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Red Sox Trade Rumors : In Need Of A Starter, Answer’s Still Within



Red Sox Talk : Boston In Need Of A Starter With E-Rod Down, Answer’s Still Within, Plenty Of Options Still In Pawtucket

The Boston Red Sox rotation received a body blow on Sunday when it was announced that Eduardo Rodriguez would once again be on the DL.

This time for several weeks with no clear timetable for return other than a walking boot for two weeks and than a revaluation.

As it currently sits Boston has Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Brian Johnson in their rotation at the moment.

Steven Wright is on the DL, Drew Pomeranz hasn’t got his feet underneath himself during his rehab starts, Jalen Beeks has gotten hit hard in the Majors thus far and is seen as a reliever. So what can Boston do? Do they have to scramble for a trade deadline starter?

The answer in my mind is no, unless the organization is trading away from organizational depth, there is no reason to trade away what little prospects the system has left for another starter.

On the Major League roster sits Hector Velazquez, if Pomeranz isn’t ready after the All-Star break it should be Velazquez who slots in. Not ideal having Johnson and Velazquez in the rotation, but waiting on Pomeranz is well worth it. While the lefty hasn’t had a ton of success in 2018, he does have a track record of being a rather good starter.

Pomeranz after a start in Pawtucket on Friday night admitted that he rushed back after starting the season injured, that is one of the reasons for the lack of success. Right now for the 29-year-old it is all about syncing up and being more consistent with his delivery. There is no reason for him not to be back after one more rehab start with strides taken in each one thus far.

As for other options, Chandler Shepherd in Pawtucket has a 3.76 ERA in 2018 and a 3.18 in his last 10 starts with this being his first season as a starter after being a reliever for his first 3 pro seasons with Boston. Shepherd has impressed with the PawSox and is on the 40-man roster.

Another PawSox option is Justin Haley (3.20 ERA on the season, 2.68 in his last 10 starts), William Cuevas (3.38 ERA, 3.21 in his last 10), and of course, Beeks. Beeks hasn’t had nearly enough time in Boston to determine what he is. But the issue with each and every one of these options, the team views them more of bullpen help like BJ and Velazquez than starters long-term.

Bringing in a pitcher off of the street at this point isn’t realistic.

So the question is, will Dave Dombrowski be content with the options they have within the system which haven’t faired to well in spot starts, or will he go and acquire a trade deadline starter?

Holding it out means they are betting on Pomeranz coming back strong, and either Wright or E-Rod returning sooner rather than later. For me, that is good enough and spot starting is the way to go going forward.

But there is something about Dombrowksi that screams that he just can’t help himself when it comes to pulling the trigger on an easy deal. Easy to overpay, easy to see the value in getting a top pitcher like Sale. What will be interesting to see if Dombrowski can pull off a value deal like he did last year in acquiring Eduardo Nunez, a move that was rather Theoesque.


What would you like to see the Boston Red Sox do with their starting rotation after the MLB All-Star break?

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

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Red Sox Prospect Chandler Shepherd Has Made A Nice Transition Into A Starting Pitcher



Red Sox

Red Sox Prospect Chandler Shepherd Has Made A Nice Transition Into A Starting Pitcher This Season

Red Sox prospect Chandler Shepherd has spent the first four seasons of his professional career as a reliever. Coming into the 2018 season, the Red Sox decided to move him into the starting rotation and use him as a starting pitcher. This wasn’t something new to Shepherd as he did start in 2017 while he was playing winter ball in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Shepherd struggled to begin the 2018 season for the Pawtucket Red Sox. In four April starts, Shepherd posted a 7.36 ERA in 18 and 1/3 innings. But since then, he has flourished as a starting pitcher. Earlier on in the season “he wasn’t stretched out” said Paw Sox manager Kevin Boles. “It was 75 pitches early on in the year. Now he’s built up to about 95 to 100”. Shepherd now has the stamina to pitch late into game and face batters several times through the lineup. Something he didn’t have earlier on in the year.

Why The Transition To A Starting Pitcher

In the winter of 2017, Chandler Shepherd played winter ball down in Hermosillo, Mexico, where he was a starting pitcher. This would be the first time since college that Shepherd would be used as a starting pitcher in an organized baseball game, minus one spot start each of the last two years where he maxed out at 56 pitches.

While down in Hermosillo, he made seven starts while posting a 3-2 record in 33 innings of work. In those 33 innings, he posted a 4.09 ERA while striking out 31 batters.

“I think the idea was bounced around a couple of times” says Shepherd, “I actually did start was when I went to winter ball last year, when I was in Mexico, I started down there and things went well for me. I think that conversation after that kind of kick started it again a little bit. Maybe thought it was a good idea to try it out coming into spring training next year” Shepherd adds.

But when you look at the makeup that Shepherd has, it only makes sense that the organization decided to make him a starter. “Looking at what we have, if you look at the right handed relievers. Lot of tall right handed relievers with big power arms. He’s a guy that has four pitches. So fastball, curveball, cutter, changeup. So when you have four pitches, if you’re a 1 to 2 inning guy, you don’t really get to use those too much. He profiled with all the guys that we had, right handed, big power arms. He was a guy that kind of stood out as far as he’s got some pitchability. He’s got a mix. So I think they just wanted to give him a different look. He was excited to do it, and he’s taken to it. He’s done a nice job so far” said Paw Sox manager Kevin Boles when asked why the organization decided to move Shepherd to the starting rotation.

