3 trades the Red Sox didn't make that killed the season

Alex Campbell
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

For the Red Sox, the season is effectively over. Sure, they could make up the now 5 game deficit that's only risen in the wild card race over the remaining 50+ games and get into the playoffs.  But nothing we have seen since the trade deadline makes that a pluasible outcome.  Chief Baseball officer, Chaim Bloom is under the gun from the fanbase who expect so much more from this team. 

As he talked with the media after the trade deadline, Bloom discussed the Red Sox being underdogs as reason for the quiet deadline in Beantown where they added a pair of fringe relievers in Llovera and Robertson along with infielder Luis Urias.  But if this roster is an underdog, many believe that Bloom himself is the one to blame.   It's abit bizarro world like an SNL or YouTube skit where a precious painting is destroyed at a museaum and then when security comes the guy who destroyed it is all, "hey Who did this?!"

Oh, but according to Bloom there's also a silver lining here and a new phrase has been coined by the Red Sox front office as a means to soothe a disgruntled clubhouse, "Mini-trade deadline'.  This phrase centers around the return of 4 key players; Chris Sale, Trevor Story, Garrett Whitlock, and Tanner Houck.  But, there's not a Sox fan out there that believes he can stay healthy from his return this Friday against the Detroit Tigers to the end of the season.  And as the other 3 return to the lineup it will almost assuredly play out as a case of too little too late. 

All of these woes could have been remedied at the trade deadline, though.  Yet, Bloom did absolutlely nothing of any real substance to improve this roster, even with star outfielder and leader of the team, Rafeal Devers, publicly and privately pleading for help.  Hindsight might well be 20/20 but here are the three mistakes at the deadline that killed the 2023 Red Sox.


3. Failing to trade Alex Verdugo before the bell rang.

It's crystal clear now that the relationship between Verdugo and manager Alex Cora (and probably the Red Sox front office) might be beyond repair

The outfielder was arguably the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade to the Dodgers - which is another Chaim Bloom failure in it's own right - had been in the mids of a breakout season early in 2023, but then leveled off as August drew near.  Now he's being benched for odd reasons that appear to be hustle or character related and he's only under team control through the end of the season. 

The Sox have a wealth of outfielder depth thanks to the immediate impact of Masataka Yoshida and Jarren Duran, signings Bloom deserves credit for. So it wasn't surprising to see Verdugo floated as a potential trade candidate.  And with several contenders looking specifically for left-handed outfielders and bats, it would have been easy to get good value in return for Verdugo.

Instead Bloom and the Red Sox front office sat on their outfield depth and did nothing to help improve the rest of the roster.  Even if they think Verdugo is a key piece moving forward and intend to extend his contract this offseason, then why not deal Adam Duvall?  He would have netted a lesser return than Verdugo, but he still would have garnerd plenty of interest. 

Boston now slides into irrelevancy with a trove of good outfielders, too many to take the field at the same time on the same day while other parts of the roster are exceptionally weak.  That includes a player who A. has value on the market and B. wants out.  To not capitalize on the Verdugo situation is malpractice. 


2. The failure to land any impact bullpen arms.

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The numbers will tell you that the Red sox have been solid with their bullpen since Alex Cora made the decision to move guys like Nick Pivetta out of the rotation and into the pen. The eye test, however, tells a different story. Yes, there have been quite a few good performances especially by Pivetta but there have also been plenty of real disasters on the mound out of the pen this season.

It's not entirely the bullpen's fault though.  One of the big things that has hampered the Red Sox this season has been the lack of starting pitching depth.  With Sale, Whitlock, and Houck out of the picture, they have only three starting pithchers.  Meaning that they have been forced to run a bullpen game twice per five-game rotation over the last 3 weeks. 

To no ones surprise, that bullpen game has worked out horribly.  We just saw it most recently in the crucial sereies against the Blue Jays this past weekend as they were shelled on Saturday and Sunday in said bullpen games, losing both by wide margins and getting swept by the Jays in the series.

Admittedly, the number of bullpen arms availabe at the trade deadline didn't yield Bloom and the Red Sox an abudnace of options.  At the same time, though, the bullpen need has quite literally never been more pressing than it is now and Boston didn't get involved even when and where they could have. 

Bloom and the front office had to be watching the market, so you have to wonder how they thought that guys like Alex Lange, David Roberston, Scott Barlow, Brooks Raley and a plethora of others couldn't help Boston right now.  It seems that any of those arms, and espeically more than one of them, would have been a significant aid to their post season push. 


1.  How on God's green earth did Chaim Bloom not get the Red Sox a starting pitcher?

Photo by Paul Sancya/AP

Immediately after the trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Red Sox were one of the teams in on Justin Verlander.  Obviously, the Mets ended up trading him to Houston, but it's at least good to know that Bloom was interested in that big swing.  On the other hand though, it also seems like Verlander was all but forcing his way back to the Astros with his no-trade clause.

And that's the crux of the issue, Bloom clearly identified that they need help with their starting pitching.  Yes, part of that is due to injuries, but part of it is just a lack of depth after whiffing on guys like Corey Kluber in free agency and needing to address that.  

This team has a top 5 farm system in MLB that is loaded wtih talent and they could have easily swung a trade for someone like Michael Lorenzen or Lucas Giolito but they did absolutely nothing to help the rotation instead.  

As the old saying goes, doing nothing is never truly doing nothing.  By doing nothing to address the starting pitching issue, this team is now simply waiting and hoping for the return of injured players to save a season that might already be lost anyway.  For a front office, especially with this farm system at it's disposal, to not recognize that and realize that they could've fixed the issue at the trade deadline is maddening and for many Red Sox fans, unforgiveable.