Red Sox

Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Todd Frazier-David Robertson-Tommy Kahnle trade became official at midnight. Two minutes later, Deven Marrero couldn’t get an 11th-inning bunt down on three tries and struck out. 

The Red Sox and Blue Jays trudged into a marathon game from there, one that ended more than an hour later. Hanley Ramirez finally parked one over the Green Monster in the 15th inning for a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays.

So the Red Sox’ offense did scrape by Tuesday, but just barely. On the same night, the team’s front office was forced to watch as the Yankees launched a surprise attack in the trade market and poked the Red Sox in the eye.

Want that third baseman? You can't have him.

Too often, the Sox look powerless right now. That goes for both the lineup and the man who assembled it, Dave Dombrowski.

There’s nothing Dombrowski could have done to stop the Yankees, to sway Chicago to send Frazier to Boston instead. Or, more accurately, there’s nothing Dombrowski should have done.

The luxury tax threshold is a concern, with little room for the Sox to add. In that sense, they are at the mercy of baseball’s now forced cyclical nature. 

So, to his credit, Dombrowski remained disciplined and didn't pull out all the stops. He’s spoken publicly about the need to hold onto prospects, and he backed that up Tuesday.

But the harsher reality: The Sox have already spent most of their savings. Dombrowski’s already pulled off a blockbuster. More than one. Only two certified gold doubloons remain: Rafael Devers and Jason Groome. 

 

Sox owner John Henry spoke to Dombrowski in the front office suite during the game, once news of the trade had come out. The conversation could have been run of the mill and coincidental, but the timing was hard to ignore.

Red Sox fans can now enjoy watching Yoan Moncada play in the big leagues for the White Sox -- a team that, after helping the Yankees Tuesday, promoted Moncada to the majors for the first time since the Red Sox dealt him for Chris Sale. 

No one would rightly undo the Sale trade, because he's been amazing. But Moncada’s promotion is simply a reminder of the cost of doing business. The Brewers’ Travis Shaw, and the home run he deposited into the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, are the same.

Brian Cashman’s Yankees are at a different point in their development cycle than Dombo’s Sox. There’s an excitement in the sheer magnitude of the Frazier trade, in the surprise of seeing the Yankees jump out of the bushes and look once again like, well, the Yankees. 

"Pretty good players, but I believe in our team," Ramirez said of New York's haul. "We’ll just see. We have to keep pushing to the limit.”

An American League East without blockbusters doesn’t feel right, and Cashman slow played this. Do the Sox now need their own move?

"I have no comments," Ramirez said. "It’s not my job. I’ve got to just come back in a couple of hours and win again."

The Yankees are just getting started, really. Cashman has spent time building up the farm system. He has a young core that's to be taken seriously, and has a lineup that’s better than Boston’s and now a bullpen that might be the best in the majors. 

Dombrowski still has time and the ability to improve the Red Sox. The Sale-David Price one-two punch looks second to none. But the offense isn’t going to drastically improve via trade.

Power has been the theme all year for the Red Sox. As the Yanks showed off theirs Tuesday and the Red Sox played 15 innings, what the Sox lack was only underscored -- both on the field and in their wherewithal to improve midseason.