This move essentially gives Chandler Shepherd more of a shot at the big leagues. The Red Sox organization already has a lot of guys who are big right handed pitchers who throw hard out of the bullpen. This move to the starting rotation makes Shepherd more flexible within the organization. If the Red Sox need a long man or a spot starter even in the 2018 season, Shepherd is now a possibility for a call up at any point this season as a spot starter or a call up in September. Chandler Shepherd is currently on the Red Sox 40-man roster.

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Jason Schneider/Pawtucket Red Sox

How Has Shepherds Transition Been Going

To begin the 2018 campaign for Shepherd, it looked like he wasn’t meant to be a starting pitcher. In four starts during April, he posted a 7.36 ERA in 18 and 1/3 innings. But in reality, he just wasn’t up to it. Yet. “He wasn’t stretched out then, and that’s the thing” said Kevin Boles.

“I think there’s a fine line going from one to two inning reliever to being a starter where you fall in the traps trying to hold back. Like you’re trying to ration out your effort level. What I think he’s got to do is he’s got to make sure hes going he’s pitching the whole time and just understanding that he’s building up to 100 pitches and that just something that a lot of guys try to reserve. Save something in the tank, they fall into a trap, and maybe they don’t execute as much as far as their pitch-ability. He’s a guy that now that understands what the effort level needs to be, executing his pitches, and he’s going to have something left in the tank in the sixth and seventh inning. He’s built up that stamina now”.

“With (Shepherd), when a guy gets around 30-40 pitches, that’s usually where they’ve been cut off as a reliever. Now, we want to make sure that they’re not trying to ration their effort level. That they have to be going. They have to be pitching the whole time. I think that’s something that he’s built up to. It was 75 pitches early on in the year. Now he’s built up to about 95 to 100. That takes a lot of work” as Boles complements Shepherd on his transformation into a a starting pitcher.

Now that Shepherd has been pitching as a starting pitcher for the entire season, you have started to see his progression as he seems fresher later in his outings. A really improvement, especially since he has shown he can get into the seventh inning and give the Paw Sox length as a starting pitcher. This has helped the bullpen and give them somewhat of a break on the day of his starts. This has been especially nice for the Paw Sox because they have had to deal with a lot of spot starts by different guys who can only give them three to four innings as a starting pitcher. That can tax a bullpen as the season goes on.

How Shepherd Has Improved As A Pitcher

As a starting pitcher, you’re going to be attacking hitters differently compared to how you would be attacking hitters out of the bullpen. “It’s more you’re coming out and attack the hitters with your best bullets that day, out of the bullpen” said Shepherd. “Now you come in to start, you’ve got to face the same guys two, three times in a game. I think it’s a lot of mixing in your pitches up, and being a smarter pitcher, you know understanding the game a little bit better versus coming in and working quickly and getting quick outs” said Shepherd when asked about the difference from pitching as a starter to coming out of the pen.

Shepherd admitted that “getting through that line up a second and third time was something early on I think I was really struggling with”. Once the calendar turned to May, he was able to post a 2.22 ERA in five starts in the month. Those numbers alone have shown that he is building up the stamina that he needs to be able to be a starting pitcher. But Shepherd credits his success since May to “mixing pitches and basically not being predictable is what’s allowing me to get deeper into games and having more success”.

Shepherd’s ability to mixing in his pitches to get hitters out two to three times through the order makes total sense. If you see the same pitches from the same pitcher as a hitter, you will be able to make contact and do damage. Boles and Shepherd have both said that you need to be able to mix your pitches well to achieve success as a starting pitcher, which is true.

For a reliever, you can get away having only two pitches. Since Shepherd has 4 pitches in the fastball, curveball, cutter, and changeup. He already has the ability to mix his pitches. To get ready for his next start, Shepherd did say “that routine in between the starts is something that I really had to adapt to. The planing for the next start. The scouting part or the preparation with the weight room stuff, conditioning or bullpens or whatever it might be”.

That’s when as a pitcher you will figure out how you want to attack certain hitters. As Shepherd continues to develop as a starting pitcher, he will continue to work on his conditioning and his prep in how to make his next start. But so far in the 2018 season, Shepherd has done a really nice job on making that jump from a reliever to a starting pitcher.

Red Sox

Jason Schneider/Pawtucket Red Sox

What Is Shepherd’s Ceiling

Chandler Shepherd is currently the 25th best prospect in the Red Sox organization according to As a starting pitcher and being stretched out to 95-100 pitches, he can provide some length at any level, even out of the bullpen. So far this season, the Red Sox have called up Jalen Beeks and Willliam Cuevas as a long man out of the bullpen when they have needed length. Shepherd is another name you could see called up at one point this season to give the Red Sox length or even a spot start at one point. He currently is on the 40 man roster so seeing him with the Red Sox this September when rosters expand is not out of the question.

