MLB trade deadline

Zack Britton makes bold boast about Yankees ahead of Red Sox series

Zack Britton makes bold boast about Yankees ahead of Red Sox series

The New York Yankees, like the rival Boston Red Sox, stayed virtually silent at Wednesday's MLB trade deadline.

And Zack Britton couldn't be happier.

While folks in Boston (rightfully) called out president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski for failing to upgrade a third-place Red Sox team, the Yankees reliever believes his club is elite as is.

"I've played against the Yankees my whole career," Britton told SNY's Scott Thompson. "This is by far the best team I've seen them put together since I've been in the big leagues. So I think we got a really good shot with the guys in-house."

In fact, Britton, who spent seven-plus seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before coming to New York at the 2018 trade deadline, insists the Yankees in full form are the best team in baseball.

"Obviously we gotta play better than we have over the last few weeks," he added. "But if we do and guys pitch and hit to their potential, play defense to their potential, we're better than every team."

They're certainly better than the Red Sox, who trail New York by 10.5 games entering a three-game series in the Bronx.

The Sox showed signs of life last weekend by taking three of four from the Yankees at Fenway Park but are 1-6 against their rival this season on away or neutral (London) turf. If that trend continues, Britton's Yankees could drive a final nail into Boston's American League East coffin.

You could argue the Houston Astros are the new class of the AL after landing stud starter Zack Greinke. But the Yankees also should get Luis Severino and Dellin Betances back from injuries for the stretch run, so Britton (unlike Red Sox fans) has reason to be confident in his club.

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Sam Kennedy talks Mookie Betts' contract, chances Red Sox would trade him

Sam Kennedy talks Mookie Betts' contract, chances Red Sox would trade him

Among the many moves the Boston Red Sox could have made before Wednesday's MLB trade deadline, dealing Mookie Betts obviously would have been the most eye-opening.

But there's a reason why we're even broaching the subject: Betts will enter his final year of arbitration in 2020 and become an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season. If the Red Sox don't want to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars for a new deal, it would make sense to move the All-Star outfielder before he becomes a free agent.

Speaking Thursday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show," Red Sox president Sam Kennedy admitted that while the club didn't specifically discuss trading Betts, no player was off the table in pre-deadline talks.

"No specific discussions about Mookie Betts or any other player. Just a general discussion, which I think is healthy,” Kennedy said. “About a week before the deadline, ownership and Dave and the team, we sit down and just kind of go, 'All right, what are things looking like?’

"... We said to ourselves, 'Let’s see what’s out there on the market' and 'Would there be a willingness to listen to any deal?' And the honest answer to that is yes. I think it would be irresponsible to not at least listen. Were there any substantive discussions or actually any discussions that got to any type of ownership level on any of our more elite players? No, there were not."

The Red Sox haven't offered Betts a contract extension, meaning there's a good chance the 26-year-old tests free agency in 2020. But Kennedy made it clear the team wants its franchise player to stick around.

"We would love for Mookie Betts to be a Red Sox forever," Kennedy said.

" ... There have been substantial conversations over the past three years about what we may do that may work with him. We are not engaged in any type of contract discussion during the season. We wouldn't do that because of the distraction it could cause. We would love to have him here for the long term and remain hopeful that may be possible."

If Betts indeed reaches free agency, the Red Sox have a big decision to make. In the meantime, they'll hope their lack of action at Wednesday's deadline doesn't shut them out of the 2019 postseason.

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Were asking prices for relievers too high for Red Sox? It doesn't look that way

Were asking prices for relievers too high for Red Sox? It doesn't look that way

BOSTON — The Red Sox wanted to acquire a reliever, but the cost was simply too high, Dave Dombrowski repeated again and again during Wednesday's trade deadline post-mortem.

"I don't know that there was a player out there that was traded that we couldn't have acquired," Dombrowski said. "It's just that we didn't like the price that was asked."

That statement prompts an obvious question: Which relievers were moved, and just how much did they cost? An examination of 18 viable arms who swapped teams in July suggests that more than a few were available for reasonable costs.

First a couple of caveats. We're relying on industry observers like Baseball America, MLB.com, and Fangraphs for prospect evaluations. Teams often rank prospects very differently internally.

