Red Sox

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Red Sox and Yankees have made exactly two trades in the past 25 years. Chaim Bloom's Rays dealt with the Yankees twice in the past four.

Now that Bloom is running the Red Sox, could Boston and New York actually swing a trade?

Eh, probably not. But we asked Bloom and Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman about it anyway, because Boston's new baseball boss is a bit of a wild card as he takes over a team that plans on leaving no stone unturned this winter.

Speaking at the GM meetings at the Omni Resort, Bloom said it would be "irresponsible" to cross the Bombers off his list of trade partners, while Cashman noted that he'd be willing to deal with anybody if it would help his team.

"I've been around long enough to know that if it's something that benefits your franchise, you don't worry about anything else -- the public appearance of it or the fear factor," Cashman said. "Our job is to make difficult decisions to the benefit of your franchise. I'm not afraid to deal with anybody, whether it's the Mets, the Red Sox. It doesn't matter. If it makes sense to us and it makes sense to them, so be it. I'm open for business."

The last deal between the two clubs came at the trade deadline in 2014, when the Red Sox shipped shortstop Stephen Drew to New York for fellow infielder Kelly Johnson. Those Red Sox were mired in last place with a record of 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore (how times have changed) in the AL East. The Drew trade put the finishing touches on a two-week bloodletting that saw Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and A.J. Pierzynski jettisoned.

The last deal before that came in August of 1997, when another Red Sox team not in contention shipped catcher Mike Stanley to New York for a package that included Tony Armas, Jr., who'd be used four months later to help acquire Pedro Martinez from the Expos.

Each trade shared an important trait that made dealing between the two cities much easier.

"The best atmosphere is when one team is down and the other is up," Cashman said. "But when you're both in going-for-it-mode and you're both championship-caliber contending clubs, you're typically not in a position to swap players. So it just makes it harder. Atmosphere is important. The Red Sox and Yankees have been perennial playoff contenders year in and year out for a long time. So that's probably more of a hurdle and obstacle than anything else, especially since they're in your own division. That's probably it more than anything else."

That didn't stop the Yankees and Rays from pulling off a pair of recent deals. In February of 2018, they joined a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and Brandon Drury to New York, among many other parts. Two years earlier on a much smaller scale, the Rays purchased catcher Carlos Corporan from New York, though he never appeared in a game for them.

Both Bloom and Cashman share a mutual respect and admiration, even if they're now on opposite sides of baseball's biggest rivalry.

"I think one of the great things about this business is you can be a rival professionally with someone and still respect them a lot, get along great with them personally," Bloom said. "You guys obviously have covered him for a long time and you know how easy he is to talk to.

"I think, in general, look, our job is to do what's best for the Boston Red Sox. There's a lot of considerations that go into that in any conversation. Some of them are true across all 30 clubs, some of them, there might be unique dynamics. Obviously I know the relationship between this organization and the Yankees is not like any other club. But really, at the end of the day, our job as a group … is to do what's best for the Red Sox and then make sure we're just factoring in everything appropriately."

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MLB Rumors: Red Sox among teams pursuing RHP Zack Godley

MLB Rumors: Red Sox among teams pursuing RHP Zack Godley

The Boston Red Sox have a glaring weakness heading into the abbreviated 2020 MLB season.

Their pitching rotation suddenly became one of the thinnest staffs in the league when Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery and David Price was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those losses left Boston with Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Martin Perez as the presumptive 1-3 starters with question marks in the No. 4 and 5 slots.

Not ideal.

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Manager Ron Roenicke shared his tentative plans for the starting rotation Sunday and noted he believes the front office will look into adding another quality arm. According to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, they may have their eyes on right-hander Zack Godley.

"There are multiple teams interested in Godley, according to a source, but the Red Sox are believed to have a chance to sign him," Cotillo wrote Monday.

Godley, 30, spent four-plus seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks posting a 36-30 record and 4.70 ERA. His most productive season came in 2017, when he went 8-9 with a respectable 3.37 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 25 starts.

In 2019, Godley was designated for assignment by Arizona and had a brief stint with the Toronto Blue Jays. He signed a minor-league deal with the Detroit Tigers during the offseason, but was released on Monday.

Needless to say, adding Godley won't solve all of the Red Sox' issues. It would, however, give them another pitcher capable of filling those No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation when necessary.

