BOSTON — Everyone knows it, but Tuesday, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had not publicly acknowledged that third base is a clear area where the Red Sox can upgrade via trade.
Appearing on the telecast's pre-game show in an interview with Tom Caron, Dombrowski said he did not think the Sox were close to a deal.
"But talks take place all the time at this time of year," Dombrowski said when asked generally if a deal was close. "So you have half a dozen per talks today with various clubs and your scouts gathering all types of information. I think we’re open to upgrading ourself any way we possibly can. Third base becomes the obvious because when you look at the rest of the club from a positional player perspective ... [and] mostly from a pitching perspective, there’s not any glaring weaknesses at that point.
"But third base is the one area where we really haven’t come up with the league norm, the league average at this time. So again, we’re open-minded to doing it any way we possibly can. Third base is one area where we could possibly address."
Per Baseball-Reference.com, the Red Sox have had the third-worst production at third base in the majors this season, -1.6 wins above replacement. Only Pablo Sandoval's old team, the Giants (-2.1) and the rebuilding Phillies (-2.3) have been worse.
Brock Holt got the start at third base on Tuesday night, batting ninth. A lefty, J.A. Happ, was on the mound, which isn't an ideal matchup for Holt. But Deven Marrero, Holt's platoon partner, was needed to play shortstop because Xander Bogaerts was scratched from the lineup. Bogaerts' right hand is bothering him after he was hit by a pitch on it before the All-Star break.
Dombrowski was not as emphatic about the search bullpen help. But a combination of injuries, recent performance and the lack of a track record for the current cast suggests another arm would help too.
A baseball source confirmed the Red Sox have been in touch with the Mets about reliever Addison Reed.
"We’re also in this spot where right now we’re stretched a little bit because we’re starting actually seven people [in the rotation], but normally six, because we’re giving Doug [Fister] the start on Thursday to give our starters the extra day after all the innings they pitched the last time," Dombrowski said. "So we’re short one man in the bullpen. Of course, Joe Kelly got hurt, Blaine Boyer got hurt.
"So we’re feeling a little bit short-handed, but I think when we have all of our people, we’re very strong out there and we’ll just have to analyze it, see if there is a move that can make us better."