Red Sox

MLB trade deadline 2019: Red Sox make no moves despite rumors of bullpen help

MLB trade deadline 2019: Red Sox make no moves despite rumors of bullpen help

The Boston Red Sox were rumored to be interested in acquring several different relief pitchers over the last few weeks, but the defending World Series champs ultimately made no impactful deals ahead of Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET MLB trade deadline.

"I'm not disappointed," Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters before Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. "This is a team, a group that we trust. I've been saying all along that the group has to get better. Yesterday, we had a chance to win the game; we didn't come through. Today is a new day. We have chance to win the series. We gotta stay with that frame of mind; just win series, keep moving on, get better. We got guys in that clubhouse and they're capable of doing it. We're going to trust the group and move forward."

The Red Sox made one trade this month when they added veteran starting pitcher Andrew Cashner to their rotation in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Cashner has, at least so far, failed to add quality depth to what's been a disappointing group of starters in Boston. He has given up nine earned runs and 24 hits over 17 2/3 innings.

One of Boston's biggest weaknesses is the bullpen, and the front office's inability to upgrade it could prove to be a devastating blow over the next few months. The Red Sox bullpen ranks second in the AL with 19 blown saves, it has the league's worst save percentage at 52.5, and it ranks 10th of 15 AL teams with a 4.53 ERA. The Sox don't have a reliable closer and instead have used multiple players in that role. The team's saves leader, Ryan Brasier, currently is pitching in Triple-A Pawtucket after being optioned earlier this month.

The Red Sox are nine games behind the rival New York Yankees for first place in the American League East. They also are two games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot in the AL. Adding another starter and/or a bullpen arm (or two) would have really strengthened Boston's roster and improved its chances of reaching the postseason. The Sox have just a 51.9 percent chance to make the playoffs as of Wednesday, per FanGraphs. 

"As a group, everybody knows that this is a talented team. And we know the situation we're in," said Cora. "We're third in the division, we're in the hunt in the wild card. In the end, it really doesn't matter. We got to play better. We got the best offensive team in the big leagues, we got guys in the rotation that have done it before. They have to step up and we trust them. We have guys in the bullpen that have to do better. That's the bottom line."

The Red Sox now must rely on a flawed roster to claim one of the wild card berths and earn an opportunity to defend their World Series title. There's little room for error over the next two months, and the pitching needs to show great improvement for the Red Sox to return to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

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Joe Kelly admits Mookie Betts' speech to Dodgers was 'cringey' at times

Joe Kelly admits Mookie Betts' speech to Dodgers was 'cringey' at times

You've probably heard about Mookie Betts' speech by now.

Shortly after the Boston Red Sox traded Betts to Los Angeles, the publicly soft-spoken outfielder stood up in the Dodgers' clubhouse and "essentially call(ed) everyone out," according to third baseman Justin Turner.

By all accounts, the content of Betts' speech was well-received. But Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly -- who was teammates with Betts in Boston before joining L.A. in 2019 -- offered some interesting insight on his delivery.

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"Me and DP (David Price) were looking at each other like -- it was good," Kelly told WEEI's Rob Bradford on "The Bradfo Show" podcast. "It was meant to go the right way, honestly. He's not very -- I don't know how to put it. He speaks well, but then when he has to plan something and speak in front of people he wasn’t too comfortable with, I think he was getting ahead of himself.

"The meaning behind what he was saying was very I think spot on, but I think the way he was saying it was kind of tough."

Betts never was a vocal leader in Boston -- he didn't need to be with David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia in the clubhouse -- and Kelly suggested that showed in the 27-year-old's speech, which perhaps was a little blunt for some.

"It was very well accepted. If he would have said it a little bit nicer or articulated it a little bit better, it would have come off stronger," Kelly said.

"It was kind of, once in a while, cringey. But then we all knew that his meaning behind it was accurate."

Cringey in what way, you ask?

"Some people need to have their hand held the whole time and some people need the, 'eff you;' some people need the, 'You are so good, just believe in yourself' kind of statement," Kelly explained. "And Mookie went the direct path, the direct route in front of 40 people."

Kelly reiterated that Betts got his point across loud and clear: That the Dodgers are the most talented team in baseball and shouldn't squander that talent.

The former American League MVP still is finding his footing as a leader, though, and according to Kelly, that manifested itself on one of his first days as a Dodger.

Report: MLB doesn't want notes from Red Sox investigation used in court

Report: MLB doesn't want notes from Red Sox investigation used in court

As we await Major League Baseball's report on the Red Sox alleged sign-stealing from their 2018 championship season, MLB revealed in court documents that it does not want the notes from its interviews with Red Sox and Houston Astros personnel used in a current trial involving those allegations.

MLB investigator Bryan Seeley argued in a court filing this week that future investigations could be jeopardized if the league reveals details of those interviews, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports. MLB is being sued by daily fantasy game contestants who argue that the Red Sox' and Astros' schemes corrupted the games.

A decision on the case is expected by April 15. MLB has already disciplined the Astros and it led to the firing of their manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora for what ownership said was his role in the Astros transgressions.  

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gave Astros players who cooperated with MLB investigators immunity from his discipline. It's uncertain if the same holds true for Red Sox players. Manfred said last week a report on the Red Sox allegations - delayed by the coronavirus outbreak - would be released before the now-delayed baseball season begins.