It has been one of baseball’s little mysteries how the Boston Red Sox, whose starting pitching has been miserable all season, have been able to keep their noses in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot.
But there they remain, despite a 4.71 starter’s earned-run average – which ranks them 26 out of the 30 major-league teams – entering play on Tuesday just one game out of the race for the second wild-card berth in the American League.
With the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31 fast approaching, it was only natural that Boston would be lumped in with almost every trade rumour involving a starting pitcher, including Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs.
Several teams are said to be very interested in acquiring the services of the 35-year-old right-hander, who not only leads the majors with a sparkling 1.86 ERA but has a scoreless inning streak of 33 going on right now.
Dempster’s next scheduled start is Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, at least one report out of Boston on Tuesday suggested that the Red Sox are now adopting a “wait and see” approach to the trade market for starting pitching, at least for the time being.
This has as much to do with recent good outings by Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook as it does with the realization that the pursuit of Dempster represents a chancy proposition.
Dempster is injury prone and his lifetime won-loss record remains under .500 despite his solid efforts this season.
And Dempster represents a true rental as he will be eligible for free agency at the season’s end.
Still, Dempster has drawn interest from as many as 10 teams, with the L.A. Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers felt to be the most serious players. The New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians are also said to be interested.
Over at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox are maintaining an “equal or greater” interest in Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, who is also stirring up plenty of trade rumours.
Rosenthal has also reported that the Blue Jays have an interest in Justin Upton, the struggling outfielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks who is one year removed from an MVP-calibre season.
Now that slugger Jose Bautista has been sidelined with left wrist inflammation it will be interesting to see what avenues Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous will pursue if he believes the Blue Jays can still contend in the AL East.
For those teams looking to add a bat to their lineup, not to mention increase their payroll by a hefty margin, the Los Angeles Angels might have a player for you.
Former Blue Jay Vernon Wells is slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment in a few days according to the Los Angeles Times, making him a step closer to rejoining the big-league club.
Trouble is, with outfielders Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo doing such an admirable job during Wells’s absence recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb, there doesn’t appear to be any room at the inn.
A trade would seem like the best solution.
But it is surprising how little interest there is out there for a 33-year-old former all-star who is making $21-million this year and has two more years and $42-million left on his contract who was hitting .244 with six home runs when he was injured.
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