BOSTON — Less than 24 hours after the White Sox-Yankees blockbuster deal, manager John Farrell was unsure if the Red Sox have a trade up their sleeve.
Farrell was complimentary if measured in evaluating the Yankees’ trade with the White Sox that brought Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to New York. The Yanks (48-44) began Wednesday 3 1/2 games behind Boston (53-42), and were simply better positioned to make upgrades than the Red Sox.
“Any time you add a couple guys that can strike people out late in the game, that’s a boost,” Farrell said. “Their first base situation might be similar to our third-base situation. So they felt like that was obviously an upgrade. They helped themselves, there’s no doubt.”
So, now, will the Red Sox?
“I don’t know. I can’t answer that right now,” Farrell said when asked if a trade is likely. “I can tell you every effort is being made to. But I think the bottom line is what makes sense. I think there’s some guys that we don’t want to part ways with, that’s pretty clear. So where this goes, there’s a couple weeks remaining.”
Identifying two of those players (and perhaps the only two) is easy: Jay Groome and Rafael Devers are presumed off limits, lest the farm system be left barren.
Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday called third base the obvious area where the Red Sox could look to upgrade, which has been abundantly clear for a while.
The Red Sox have the fewest home runs in the American League overall, 97, and an offense that has a .209/.277/.298 slash line to begin the second half. They’re better than that, of course, but it’s been a rough go lately.
Pablo Sandoval was officially released on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be positional fit more than anything,” Farrell said when asked if the team seeks power. “If that combination exists, sure, I’m sure we’re having conversations in that way. I guess what I can tell you is this: the conversations being had are ways we can address the left side of the infield, and if there’s a situation that presents to increase the depth or upgrade late in the bullpen, and if it’s a deal that makes sense, I think we would look to take advantage of it. But I know Dave has got a lot going on right now, as you’d expect, but we’ll see what unfolds.”
Farrell acknowledged he has some surprise at the lack of power the Red Sox have shown. Their .410 slugging percentage is below the major league average of .425.
“Somewhat,” Farrell said. “I can’t say it’s drastically different than what you envision. We knew with the changes last offseason and the addition of Chris Sale and upgrades in pitching, we were looking at a run differential we were hoping to preserve or improve upon. So while that might not have been done sheerly with runs scored, it’s a matter of pitching better, pitching more consistently, which I think we’re doing.”