Yasmani Grandal has played in seven consecutive postseasonsso he’s seen the way trade deadline moves can affect a team beyond on-field contributions.
“It’s always a power boost when you make a move, whether you’re on a winning team or a losing team,” the Chicago White Sox catcher said Saturday. “When you make a move, it shows confidence in the team. He shows confidence in the ability of the players and all they are trying to do is help us get to where we want to be.
“This is a fun time in baseball.”
As the 5 pm deadline on August 2 of this year approaches, the Red Sox find themselves in a battle with the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. The South Siders entered Tuesday’s game in Colorado with a record of .500 and in third place, behind the second-place Guardians by half a game and the division-leading Twins by four. A 2-1 win over the Rockies at Coors Field lifted the Sox to 49-48.
All three teams have decisions to make. One potential area of concentration for the Sox, according to general manager Rick Hahn, is the bullpen.
“I think every team in baseball, whether they participate or not, never feels like they have enough pitching and we’re certainly not immune to that, primarily in the bullpen,” Hahn said Friday. “Obviously (reliever) Aaron Bummer has been out for a while (strained at left back). He is starting to progress and we project that (he) will return at some point, but that is not guaranteed. So he would say the bullpen is probably the most obvious need.”
The left handed Bummer has been on the disabled list from June 9. Recently, the Sox have only had one left-hander in their bullpen, Tanner Banks.
Red Sox relievers entered Tuesday tied for 10th in the American League with a combined 4.05 ERA. But the bullpen’s 2.27 ERA since July 9 is the fourth-lowest in baseball.
As for the starting rotation, Hahn said he “would love for this to be all five from now on,” referring to Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Johnny Cueto and Michael Kopech.
“If there is an opportunity to add something and improve, we will look into it,” Hahn said. “We are not going to say no to anything that can improve us.”
Hahn acknowledged that the offensive and defensive performances at second base and right field “have not been what we expected.”
Said Hahn: “That being said, if you look at what (second baseman) Josh Harrison has done since June 1 (.283 batting average, six doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs in 35 games) and you look at what (second baseman) right fielder) Gavin Sheets has since returning from the minors (.259 batting average, three home runs and 12 RBIs in 25 games since June 23), both could be solutions there. We’ll have to wait and see”.
This postseason includes a third-place wild card in each league, which could add a nod to teams looking for trade partners.
“If we find the right deal for a player that we think is impactful, we’ll want to pull the trigger when it’s available to us and not wait,” Hahn said. “Take that bird in hand against the two in the bush.
“That said, (with) more teams participating, the additional playoff spots, a lot of these decisions could come down to the deadline so teams know exactly where they sit.”
Time will tell how this season’s deadline plays out.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations and we have a lot of different ideas,” Hahn said. “You have a lot of teams right now, so the so-called ‘true vendors’ are a bit limited and what they have may not align exactly with what we need.
“But it’s going to be a fun (week) from the point of view of playing different ideas and hopefully we’ll find a way to make this team better.”