Red Sox

MLB rumors: Red Sox among teams to talk to Giants about Will Smith

MLB rumors: Red Sox among teams to talk to Giants about Will Smith

The Boston Red Sox would be wise to make a move to upgrade their bullpen before the July 31 MLB trade deadline. The problem for the defending World Series champions is they aren't the only team with that need.

San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith is among the best trade targets for contending teams to pursue as the deadline approaches. The 30-year-old left-hander has 24 saves, a 2.55 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings for the Giants this year. He also was named to the National League team at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Smith's contract expires after this season, so he would most likely be a rental for any team acquiring him.

The Red Sox have had conversations with the Giants regarding Smith, per The Athletic's Jim Bowden, but so have many other teams.

The Giants are probably the most intriguing team right now because how they play over the next nine days is expected to help determine whether they decide to sell on Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson. Smith has been one of the most in-demand relievers so far this summer, as the Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Astros and Twins have all had conversations with the Giants about him. Several of those teams have realized that Watson makes for a strong fallback position for contenders who will need that sixth-to-eighth-inning lefty for October.

The roadblock for the Red Sox, and any other team interested in trading for a Giants pitcher, is that San Francisco might not become a seller at the trade deadline. The Giants are 9-1 in their last 10 games and sit just two games behind the second wild-card playoff spot in the National League entering Tuesday. Trading these pitchers would be a hard sell to the fanbase unless the team goes into a huge slump over the next week.

The Red Sox already have made one trade, acquiring veteran starter Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month. Making a bigger deal for a bullpen upgrade likely won't be easy for the Sox. Boston's farm system lacks elite talent and depth, and outside of the top prospects (and that list is small), there aren't many names for sellers to get excited about.

The Red Sox should at least try to make some sort of bullpen deal. They sit just two games behind a wild-card spot in the American League entering Tuesday, and they have invested way too much money into their roster to become sellers or stand pat at the trade deadline.

Click here for the top rental targets the Red Sox could pursue>>>

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An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

An Opening Day start for Red Sox' Chris Sale: 'I think I'm going to be ready'

Already coming off a season cut short by an elbow injury that shut him down last August, Chris Sale's spring training got off to a slow start as he recovered from a bout with pneumonia just as pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers. 

He says he's progressing after the illness led to him dropping a few pounds from his already thin frame (6-foot-6, 180). He'll throw a side session Sunday and told reporters on Saturday that he thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day March 26.

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"I think I’m going to be ready for [the opener]. But like I said, those aren’t my calls to make. I go out there, do my job, tell them how I feel on a daily basis," Sale said. "Obviously as the workload picks up, we have to see how things work out. I’ve just got to be open and honest with them and then we map out a plan and see how it works out."

In a Friday interview on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show, Sale said having his season end early last summer and going through a rehab process to avoid Tommy John surgery has him raring to go into 2020 despite questions about his stamina.

"I feel like I'm better now than I was then because of going through that [injury and rehab]."

Sale hasn't reached 200 innings pitched since 2017. He went 6-11 in 25 starts (147.1 IP) in what he called "a nightmare season" in 2019 after his and all the starters' workloads were limited in spring training and he struggled with his velocity at times before the injury was diagnosed.

"I feel really good," he told WEEI. "I can sit here and tell you what I want to do, what I think I'm going to do, but I've just got to go do it. I live here in town and put in a lot of work. I was here four to five times a week. It's exciting. For me, this really started last September October when that rehab process began.

"I gotta get back to the basics. Not really worry about fading, the injuries. This is sports. Injuries can happen overnight...I'm not worried about what my track record is or what people are thinking of me."

Jerry Narron hired as Red Sox bench coach

Jerry Narron hired as Red Sox bench coach

Ron Roenicke officially has his bench coach for 2020.

The Boston Red Sox manager announced after Saturday's spring training win over the Tampa Bay Rays that Jerry Narron will take over the role.

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If Narron's name sounds familiar, that's likely because he served as Red Sox bench coach during the 2003 season when Grady Little was manager.

The 64-year-old went on to assume the same role with the Cincinnati Reds in 2004–05, then served as the Reds' interim manager from June 2005 to July 2007.

Since then, Narron has had multiple jobs including stints as bench coach of the Milwaukee Brewers (2011-15) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2017-19). He was Roenicke's bench coach in Milwaukee.

Boston's bench coach position opened up once Roenicke was promoted to interim manager earlier this month. Roenicke replaced Alex Cora, who parted ways with the Red Sox after his name was mentioned in MLB's report on the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation.