Shane Victorino is headed to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and in exchange, the Red Sox have acquired utilty infielder Josh Rutledge. This is just the first in what may turn out to be a busy few days for General Manager Ben Cherington before the Trade Deadline on the 31st.
Victorino was crucial to the 2013 World Series championship team that brought Boston it’s third title to the city in 10 years. Since 2013, he’s only played in 63 games over the past season and a half, and the move makes sense because of a crowded outfield the Red Sox have.
For now, Right Field will be occupied by Rusney Castillo who was signed for $73 million last season as a Cuban defector. In his stint earlier with the big league club, Castillo underperformed and was sent back down to Pawtucket. Castillo hit .230, but with the team no longer in contention this season, the team is better off letting him figure things out in the big leagues rather than in the minors.
Josh Rutledge is just 26 years old, and despite not playing in the majors at all this season, is a lifetime .259 hitter in three seasons with the Colorado Rockies. In spring training this past spring, he got beat out for a spot on the Angels roster, but it’s important to note that the Angels have a team stacked with great players all around.
It’s unclear as of now whether or not Rutledge will play for Boston or Pawtucket, but things may become clearer after the trade deadline, especially if the Red Sox move either Mike Napoli, or Brock Holt.
Despite his injuries and only playing in 63 games that past 2 years, Shane Victorino will be loved by Red Sox Nation for life for his postseason heroics including his Grand Slam that gave Boston the lead in the 7th inning of Game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. That at-bat sent the Sox to the World Series, and in game 6 of that series against the Cardinals, he hit a 3 run double that solidified the Red Sox win.
Let’s all take a minute to forget about the faltering 2015 Red Sox team and appreciate Pedro Martinez, who will inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend.
Pedro Martinez was entertaining in every possible sense of the word. As goofy and lighthearted as he was during his off days, there was a serious, cutthroat and focused competitor on the mound. Every game he pitched was truly an event. He had electric stuff including 3 deadly pitches that he was known to throw at any count and made some of the best opposing hitters look flat out silly. There is a strong argument that Pedro was the most dominant pitcher in baseball during his time with the Red Sox.
To encapsulate the man that is Pedro Martinez, here is a list of Red Sox moments that were…well, the most Pedro. Let’s turn back the clock as we remember Pedro Martinez and his time in Boston.
17 K’s Vs The Yankees
A masterful one-hit, 17K performance by Pedro despite a 2nd inning home run by none other than current Sox hitting coach Chili Davis. As current Red Sox staff members, I wonder if Chili still gives Pedro grief when he sees him around Fenway for not only keeping him from a no-hitter, but from a shutout.
Tied to The Dugout Post By Nomar & Others
Pedro was known to be a pain in rear on his days off. Nomar and others jokingly got fed up and tied Pedro to a dugout pole with medical tape. The only problem is they missed taping his mouth shut.
Let me preface this piece by stating that this is pretty unlikely, considering all the problems this team carries with it. However, if there were any team in the entire MLB to make this kind of run from where they are right now, it’s the Red Sox.
As crazy as it sounds, the Red Sox are not out of it. Thank lord for the pedestrian AL East, right? If only the Sox could win against the other AL East teams, it would really, REALLY help their chances. However, in order to do this, the Red Sox need to make some changes. Here are the changes could help the Sox climb back into this.
1a) Trade Mike Napoli
He was great in 2013, but he is severely struggling at the plate. It hurts to watch. The strange thing is, although he is batting under the Mendoza line (.200 BA), I am sure teams in the playoff hunt will still find value in him for this year, since he will be a rent-a-player for only half a year. You could get something in return for him.
1b) Split DH Role With Hanley & Ortiz
In terms of the Red Sox, trading a flailing Napoli frees up some options for you. You can take the train-wreck that is Hanley Ramirez out of left field for some games and DH him while playing Ortiz at 1st Base, or move Panda to 1B and Hanley to 3B, though that would a hard transition in the mid-season. I think I’m in the majority here when I say, try to DH Hanley as much as possible. Ortiz can play a surprisingly decent first base, but I don’t think he nor the Red Sox want him out there all the time. It sucks Hanley gives a crap effort in left field, but it seems like you won’t get through to him. This is the situation you’re in, and this could be a solution, especially given Hanley’s impressive numbers at DH.
2a) Put Porcello on the DL
Porcello is the pitching counterpart of Napoli’s hitting and Hanley’s fielding. They are all part of the problem. It’s a shame that Porcello has hit this funk. We all know he’s better than this. There’s discussion that they may skip a few of his starts, but it might make sense to put him on the DL. He can have through All-Star break off, and then he work out his stuff with a few starts in the minor leagues, similar to Joe Kelly.
A lineup change the includes Dustin Pedroia leading-off seems to be best for the Sox.
A quarter of the way through season, and the 2015 Red Sox haven’t looked great, though they have strung together some quality series of late. They certainly have to work through some things. Miraculously, they are still in the playoff hunt in the early-going.
They say you’ll have a good sense of where you are as a team by Memorial Day weekend. Here’s what we have learned about this team so far:
1) The Offensive Approach is too One-Dimensional
Through the first quarter of the season the Sox ranked at the bottom tier of the league in many statistical categories as a team, including batting average, runs and stolen bases. What they don’t lack is home runs, which is one of their issues at its core: they can rely on the long ball too much. This team needs to consider a different approach to manufacture runs. You won’t always get inside fastballs to turn on and belt. You’ll need to learn to hit outside curveballs and change-ups. The reason the 2013 Red Sox were dangerous was because as a team, they were dynamic. They hit to all fields, stole bases, did a lot of hit-and-runs, had timely hits and made opposing pitchers throw a lot of pitchers. They need to get back to that style of play. That’s when they’re at their best, and it’s good to see glimpses of that style of play as of late.
2) Don’t Count On The Starting Pitching To Hold Up
Even if John Farrell referred to his staff as five “aces” in spring training, it was obvious the pitching was more like a staff of #3 starters that were expected to hold give the offense a chance to keep the team in games. Really, they have all been pitching like a number 3 pitcher at best. The quality of pitching is erratic, and they may not be able to give the team a fighting chance as much as we’d prefer to see. Sure, I believe in the rotation to string together some quality starts, but from what have seen so far, you don’t know what kind of outing you’ll get from these guys. The unpredictability makes it incredibly difficult to depend on this rotation to consistently provide solid starts every night. It doesn’t seem that they are capable of it.