, Drew would have started once or twice a week the rest of the way, and perhaps been used as a late-inning defensive replacement. With rosters expanded in September, his role -- beyond that of his defense -- might have been reduced even further.

So, Drew going on the DL isn't a a move that impacts the big picture. It merely makes it easier for Francona to play Reddick without having to explan why Drew was out of the lineup.

As for Beltran, the very fact that four other teams in contention (Phillies, Braves, Giants and Rangers) remain very much interested in dealing for him makes it that much more likely that the Red Sox won't.

The more competition that exists for Beltran, the more the Mets can ask for in return. As potentially dicey as it may be to have two teams in their own division with interest in Beltran, such competition only enhances their bargaining position.

The Braves don't want Beltran to be the missing piece for the Phils, while the Phils don't want Beltran to be the difference for the Braves making up ground in the division.

If the Red Sox thought the asking price on Beltran was too much a week or so ago, it's not about to come down now with four other teams still involved -- each one of them more desperate to improve their lineup.

The Red Sox have played almost .700 baseball (60-27) since beginning the season 2-12 despite getting almost nothing out of right field all year. Their collective OPS from right field is .637, 13th in the league.

Given that, how much incentive is there to further thin out their farm system to win a bidding war against four other contenders?

Answer: none.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.

Consider:

THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.