Red Sox consider pitching, eye Jimenez

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Red Sox consider pitching, eye Jimenez

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- For the better part of the last few weeks, the Red Sox have been in search of some help through a deal. Now, it seems as if that quest will likely extend all the way until Sunday afternoon, when the non-waiver trade deadline looms.

With uncertainty over Clay Buchholz's immediate future -- he hasn't pitched in six weeks and his back is still enough of a concern that the team is flying him across the country to visit with a specialist Monday -- the team's clear focus is on obtaining a starting pitcher.

For now, the team's fourth and fifth starters -- Andrew Miller and Tim Wakefield -- have only two wins since July 7 and the prospect of going into the playoffs with uncertainty beyond Josh Beckett and Jon Lester is understandably unsettling.

The problem, as is often the case at this time of year, is the marketplace.

With little quality starting pitching available, what little that's out there is predictably overpriced.

The best available arm belongs to Ubaldo Jimenez, but the Colorado Rockies appear to be seeking a package that would include three of the Red Sox' top prospects -- plus others.

The New York Yankees have already balked at the Rockies' asking price and some reports have the Red Sox being the most aggressive team on Jimenez.

It's possible that the Sox are merely keeping themselves in the bidding with Colorado so as to ensure that he doesn't wind up with the Yankees at the 11th hour.

The Rockies have been rather public about shopping Jimenez. They were reportedly unhappy with his poor conditioning this past spring, while Jimenez was said to be miffed that the Rockies extended the contracts of teamamtes Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but didn't reward him with a new deal.

If hard feelings exists (to say nothing of the club's obvious willingness to move him), it may be too late for the Rockies to pull back. On Sunday, they could lower their demands and settle for two top prospects.

If that doesn't happen, the Sox may be dealing with some other pitchers who are far more problematic than Jimenez, though, it would follow, also far more affordable.

The Red Sox were one of a handful of teams with scouts watching lefty Erik Bedard come off the DL Friday night in Seattle, but whether it was because of a month-long layoff, Bedard was not impressive, allowing five runs in just an inning and a third.

That should, in theory, make Bedard less expensive in terms of prospects. But his poor outing might also make the Red Sox pause.

Hiroki Kuroda is yet another option, but the pursuit of the Los Angeles Dodgers righthander is complicated by the fact that he has a full no-trade clause. Attempting to work out a deal Sunday for Kuroda, who is known to be deliberate in his thinking, may be quite duanting.

The best the Sox can hope for is a lowering of demands, reducing their risk while adding an arm. It's highly unlikely they'll know whether they succeed until the final hours Sunday afternoon.

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

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:

*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.

Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.

Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.

Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.

Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.

But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.

"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''

Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.

"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''

Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.

For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.

Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.

 

*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.

Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.

With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.

The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.

"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''

"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''