Would it be the sexiest move? Nope. But Boston needs all the help it can get in the pitching department, so bringing in an experienced arm on the cheap couldn't hurt.

The Red Sox will begin their 60-game campaign July 24 vs. the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Getting to know high-energy Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo, who's about to feel the heat

Getting to know high-energy Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo, who's about to feel the heat

Squeezing his personality into the staid confines of a baseball clubhouse hasn't always come easily to Alex Verdugo, a smiling, tattooed Arizonan who exudes exuberance in a sport that prizes conformity.

During brief stints with the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018, Verdugo tried to play the role of anonymous private, fitting himself for a figurative straitjacket and silencing his natural extroversion. He hit .240 in 52 games.

But that changed last year when he made the team out of spring training and was finally able to show the Dodgers what he was really about.

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Just two weeks into the season, he found himself preparing to step in against Reds left-hander Zach Duke following an intentional walk of Kiki Hernandez in the seventh inning. Before leaving the dugout, he turned to manager Dave Roberts.

"Don't worry, baby," Verdugo said, per the L.A. Times. "I got you. I got you."

Five pitches later, Verdugo rocketed a two-run double to left-center for his third hit of the night. As he celebrated on second base, he screamed to the Dodgers dugout words that would end up emblazoned on t-shirts.

"Don't let the kid get hot!"

Over a year later, the Red Sox plan on letting Verdugo cut loose. The 24-year-old arrived at the start of spring training as the centerpiece of the trade that sent former MVP Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, and the Red Sox need him to hit the ground running after his spring was curtailed by a fracture in his back that has finally healed.

Early in this truncated second spring, Verdugo is opening eyes.

"He was hitting the ball pretty good, to be honest," said shortstop Xander Bogaerts after a recent batting practice session. "I was watching him from on top of my suite. He came here, he was hurt, he was getting treatment, so I didn't see a lot of him while he was with us. But he seems pretty good and obviously needs to be a guy we can lean on. And he's healthy. The more guys who are healthy the better."

A consensus top-35 prospect after being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, Verdugo reached the big leagues on the strength of a well-rounded game. The left-handed hitter has line drive power to all fields, and after never tallying more than 13 homers in a season in the minors, he delivered 12 in the big leagues in 106 games last year before shutting it down with a back injury.

He also hit lefties (.327) better than righties (.281), while posting almost the exact same OPS on the road (.819) as at home (.816). He showed off an arm that rivals teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. All told, he hit .294 with an .817 OPS, showing enough potential for the Red Sox to build a Betts trade around him and give him a shot at being an everyday player.

"Coming from the Dodgers, they were really big on pontooning, platooning, whatever you want to call it," Verdugo said. "For me, I'm an everyday player. That's just that. It's that simple. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. I want to be out there every day competing, no matter if it's a righty or lefty on the mound. I feel like my splits are reversed. I hit lefties better than I hit righties. I want to be a starter, that's what everybody comes in the big leagues for, what everybody wants to be. But they can do whatever they want to do and I'll follow. I'll play as hard as I can."

The Red Sox suspect that Verdugo could become a fan favorite, which is why they handed him a camera during spring training in February to shoot some behind-the-scenes footage highlighting his personality.

Fans weren't sure exactly what to think, since Verdugo arrived with questions over his proximity to a sexual assault during his minor league days in 2015, questions Verdugo addressed early in camp. He faced no charges after a 17-year-old girl accused one of Verdugo's teammates of sexual assault.

"With that incident, there were a lot of reports, and obviously my name being mentioned in the allegations, it hurts," Verdugo said in February. "It really does hurt. It's hard. I don't want Boston fans or people to judge me on something they've read or seen posted. I know who I am. I know what I believe in. I know my family values. It's extremely hard to have to deal with that. You obviously have a lot of mixed-up views on it. I was cleared of any wrongdoing. That being said, it's a terrible thing that happened. It was in the past. I've learned from it. I've grown from it."

Now he turns his attention to the field. Verdugo's walkup music is "Volver, Volver," Vicente Fernandez's 1972 hit. Verdugo plays the song, a favorite of his dad, to honor his Mexican heritage.

L.A. crowds loved it, turning Verdugo's at-bats into a party. He can only hope Red Sox fans come to view him similarly.

"Boston was my favorite team growing up and this is one of the most historic franchises out there," Verdugo said. "To be able to call this my home ballpark, to be able to practice and play, it's special and fun and I look forward to doing it one day with a lot of fans out there."