As quickly as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and FOX Sports' MLB telecasts heated up the Manny Machado-to-the Red Sox rumors last week, his latest reporting does a lot to dispel them.
In a notes column published Monday (subscription required), Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox have contacted the Orioles about the would-be-free-agent infielder, who is thought to be the prize of the July 31 trade deadline, but Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski thinks the teams "likely do not match up on a trade at this time," according to a source.
In other words, the Red Sox really don't have the top minor league prospects the O's would be looking for in a Machado deal. The Sox farm system is ranked 24th in MLB by Baseball America and top hitter Michael Chavis was just suspended for 80-games for PED usage and top pitcher Jay Groome just had Tommy John surgery.
As for including 21-year-old Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers in a Machado deal, as NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich wrote last week, "sources with knowledge of the Red Sox thinking were dismissive of the idea the Sox would move Devers."
Chris Sale turned 31 on Monday. He also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow on that same day. The procedure will sideline him for at least the rest of the 2020 season and beyond.
But when exactly can we expect Sale back? Boston Red Sox chief of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom, wouldn't confirm to an exact date, but he did provide some insight into how long Sale might be sidelined.
"We don't know exactly," Bloom said, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. "Typically you see around that 14-15 month range."
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Okay, so maybe that's not the most specific answer, but it at least gives us a ballpark idea of when Sale could return.
A 14-15 month recovery period would have Sale return sometime between early June and early July in 2021, if his recovery goes well. Of course, there are so many variables to take into account about how Sale may be progressing but also about how the Sox may be faring. If they aren't doing well, the team could take an extremely cautious approach with Sale in hopes of having him fully healthy for the 2022 season.
But Bloom's estimate at least gives Sox fans an initial target for Sale's potential return. The target date will certainly be fluid especially considering that some pitchers take 18 months to return from the surgery.
But no matter what, Sale won't be suiting up for the Red Sox until mid-2021 at the earliest. And that's bad news for the squad considering their lack of starting pitching depth.
Chris Sale's long road to recovery from a pesky elbow injury began on Monday.
The Boston Red Sox officially announced that Sale underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday to reconstruct the UCL in his throwing arm. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery.
The Red Sox and Sale decided that he would need to have the surgery about a week and a half ago. The coronavirus crisis made it a bit uncertain as to when Sale would be able to have the procedure done, but now, it is in the books.
Sale won't pitch at all in 2020 and it's likely that he will miss time in 2021 as well. In fact, he could miss that whole season given that a typical recovery from Tommy John surgery takes about 18 months.
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Either way, the Red Sox will be without Sale long-term and as a result, their starting rotation looks very thin. Eduardo Rodgriguez will slot in as the team's ace while Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez are the Nos. 2 and 3 starters respectively.
The other two rotation spots are up for grabs but before the league was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was assumed that Ryan Weber had the inside track for the fourth starter position. The fifth starter role was much less settled and the team may have used an opener strategy given their lack of starting pitching depth.
Without Sale, the Red Sox will likely have to rely a lot on their offense to carry them to victory moving forward. But we won't get a chance to see how they look until the MLB returns. And at this point in time, it's unclear when that may be.