Theo Epstein wanted to be clear. He believes in the 2010 version of the Red Sox.
Unfortunately, based on the way the market reacted to the far-reaching needs for quality bullpen and outfield help, he was not able to help out the team at the trade deadline.
?Past years we were able to make trades that immediately impacted our major league team and that?s a really satisfying feeling,? Epstein said from Fenway Park roughly two hours after the trade deadline passed.
?Other years we haven?t been able to and you come away with a bit of an empty feeling. Today is more of the latter.
?That?s not the whole story but if you ask me are we frustrated that we weren?t able to help this team, yeah, certainly.?
Epstein and his staff were able to make two minor moves, but both figure to factor into the future of the club, rather than the present.
First, by shipping Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco, the Sox acquired a side-arming reliever named Daniel Turpen that may be in the mix down the road. Epstein cited the potential turnover in the organization?s available bullpen help in the next few years as a reason to bring in a prospect like Turpen.
His above-average, three-pitch arsenal didn?t hurt.
"He?s someone that could be part of the solution," Epstein said of the future bullpen.
Second, in a move that was announced after the deadline came and went, the organization shipped two minor leaguers, a player to be named later and cash to the Texas Rangers for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a guy the Sox have coveted for years.
Like Turpen, Saltalamacchia gives depth at a position that is currently lean at the major league level, but figures to be in play next year and after. He has been highly touted since entering the Atlanta Braves system as a first-round pick in 2003.
The 25-year-old?s progress has been sidetracked first by shoulder surgery and then by mental issues in the wake of the procedure that caused him to have difficulty making simple throws back to the pitcher, a condition that has plagued others in the past.
The setbacks allowed the Sox to pounce at an opportune time, according to Epstein.
"Obviously, a guy we liked a lot in the past and came with a real high-priced tag in the past. He?s someone we hope we are buying low on," said Epstein, who noted that Saltalamacchia may have just needed a change of scenery.
The acquisition, which sent first baseman Chris McGuiness and right-handed reliever Roman Mendez to Texas, could factor in how the organization handles Victor Martinez going forward. Martinez is in a contract year. The club could re-sign him as a catcher, but may be more inclined to use him in designated hitter and first base roles, which might rule out the possibility of re-signing David Ortiz.
That?s a bit down the road. In Saltalamacchia there is potentially, if he can rediscover the form that made him so highly regarded in the past, an extra option on that front.
So, with pieces of the future in place, the club must proceed in the present with the same lot that has faded deep into third place as August prepares to begin. Epstein is hopeful of three things.
One, the club will continue to get healthier, namely with Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury coming back. With health, Epstein said, comes the ability to run off a lengthy winning streak. And with a lengthy winning streak, the organization is prepared to get the reinforcements through waiver-wire deals, reinforcements that could not come Saturday.
"I think we have the resources both in terms of prospects and dollars to reach out in August and hopefully help this team," Epstein said.
There were several "aggressive" offers made by the Sox to obtain relief help. But the market had skewed after deals, such as the one that saw Washington closer Matt Capps go to Minnesota for a top catching prospect.
Teams with impactful arms knew that others, such as the Sox, coveted them, and top the price was going up. Epstein wasn?t quite prepared to give up the farm.
"We were pretty aggressive in offering some very solid prospects while staying away from our top-top guys for relievers," he added. "That was the nature of the market this year. It was deep in starting pitching, deep in bats, DH-type bats, pretty thin in relievers, pretty thin in outfield. We were on the wrong end of that supply and demand. We needed relievers and outfielders."
In addition to August waiver-wire possibilities, the Sox can take some comfort in the in-system imports. Both Felix Doubront and Michael Bowden are being groomed as relievers in order to help the big club in the stretch run. And Ryan Kalish made an immediate impact in left field after being brought up from Pawtucket earlier Saturday.
Whether the combination of young help, players returning from injury, a winning streak and a move later on in August is enough to get the team to the postseason remains to be seen. After the Sox tried, but failed, to pull off an impact trade Saturday, that?s what they will have to hope for.