MLB trade deadline not the be-all-end-all for Red Sox

Tim Brown
MLB columnist

Dave Dombrowski has been through enough of these. Monday will come and go, there’ll be a discussion over whether he’s still a genius or has become an idiot that he’ll pay no attention to, and 55 games will follow. Maybe more.

Then we’ll find out about the Boston Red Sox. And maybe the Red Sox will find out about the Red Sox.

They are, see, plenty good enough to win the AL East, as is. We knew that just about a week ago when they were up 3 ½ games and pulling away, even if by Saturday afternoon they were a full game back and leaning toward bedlam, which can happen, except it always seems worse — more interesting, anyway — in places like Boston.

With about 45 hours until the trade deadline, the Red Sox of the so-so offense, of the .239 batting average in July, of the fewest home runs in the American League, had feathered in one Eduardo Nunez and promoted one Rafael Devers, while sending to the disabled list one David Price.

The team’s highest paid player – that’s Price – is mad at the TV guy, who happens to be a Hall of Fame pitcher. Price talked a little bit about that Saturday with reporters, who he was mad at previously, and may still be. It’s getting hard to follow. Fortunately, Dustin Pedroia stood up and said he’s got this, this being the clubhouse, which is fine, because, again, nobody thinks the Red Sox aren’t good enough, except for the fact they’re not winning enough.

Dombrowski, meantime, is starting to sound like a guy lowering expectations for Monday’s deadline. The Chicago White Sox, as of early December, employ four of Boston’s better prospects, that due to the Chris Sale trade. And Devers became important when Pablo Sandoval went belly up. And Dombrowski has said several times that after trades for Sale (those four minor leaguers) and Craig Kimbrel (four more minor leaguers, two Novembers ago), the likes of Devers and 18-year-old lefty Jason Groome are more valuable to the organization than ever.

The Boston Red Sox are good enough to win the AL East as is. (AP Images)

Accurate in this moment and subject to change, the Red Sox are of the mind Price’s elbow will be healthy soon enough, and major improvements to the offense will come from the existing roster, and if there’s an upgrade to be had in the bullpen, well, they’ll see about that.

Also, Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray are still out there, along with a raft of second tier starters. Also, Rick Porcello posted a 3.06 ERA in July. Also, Eduardo Rodriguez is iffy and Drew Pomeranz is sturdy and Doug Fister is not, so far. The New York Yankees hardly lose anymore, which is also a problem, and all this winning happened to coincide with the trade that brought them Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson. They’re also the consensus favorite to land Gray, not that that means anything until the news conference.

“We’re not going to go out and make a big trade for a starting pitcher,” Dombrowski told the Boston Globe recently. “We’re still hopeful that David will be back at this point.”

A ruse, perhaps, as the Red Sox, being who they are, aren’t often allowed to lie in the weeds. Or, just the reality of today, and the uneasiness that comes when a good team plays poorly in the days leading to the deadline, and the ticking clock, and the sense that something isn’t quite right.

It does seem the important thing here will not be the deadline, but those 55 games that chase it.

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