The Boston Red Sox recently traded for starter Andrew Cashner from fellow American League East opponent the Baltimore Orioles. In response, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said they may “stand pat”, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
“We might (stand pat),” Dombrowski said. “I think it’s one of those where we’ll analyze and see what takes place. I know a couple of our (relievers) worked a lot before the break. We weren’t getting a lot of innings from our starters. We think the rest, perhaps, will help some of them. When you look out there, there’s a good core of guys we like.”
The Red Sox have had a host of issues stemming from their pitching staff, which they supposedly addressed with the addition of Cashner. Yes, they added depth to their rotation that sorely needed a real fifth starter, however, they still have three other of their starters struggling to succeed.
We are currently 93 games into the season and between Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez the Red Sox have gotten a 4.65 ERA through 321 innings. Those three have also combined to give up 48 home runs through 56 starts. They just need to figure it out and start getting outs.
The Red Sox lead the majors in pitches per plate appearance with 4.06. The staff needs to start pitching to more contact to get faster outs, so they do not have to burn as many relievers. They have the worst save percentage in baseball, converting just 50 percent of opportunities. That all being said, they cannot really move on from any of those players without causing major shake-ups, unless they were to move Rick Porcello who is in the final year of his deal.
The best way to combat a meh pitching staff with limited options to improve it, is to improve the offense and hope the staff fixes themselves.
Even with one of the best offenses in baseball, they cannot hope to survive deep into the season with the bench they have available to them. Their only forth outfielder also plays every day as a DH, in J.D. Martinez. Utility man Brock Holt can play the outfield a bit, but he is not nearly as offensively productive at the plate when out of the infield.
For example, Sunday night when the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers faced off in a 5-hour marathon that resulted in a 7-4 Dodgers win after 12 innings. The Red Sox bullpen held on for six innings after starter starter David Price gave up four runs through 5. The Sox had chance after chance in the late innings, and they could not cash in.
Manager Alex Cora burned through every available reliever except Marcus Walden. They were forced to throw out Hector Velasquez for the third day in a row, who gave up a crushing three runs in the top of the 12th. This was even a situation where the bullpen did their job for six strong innings, a team can only hold an organization like the Dodgers at bay for so long.
The Red Sox need to add a bench piece, preferably an outfielder, that will be able to both give the starters an off-day without taking Martinez out of the DH spot and can drive in runners in scoring position. The Red Sox lead MLB in leaving runners in scoring position, averaging over 3.7 per game.
Who could that be, though?
Garrett Cooper, of the Miami Marlins.
In 46 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season, Cooper has hit .421 with four home runs and 27 RBI. Overall he is hitting .310/.380/.503 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 54 games. The 28-year old has just eclipsed his first year of service time, so he is making the major league minimum.
He has split time between right field and first base this season for Miami, and has committed just one error all season. He also spent four games last year in left field for Miami, so a move there would not be foreign to Cooper.
Cooper does hit a fair amount of ground balls, accounting for 56 percent of his contact, but when he hits a fly ball it brings results. He has a .522 average with a 2.370 OPS on fly balls this season.
That kind of production plays anywhere.
It may be difficult to pry him away from Miami at this point, but they have shown no mercy when it comes to trading away people who produce for them. If Dombrowski can re-unite Eduardo Nunez with Derek Jeter in the deal, sending him to Miami with whatever it takes, that is even more of a win-win.
Nunez was recently designated for assignment by the Red Sox, and can be released or traded depending if they find a trade partner for him.
Yes this is purely a suggestion, but Cooper could really help this team win the games they need going down the stretch. Dealin’ Davey should not stand pat, go out and get a bat.