Red Sox

Dombrowski: Sox 'still have a chance to work', Steven Wright could be 'big addition'

Dombrowski: Sox 'still have a chance to work', Steven Wright could be 'big addition'

Midway through June, the Boston Red Sox are sitting in third place in the AL East with a record of 36-34. Through 70 games, that's not exactly where the defending World Series champions wanted to be.

As a result, that has spurred some potential talks that the Red Sox could make a move to bolster their roster. Conversely, there has also been talk that they could sell off some parts to re-stock a mediocre farm system if they don't improve quickly.

However, Red Sox president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, isn't ready to change the team and referenced that a lot could change before the league's July 31 trade deadline.

“A lot can happen between now and [the trade deadline],” said Dombrowski, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. “Right now, even though we are not happy with the way we have played, we think we’re better. I think the players think we’re better, I think the staff thinks we’re better. Again, we all know we have to do it. We’re not by any means ready to say, ‘Oh, this is not going to work,’ because it still has a chance to work.”

Hypothetically, Dombrowski could be right, as this squad is largely the same one that was able to take home the title last year. However, they did lose their two best bullpen arms, Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly, and Nathan Eovaldi has missed a large chunk of the season with an elbow issue. And in Eovaldi's stead, the team's spot starters have struggled mightily.

Still, despite the negative attention that the pitching -- and specifically, the bullpen -- has gotten lately, Dombrowski isn't viewing the unit as a problem spot. He also pointed to Steven Wright's return as something that could bolster the pen.

“I think our bullpen gets way too much focus of attention as being a problem for us. I don’t think that they have performed anywhere nearly as poorly as some guys have said. I think some guys have performed very well, actually,” said Dombrowski, per Speier. “You put [Wright] in our bullpen, that’s a big addition all of a sudden for us.”

Wright was suspended for the first 80 games of the 2019 season after a positive PED test. He will be eligible to return to the Red Sox on June 25.

In 2018, Wright logged a 3-1 record with a 2.68 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings pitched. The knuckleballer started in four games and could help to fix the unit's troubles and serve as a solid spot starter at times.

Still, it is fair to question the Sox' bullpen. After all, they were forced to have Josh Smith, a pitcher with a career record of 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA, close last night's 7-6 victory. While it worked, it is still clear that they may be an arm short in the bullpen, despite what Dombrowski and Alex Cora think.

Perhaps the team could investigate trading for a back-end bullpen option if Wright's return doesn't spark the team the way that they are hoping. 

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MLB trade deadline tracker: Latest news on players tied to Red Sox

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB trade deadline tracker: Latest news on players tied to Red Sox

If the Red Sox become buyers ahead of the MLB trade deadline, who will they be shopping for? Here's an updated look at the players reportedly on their radar ahead of July 31.

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Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez becoming 'the guy we envisioned'

Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez becoming 'the guy we envisioned'

Red Sox fans could get used to this version of Eduardo Rodriguez.

The left-hander was sensational in Monday night's 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing only two hits and not giving up a run in seven innings of work. Manager Alex Cora has been especially critical of Rodriguez in the past for his inconsistencies, but he came away thrilled with what he saw in Tampa Bay.

“We know how good he can be. I think you get to a point in your career where you realize your stuff is good, really good, and you don’t have to be David [Price] or Chris [Sale] or Rick [Porcello],” Cora told reporters. “You learn from them but at the end, your stuff is that good. He’s learning every outing. … Little by little he’s becoming the guy we envisioned. He’s a strong guy. I don’t think we have to put a limit with him. … He worked hard in the offseason, body-wise and you can see it. He’s doing an outstanding job.”

Rodriguez has been impressive over his last five starts, lowering his ERA from 4.87 to 4.10 in that span. With the latest win, his record on the season improves to 12-4.

Although efficiency is still an area that needs improvement (he had four walks on Monday night), it's encouraging to see E-Rod making strides for a struggling rotation that needs all the help it can get down the stretch.

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