Red Sox

Drellich: For Dombrowski, this trade deadline could be no big deal


Drellich: For Dombrowski, this trade deadline could be no big deal

BOSTON — For the Red Sox’ top baseball decision-maker, Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline might be a rather sobering dose of reality. Everything leading up to it probably has been, particularly because the team has looked rudderless since the All-Star Game.

Typically, the conversation about living up to contracts and lofty expectations centers on players. More and more in baseball, however, those sentiments apply to executives as well, especially big-name bosses in big markets.


Enter Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Dealer Dave has a salary that is not to be sneezed at. He also has something resembling a mandate to get this team over the hump.

The trouble is that Dombrowski’s image and practicality do not seem in alignment at the moment. Here’s betting a deal gets done, because it’s what he’s supposed to do. But at the same time, it’d be virtually impossible to make a deal that catapults the Red Sox into a more clearly defined pole position. Not without jeopardizing the farm system.

Shortly before the Cubs were publicly known Sunday night to be finalizing a deal for reliever Justin Wilson, ESPN’s Buster Olney noted to CSN’s Lou Merloni that the level of bidding was just too rich for the Red Sox’ blood.

Bidding situation. Not favorable for Boston under the circumstances,” Olney wrote on Twitter.

Discipline is to be applauded if continually exhibited by Dombrowski. A refusal to part with chips like Jay Groome -- or a piece who may now be indispensable to this year’s major league team, Rafael Devers -- is not insignificant.

Yet, it wouldn’t feel right if Dombrowski completed nothing on Monday.

“That’s kind of what Dave does,” David Price said Saturday when asked about the possibility of an addition. “That’s kind of what he’s known for. He’s always looking for ways to make the team better. I don’t think it matters if you’re in second place or you’re in first place in your division by seven or eight games. He’s always looking for ways to make our club better. That’s one of the good things about having Dave around.”

The question is whether or not Dombrowski, both to live up to his own reputation and give his team a small shot in the arm, need make another move. And whether said expected move will prove to be closer to last year’s deadline day pick-up, Fernando Abad, simply because of Dombrowski’s limited resources, both in terms of prospects and luxury-tax room.

The Sox front office and their scouting staff have been working hard. Anything that can boost this team without screwing up its future has been considered. That’s not lip service or an act.

Here’s betting some sort of trade is coming, too.

But the writing’s been on the wall for a while now. After all the other moves Dombrowski has made, there’s not a ton he reasonably can do. In the big picture, Dealer Dave is being forced to play Disciplined Dave on the day everyone is thinking about nothing but, well, deals.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young


Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.