Following an abismal three-game series against an essential minor league baseball team in Baltimore, the Red Sox are now 11 games behind the American League East-leading New York Yankees and three games out of one of the two Wild Card spots. With that being said, the trade deadline is approaching rapidly so it’s time for the ballclub to decide whether or not they’re going to be buyers or sellers.
It’s clear why they would be taking a look at closers of this caliber–or closers at all for that matter–as the team sits tied for the most blown saves in the MLB with 18. Sit there and imagine what this season might look like if they’d had this problem somewhat solved early on. This division race would have a totally different look to it. This Yankees series coming up this weekend at Fenway Park would have a completely different feel as a summer divisional race down to the wire would be in the cards. But instead, we’re talking about the defending World Champions battling it out for one of the two Wild Card spots.
Regardless, the Red Sox have interest in two of the league’s current best.
The 28-year-old closer in Toronto, Giles, is having one of the best seasons of his career. The former World Series champion is throwing for a 1.64 ERA in 33 IP and 33 appearances with a 1.06 WHIP and has 14 saves on the season. He’s had his share of ups and downs though throughout his career.
Following Houston’s 2017 championship run, Giles looked like a different pitcher out of the bullpen building a collective 4.65 ERA between his time with the ‘Stros and Toronto in 2018. There’s also the infamous time where he threw a right hook to his own face following a home run he allowed to Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez.
And then there’s the current San Diego closer, Kirby Yates.
Yates is also on pace to have the best season of his career at age 32.
The right-handed closer–who was drafted by Boston in 2005–has been nothing short of spectacular in 2019. So far going 43 IP in 41 appearances, he’s allowed only 5 ER giving himself a current ERA of 1.05 accompanied by a WHIP of 0.81.
The contracts are also something that makes both of these guys attractive on the trade market. Both on struggling teams, their deals each run into their third year of arbitration eligibility ahead of the 2020 season. To start the year, Giles’ deal was just over $6 million and Yates’ just $3 million. Both of these numbers at this point would obviously be prorated.
If there is real interest from Boston, the question becomes; do they have legitimate trade capital to beat out other organizations who also could be potentially targeting the same relievers?
The Red Sox technically have a closer in starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi who returned this past Saturday after going down with a “loose body” in his elbow back in April. They’ve also already gone out and acquired a fifth starting arm in Andrew Cashner from the Orioles who’s had a less than stellar start for the club. But don’t be shocked if a move is made and eventually, Eovaldi is slid back to his spot in the rotation.
After an offseason where the team consistently tried to convince fans that they had the closer position all-set following the departure of all-star and future hall of famer Craig Kimbrel, it appears as though their plans there failed miserably. Come the July 31st trade deadline–which remember, is now the only deadline–the Red Sox could have a new closer to round out their bullpen which has been, well, brutal.