For another, we don't know which of these relievers the Red Sox tried to acquire and what the dealing clubs wanted in return. Maybe the ask was prohibitively higher for Boston than their eventual destinations.

But based on the pitchers who did change uniforms, it's hard to believe the Red Sox couldn't have managed a significant upgrade for a reasonable cost.

Take Sam Dyson. The Giants right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA. He owns a 47-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has been one of the better relievers in baseball over the last two years. The Twins acquired him for a trio of minor leaguers — Prelander Berroa, Jaylin Davis, Kai-Wei Teng. None ranked among Minnesota's top 30 prospects, according to both Baseball America and MLB.com.

The 31-year-old Dyson is making $5 million and has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining, so he's not a pure rental. What he is, with a lifetime ERA of 3.29 over eight seasons, is a proven commodity. He'll help the Twins. He could've helped the Red Sox.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the other reliever the Twins acquired. They nabbed Marlins closer Sergio Romo, but at the cost of their No. 10 prospect, slugging first baseman Lewin Diaz, who has 19 home runs at two levels. (Miami sweetened the deal by sending its own 27th-ranked prospect back). Romo is a rental who doesn't strike anyone out anymore, so there's real risk Minnesota will lose this deal. Those are the kind of swaps Dombrowski was smart to avoid.

Sticking with the Giants, what about three-time All-Star Mark Melancon? The 34-year-old went to Atlanta for mediocre right-hander Dan Winkler and borderline prospect Tristan Beck, who had posted a 5.65 ERA at High A and was the organization's 30th-ranked prospect, per Baseball America's midseason rankings. The Braves have a loaded system, so their No. 30 prospect could be Boston's No. 15, but still — not a massive price to pay for an experienced big leaguer with a 3.50 ERA.

The Braves didn't just land Melancon. They also got Tigers closer Shane Greene for their No. 9 prospect (left-hander Joey Wentz) and unranked outfielder Travis Demeritte, who has 20 homers at Triple A. Wentz is a legit arm who'd easily have been the best pitching prospect in the Red Sox system, but it's still not a monster haul for an All-Star with one more year of team control.

A truly head-scratching deal involved the Blue Jays, who seemed to make a bunch of them. While many focus on the relatively meager return from the Mets for ace Marcus Stroman, consider their swap with the Astros. In exchange for solid veteran reliever Joe Biagini (3-1, 3.78), reclamation project Aaron Sanchez (3 years removed from finishing 7th in the Cy Young vote) , AND promising outfielder Cal Stevenson (Toronto's No. 16 prospect), the Astros only surrendered non-prospect Derek Fisher, a power bat in the minors who has nonetheless hit only .201 in parts of three big-league seasons and is on the verge of becoming a 26-year-old in Triple A. Perhaps the Jays didn't want to trade with Boston, but that's not much of a return.

The Jays also shipped right-hander Daniel Hudson (6-3, 3.00) to the Nationals for fringe prospect Kyle Johnston, who had fallen out of Washington's top 30, per Baseball America. Hudson is a pure rental, but Johnston is a 2017 college pick spending his second straight season at High-A.

Another respectable arm shipped out for non-prospects was Kansas City left-hander Jake Diekman, who went to the A's for right-hander Ismael Aquino and outfielder Dairon Blanco. Aquino doesn't appear on any of Oakland's top-30 lists, while Blanco cracked just one, checking in at No. 26 on Baseball America's midseason rankings. Diekman posted huge strikeout numbers in Kansas City, with a 3.37 FIP that suggests his 4.75 ERA might be inflated.

Of the 18 relievers NBC Sports Boston examined, only five were traded for top-15 prospects: Romo, Greene, Texas's Chris Martin (to the Braves), Seattle's Roenis Elias (to the Nats), and Miami's Nick Anderson (to the Rays). The biggest outlay was Tampa surrendering its No. 4 prospect, outfielder Jesus Sanchez, for Anderson, a 29-year-old rookie with five more years of team control who's in the midst of an outstanding season, striking out over 14 batters per nine.

Any one of these relievers could've helped the Red Sox. Most of them were traded for relatively modest prospect hauls. It certainly looks like there were deals to be made without pillaging the farm, but Dombrowski apparently thought differently.

Click here for Winners & Losers from MLB Trade Deadline>>>>

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