Notes: Sox no longer in market for pitcher

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Notes: Sox no longer in market for pitcher

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

BALTIMORE -- After trying for the second time in a week to obtain a pitcher from outside the organization, the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon abandoned their efforts and will go with someone from inside the organization should a play-in game be necessary Thursday at Tropicana Field.

The Sox had been in discussions with the Kansas City Royals concerning veteran lefty Bruce Chen, and at one point early Wednesday afternoon, were close to finalizing a deal. But a breakdown occurred -- believed to be on Kansas City's part -- and when the trade fizzled, the Sox made a decision to halt their search.

Obtaining a pitcher from outside the organization to pitch the most important game of the season would not have been greeted positively in the clubhouse. The new player -- Chen or someone else -- would not have had any real emotional investment in the Sox.

It's unclear who will be the choice to start Thursday, if necessary, though the Red Sox' options are limited and not all appetizing.

The most obvious choice would be John Lackey, who would be pitching on three days' rest. Lackey owns the worst ERA of any American League starter with 150 or more innings, though he had an encouraging outing Sunday night in New York, pitching the Sox into the seventh inning while allowing three runs.

The Sox have some concern that the Rays would run unchecked against Lackey, who isn't quick to the plate.

After Ryan Lavarnway's breakout game Tuesday night (two homers, four RBI), the Sox elected to stay with him in the lineup despite the fact that he had only made one start behind the plate in the big leagues and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (bruised collarbone) was cleared to play.

"Salty could go, but I don't think he's close to 100 percent," said Francona. "But we have a kid who just drove in four runs and caught a pretty good game and (starting pitcher Jon) Lester is OK with (Lavarnway) catching. I think rather than go the other way where Salty starts and we bring the kid in, I think we're better off doing it this way.

"If we have to make a move, Salty's sitting there. But this kid played a pretty good game."

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

McAdam: It's make-or-break time before the break for Red Sox

McAdam: It's make-or-break time before the break for Red Sox

Not long ago, the final homestand of the first half of the 2016 season looked like an opportunity for the Red Sox.
      
Now, however, it looks more like a survival test.
      
Are they contenders or pretenders? 
     
Is this a month-long downturn or a preview of coming attractions? 

      
The Red Sox still possess a winning record and are tied for one of the wild-card spots in the American League. The season isn't shot. Yet.
      
But it could be soon if the Red Sox don't execute a turnaround and thrust themselves back into the divisional race. At the precise moment the Red Sox are in freefall, the Baltimore Orioles are streaking, and doing what the Red Sox have failed to do: take advantage of some breaks in the schedule.
      
While the Red Sox dropped two of three to a Tampa Bay team which had lost 11 in a row -- four at the hands of the Orioles themselves, it should be noted -- the Orioles have steamrolled over lowly opponents to go 7-1 against a steady diet of nothing by the Rays and Padres.
      
That delivers some additional urgency to this upcoming homestand, which features three games each against the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers and the Rays again.
      
While Dave Dombrowski continues to hunt for pitching help, how the Red Sox play over the next nine games could either intensify his search or reduce it to unnecessary.
      
Should the Red Sox lose further ground while at home, it might result in Dombrowski refusing to mortgage any of his organization's future for a team that hasn't proven worthy of an upgrade.
      
Why sacrifice prospects in exchange for a starting pitcher or bullpen piece when the playoffs drift out of reach? And, yes, the Red Sox are going to need reinforcements to the rotation and the bullpen for next year either way, but if the Sox don't show signs of life soon, that effort can be put off until after the season.
      
Due to simple laws of supply and demand, the already exorbitant cost of pitching skyrockets before the trade deadline, since there are a handful of needy teams convinced that one additional arm could spell the difference between a trip to the World Series and missing the postseason altogether.
      
If a team isn't in need of immediate help, it's best to wait for November and December, when there's less of a sense of desperation to the whole exercise.
      
Beyond the matter of determining whether the Red Sox go all-in on 2016, there's the matter of job security for manager John Farrell.
      
Should the Sox continue to stumble, the All-Star break might give Dombrowski time and cause to evaluate whether it's time to make a change in the dugout.
      
If Dombrowski determines that the season can still be salvaged with a change of voice in the dugout, Farrell would be vulnerable. And if he decides that, regardless of playoff aspirations, he's seen enough in a half-season of observation that  Farrell isn't his choice to lead the club going forward, the four-day break would be time to reflect, then act on that evaluation.
      
Farrell challenged his team in a postgame meeting Monday, exhorting them to play to their potential, to trust in their teammates and play hard.
      
If that push doesn't yield tangible results in the next 10 days, a dark uncertainty -- for himself and the team he manages -- lies ahead.
      
The All-Star break offers upper management and ownership a time to take stock in what they have. If they don't like what they see in the next week and a half, the consequences could be felt soon.
      
       

 

Carrabis: Farrell doesn't have to rip his pitchers

Carrabis: Farrell doesn't have to rip his pitchers

Jared Carrabis joins Michael Felger on Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight to provide his take on David Price's latest outing and the apparent disconnect between Red Sox players and manager John Farrell.