Red Sox will look elsewhere, within for help

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Red Sox will look elsewhere, within for help

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
Tampa -- In less than three weeks, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will arrive, offering the Red Sox one more opportunity to upgrade their roster and fill needs.

For now, it's difficult to say definitively exactly what those need are. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz currently on the disabled list and Josh Beckett unableunwilling to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game, the starting rotation is, to put it charitably, problematic.

But most of the injuries to starters are minor in nature and it's likely both Beckett and Lester will resume their regular turns within the next week.

Moreover, the starting pitching is so threadbare that there's little in the way of front-line pitching available - even if the Sox were willing to make a bold move.

That leaves three areas for the Red Sox to address by month's end.
1) Right field

J.D. Drew has provided 10 extra-base hits in the first 90 games and the production at the position has been almost non-existent.

Some big names (Carlos Beltran, perhaps Michael Cuddyer) are available, but every indication is that the Red Sox are not thinking big at this position. Beltran will be owed 6 million at the deadline, and while ownership will be willing to increase payroll somewhat, that's a significant investment leap.

With the highest-scoring lineup in the game, there's no compelling need to land a big bat. Instead, it's far more likely that the Sox will be more inclined to add a complementary part, someone such as Jeff Baker of the Chicago Cubs.

Baker crushes left-handed pitching and is affordable.

The Sox don't need an everyday All-Star; they'd settle for a better version of Darnell McDonald.

2) Bullpen

The answers here might come from within.

If Bobby Jenks can stay healthy and give the club another experienced late-inning power arm, the Sox would be in better shape.

Similarly, if Franklin Morales can throw as well as he has in recent weeks, the urgency to find a lefty reliever would quickly lessen.

If, however, one or both pitchers stumble, the Sox would likely view their bullpen as inadequate for the demands of September and beyond.

Almost every contender seeks a bullpen upgrade at the deadline; the Sox would be no different.

3) Shortstop

Jed Lowrie (shoulder) hasn't swung a bat in weeks and likely won't return until August. Marco Scutaro has been fine as the starter, but he, too, has a history of breaking down.

If something were to happen to Scutaro in the coming weeks, the Sox would be caught with few options at a critical position. Drew Sutton is a useful role player, but would be exposed as an everyday infielder. Both Yamaico Navarro and Jose Iglesias lack the experience and polish to take over on a full-time basis.

Acquiring an experienced, tested middle infielder isn't just prudent - it's essential.

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

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.