Inbox: Are the Red Sox targeting relief help?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from fans

July 29th, 2019

Most likely move the Red Sox make?
-- @jamessheehan199

It’s got to be a reliever. Right now, they have and as lockdown relievers, and working to become one. The best teams have four to five strong options for a manager in the late innings. I believe president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will find a bullpen arm between now and Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, and reporter Mark Feinsand reported Monday morning, citing a source, that the Red Sox are likely to add bullpen help.

Here’s an out-of-the-box question: Would the Red Sox consider packaging with Bobby Dalbec and another prospect for and ?
-- @AnthonyCarlil12

The general idea of trading for Diaz is a sound one. The Mets closer makes a lot of sense. Diaz is earning $607,425 this season, so the Red Sox would need to just pay the prorated portion of that. And he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so the club could keep him. Though you never know what the Mets are thinking, I don’t see any reason they’d want to take on Porcello’s salary, especially because he is a free agent at the end of the year. I think a solid prospect like Dalbec is too high a price considering that Diaz is having a shaky season in New York. And after getting , I don’t think Boston is trying to get Wheeler.

If the Red Sox trade for Diaz, would Eovaldi go back to the rotation? Or would he stay in the bullpen to help deepen it?
-- @GaryStud94

Great question. And this applies to any quality reliever the Red Sox might get. Eovaldi didn’t look particularly comfortable in two out of his first three stints out of the bullpen. His stuff is fine, but it’s a whole different ballgame in the bullpen in terms of both routine and the execution of pitches. I think, at the very least, they will keep their options open on Eovaldi if Dombrowski can upgrade the bullpen.

Would the Sox be willing to give up Dalbec or Triston Casas for Diaz?
-- @BostonNationYT

The only Mets pitcher the Red Sox would give up Dalbec or Casas for, in my opinion, is Noah Syndergaard. Do I think they will get Syndergaard? No. But I don’t think they will give up a premium hitting prospect for a reliever who has an ERA of 4.95.

How good is Dalbec?
-- @MarkMicalizzi

Dalbec has very real power, with 20 homers in 343 at-bats this season at Double-A Portland. He also has a tremendous eye. But Dalbec also strikes out a lot -- 106 times as of Monday morning. They really like his defense. There is a lot to like about Dalbec. I don’t think he will get traded, unless it is for premium talent.

Nine games behind the Yankees: Are the Red Sox sellers?
-- @cahurtubise

After they lost two out of three to the Orioles, the Red Sox were an Oakland victory against Minnesota away from falling four games back for the second American League Wild Card spot. Fortunately for Boston, Minnesota came back and won that day. Still, at that point, it was fair to wonder if the Red Sox would be sellers. But I’m not seeing it now. They start the week just a game out for the second Wild Card. And they played inspired baseball against the Yankees this weekend, taking it to them for three straight before losing the finale on Sunday. Look for Boston to try to bolster a team that still has visions of becoming MLB’s first repeat champions since 2000.

Sam Travis on the trading block? With Sunday’s Marcus Stroman trade to the Mets, will there be a lot of trades that don’t make sense?
-- @SeanBR29

Travis is serving a purpose right now as a right-handed bat off the bench. The case could be made that the Red Sox would be better off at this point with a right-handed hitter with a little speed who can play the outfield. If they get someone like that, they could move Travis, but there’s no real compelling reason to, since he still has Minor League options. The only way Travis gets moved is as an added chip in a deal. As for your second question, I can’t speak for the Mets, but trades that makes sense usually seem to be the way to go!

How do the Red Sox get out of their luxury tax hole while trying to compete, add the needed pieces and give out new contracts? Is it even possible without tearing it up?
-- @smurfman

Don’t look for them to tear it up. There’s too much young talent on this team. Porcello’s $21 million salary comes off the books after the season. J.D. Martinez has an opt-out clause, and if he does leave, that’s $23.75 million. It is a balancing act for sure, but the Red Sox have a lot of resources -- and talented players under the team’s control for a while -- to continue competing for a while.

Any chance gets sent to the bullpen for a couple of weeks to get his issues figured out? They’ve tried everything else.
-- @bostonsocks

Not in the cards. Sale has had too many starts this season when he’s been utterly dominant to consider something drastic like moving him to the bullpen. I agree that his inconsistency this season has been perplexing. But it still feels like they aren’t that far from figuring it out.