By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Kelvin Herrera was perhaps the best available reliever on the free-agent market, a dominating right-hander who can both left-handers and right-handers, who can set up and close. He was perfect for the 2018 Boston Red Sox. And they never had a chance.
Get used to this, Red Sox followers.
This trading deadline, Dave Dombrowski will have his hands full.
In case you missed it, Herrera was dealt from the Kansas City to the Washington Nationals on Monday night, toppling the first domino in what is sure to be an active major league trading deadline. The Nationals surrendered a trio of prospects, including 23-year-old third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, a player for whom the Red Sox had no real comparable.
Michael Chavis? Well, maybe – at least if he hadn’t been dealt an 80-game suspension after being popped for PED use.
Here’s the point: the Red Sox don’t have many (any?) prospects to deal this trade season and everyone knows it. Meanwhile, the list of contenders is relatively short, at least in the American League. Teams like New York and Houston have more prospects to deal than the Red Sox do – and more payroll flexibility – which means Dombrowski may have to do his best work as a Red Sox executive if he’s going to keep pace with the AL heavyweights.
Entering Monday night, the Yankees (.676), Red Sox (.671) and Astros (.658) were separated by .018 in terms of winning percentage and just three games in the loss column. They ranked a respective, third, second and first in the AL in runs scored and third, second in first in team ERA. As such, there is a chance the AL power structure will be determined in the coming hours, days and weeks, leading up to the July 31 deadline that may be each club’s best chance to address weaknesses.
Of course, the Astros could have used Herrera, too. Maybe it’s a victory for the Red Sox that he ended up in Washington. But something suggests that both Houston and New York have big moves in them in the coming weeks, which puts Dombrowski in a tight spot given his limited resources.
The good news for Dombrowski? At the moment, it feels like a buyer’s market given the relatively small number of AL teams in contention. Given that reality, the Red Sox might be able to get a half-decent player late in the trade period because all the top-shelf talent will be gone and sellers will have nowhere else to turn.
Until then, the Red Sox will likely just have to wait.
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