Red Sox

Dombrowski not worried about making early trades, wants to get injured players back

Dombrowski not worried about making early trades, wants to get injured players back

The Boston Red Sox are finally starting to get hot, as they reached the six games over .500 mark after their win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night. However, their team isn't without holes.

So far this season, their bullpen has been inconsistent and has had trouble closing things out in the later innings. On Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, Marcus Walden blew a one-run lead in the seventh inning before the Red Sox had to make a comeback to beat their lowly division rival in extra innings. And in the eighth inning against the Twins, Colten Brewer got into trouble with a one-run lead before managing to get out of it.

Additionally, the team has had a lot of issues with their fifth starter. Nathan Eovaldi has been out since mid-April and in his stead, their replacements have struggled.

After the New York Yankees got active on the trade market and acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners, there were questions about whether or not the Sox would make a move of their own. Still, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski downplayed the notion that they needed to make a move earlier because of the waiver trade deadline being eliminated.

"I don’t think it has anything necessarily to do with the trading deadline changing," said Dombrowski per WEEI's Rob Bradford. "This is how it has been the last couple of years when you have some clubs who are willing to declare themselves not in it earlier than normal and I think there are more clubs that are like that. Some clubs are willing to make that move if they have a particular need at that time if the asking price is right. As you could see with Encarnacion, he’s a good hitter and it looked like there was some drive to move salary, too."

And Dombrowski would know something about acquiring key players earlier in the season. He acquired World Series MVP Steve Pearce in an unheralded move in late-June and he was a great platoon option with Mitch Moreland. Some expected that after the Sox' early struggles in 2019 they would make a change to the team or patch one of their weaknesses. But, for the moment, it appears that they are willing to wait.

Dombrowski also brought up the fact that the Sox were going to get some players back that could have an impact on the squad. And in particular, Steven Wright, who will return from a suspension on June 25, was one of the names he is excited about in the bullpen.

"Really when you look at our club there are a few guys we’re talking about but we think on June 25 (Steven) Wright will be ready to come back and (Nathan) Eovaldi is making great strides so he should be back in plenty of time by then," said Dombrowski per Bradford. "Pearce, he’ll be healthy, we just have to hope he goes out and performs like he’s capable."

This isn't the first time that Dombrowski has mentioned Wright, so he figures to have a big role as a bullpen arm and a potential spot starter. But while getting injured/suspended players back will help shore up the depth, they may not be the full fix for the team.

The Red Sox still have plenty of time to make a decision on what to do ahead of the trade deadline. For the time being, it appears that they are willing to stand pat even as other teams make early-season trades.

TOMASE: Do the Sox need a starter more than a reliever?>>>

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Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

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That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

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Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.