Boston Red Sox: Underwhelming Trade Deadline could doom team

Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Washington Nationals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone, and boy was it a thrilling ride. We knew there was a chance that a couple teams could blow things up, but watching the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Minnesota Twins send away a large part of their core pieces over the last two days has sent the league into a frenzy. However, one team that didn’t get very involved in the action was the Boston Red Sox.

The Sox own the second best record in the American League, and it was presumed they would be quite active in the trade market as they make their push to the playoffs. Despite their sterling record, they only held a game and a half lead over the Tampa Bay Rays before heading into action against them tonight. It was reasonable to expect some reinforcements as the deadline approached.

Yet Boston largely remained on the sidelines while the rest of the league exploded over the past 48 hours or so. Their big move came last night when they picked up slugger Kyle Schwarber as part of the Nationals firesale, before adding a pair of relievers in Hansel Robles and Austin Davis as buzzer beater deals before the deadline passed.

All in all, this felt like a relatively underwhelming haul for the Boston Red Sox. Sure, Schwarber will come in and provide some much needed pop to the Sox lineup, but he primarily plays in left field, which is where Alex Verdugo has played all season long. It sounds like Schwarber is going to try out first base once he returns from the injured list (also not ideal), but he couldn’t have been their top option heading into the deadline.

And with Robles and Davis, they are bullpen arms, but not necessarily good ones. Both guys have struggled for most of the season, with Davis being a borderline major league arm. Sure they come at discounted prices, but maybe forking over another prospect or two for a better arm would have been worth it.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the league was shelling out whatever it took to make their teams better. Take the AL East for example, where it feels like every other team made a big move to put themselves back into contention for the top spot in the division.

Let’s start with the dreaded New York Yankees. The Yanks are currently nine and a half games out of first place, and are probably competing for a wild card spot if anything. That didn’t stop them from making some big moves, as they picked up Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo, and Andrew Heaney.

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The Rizzo move was a particularly tough pill for Sox fans to swallow, as he had been linked with Boston for months, only to get snatched up at the last second by the Yankees. Gallo had also been identified as a potential trade target, while Heaney could have been a nice addition to Boston’s rotation too.

The Toronto Blue Jays may have had an even bigger trade deadline somehow. They managed to make a huge splash for former Minnesota Twins ace Jose Berrios, while also stocking up on bullpen arms by adding Brad Hand and Joakim Soria. They are eight and a half games out of first in the East, and are also probably just competing for a wild card spot at this point.

The Tampa Bay Rays had a somewhat similar trade deadline to Boston, as their main move was acquiring Nelson Cruz from the Twins, while also oddly moving on from Rich Hill and Diego Castillo. Despite that, Cruz fills more of a need for Tampa then Schwarber does for Boston, and he’s already come in and made his mark on Tampa’s lineup.

Just in their own division, the Boston Red Sox got thoroughly outplayed at the deadline. Each of their competitors made big moves to push the needle on their contention status this season. Meanwhile, Boston just sat and watched, and their needs aren’t any less glaring then they were yesterday.

For starters, they continue to get basically no production from first base. Bobby Dalbec has been below the league average all season long, and is most likely a lost cause for this season. Hoping Schwarber can come in and fill the hole at first base, a position he has barely played, feels like a bad idea.

The starting rotation has also been showing signs of decline over the last month or two. Admittedly, they do have Chris Sale waiting in the wings, and Tanner Houck has been phenomenal since returning to the majors, but again it feels like a stretch not adding some depth. It’s not as if there was a lack of options, it’s just that Boston didn’t seem interested in outbidding other teams for anyone.

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Chaim Bloom has remained committed to winning now and in the future, but you can’t always rely on that to work. That was Danny Ainge’s motto during his run as general manager with the Boston Celtics, and he’s found himself out of a job for the time being. Holding onto prospects is good sometimes, but you also need to take matters into your own hands too.

Bloom’s first trade deadline as a buyer with the Boston Red Sox certainly leaves something to be desired. Boston made a couple of solid moves, but it doesn’t feel like they are any closer to winning a World Series than they were yesterday. While their competitors did what they could to improve their teams, the Red Sox remained passive, and it may end up coming back and biting them later on down the line.