In the long term, Shepherd looks like he could be a starting pitcher for the Red Sox at the major league level. Since May however he has labored in several starts while struggling to get batters out. But his assortment of pitches and his ability to give that length in a game does make him a viable option to be able to get batters out and pitch very efficiency which he has shown at the AAA level.

Shepherd does have the talent as a professional baseball player to be given the chance to make his major league debut. Because he is on the 40 man roster, I do think that you will get that at one point this season, but probably not until September. In September, you will probably see him out of the Red Sox bullpen as a long man for any starting pitcher who only goes 4 to 5 innings while they try to limit work for some of their starting pitchers, especially Chris Sale.

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Pawtucket Red Sox

Pawtucket Red Sox Add Brandon Phillips To Roster In A Flurry Of Moves



Brandon Phillips

Pawtucket Red Sox Add Brandon Phillips To Roster In A Flurry Of Roster Moves

The Pawtucket Red Sox have officially added Brandon Phillips to their official roster. He has been with the Lowell Spinners since he signed with the Red Sox organization. With the Lowell Spinners, Philips hit .318 in 6 games while hitting 1 home run and 7 RBI’s. Phillips has spent a majority of his 16 years as a major league ball player with the Cincinnati Reds before playing the 2017 season with the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angles.

In 1893 major league games, Phillips has hit well, posting a .275 batting average while connecting for 210 career home homes and 949 RBI’s. Phillips also spent 4 seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Phillips will be batting third for the Paw Sox on Saturday night as the designated hitter.

Trevor Kelley Added

The Paw Sox added RHP Trevor Kelley from AA Portland this morning as well. Kelley did pitch in 2 games for the Paw Sox earlier this season while he had 3 and 1/3 scoreless innings for the team. In 2018, he has posted a 3.60 ERA in 30 innings. This is between AA Portland Sea Dogs and AAA Pawtucket Red Sox.

Other Transactions

The Paw Sox have activated infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. off of the temporary inactive list. He was placed on the list on July 11th.

The Red Sox bullpen carousel also continued this morning as the major league team recalled Bobby Poyner from AAA Pawtucket. To make room for Poyner in Boston, the Red Sox optioned Robby Scott back down to AAA Pawtucket. Scott pitched in two innings for the Red Sox on Friday night while throwing 37 pitches. Due to that heavy workload, Scott was probably not going to be available on Saturday for the Red Sox and it gives the Red Sox flexibility out of their bullpen.

In total, the Paw Sox have had 14 player transactions in the last three days.

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PawSox Notebook: Ortega Up Quick, Witte Back, Buttrey Gets Closer Shot



PawSox Notebook: Ortega Up Quick After Draft, Witte Back In Town, Buttrey Gets Closer Shot With Brasier In Boston

The Boston Red Sox transferred their 19th round draft pick from the 2018 MLB draft to Pawtucket on Friday after just 16 games in Lowell. That player is Jonathan Ortega who has batted .326 (14-for-43) in just 16 games with the Spinners.

Prior to Friday’s game PawSox Manager Kevin Boles said a few words on Ortega already being in Triple-A Pawtucket.

“I have talked with Corey Wimberly, their manager in Lowell. He’s a guy that can play shortstop, second base, and third. He has impressed them defensively. Looked up his numbers his last 10 games he’s been competitive at the plate. So we will see what we get. He’s depth for us, we’ve kind of run sort with our roster these days. But hopefully he’s a guy that gets an opportunity here in the next couple of days.” Boles said prior to Friday’s game.

On Friday the injured Marcus Walden threw a simulated game, and by all accounts it went very well.

“Good.” Said Boles. ” He got up and down twice, 15 pitches each time. Said he felt good afterwords. The ball was coming out of his hand pretty good.”

On Thursday night, the first game back after the all-star break, Ty Buttrey was called upon to finish out the game. With Ryan Brasier in Boston it was Buttrey’s first chance at taking the closer role with Brasier up in the Majors. Boles liked what he saw but there was rust.

” I liked it. But again, watching our pitchers yesterday. With Buttrey, it looked like he was getting some of the rust off a little bit. So to me, it was a little bit suspect at times. But again, he’s got power at the end of the games, this is something that maybe we will continue. The one thing you have got to make sure that you don’t run into a trap. You are pitching at the end of a game, you still have to use your secondary pitches. And I think sometimes the trap can be is if you are in the 9th inning and the game is on the line, you just want to go straight power. And so, you still have to have some balance in that really.”

One thing that Buttrey has improved upon lately is mixing.

“Before, he was at 70-72% fastball percentage and we are starting to see a little bit more balance with the off-speed. We are going to get there. Again, this takes time. This is something that’s not going to happen overnight. You are not going to get a 50-50 split within a day or two. It’s just not realistic. Nor is it fair to ask. There is some balance here and another trap that guys fall into is that they hear the noise and that they know they are competing and doing well. And if they are blowing fastballs by a guy, they don’t want to run into their bat speed. So they want to put up numbers here so people will take a look at them up top. He’s done that, and now the plan is to step further on how we can develop so when he gets up to Boston. Whenever that maybe. That he is able to use that mix.”

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