BOSTON — The Red Sox toned it down this season.
The 2014 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline marked an incredibly busy day for the Red Sox, who traded away Jon Lester, John Lackey and Andrew Miller amid a flurry of moves. This year’s deadline was a far different story. Friday felt like business as usual at Fenway Park as Boston stood pat.
“Drastically different,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays of the mood in the clubhouse leading up to this year’s deadline. “When you’ve got two starting pitchers (traded), as we did a year ago, there’s going to be a lot more attraction to those. Teams are looking to add a starter to potentially get them over the hump. In Lester and Lackey, we had those two.
“This year, that’s not the case. The flurry of activity is clearly different, as were the speculation and rumors leading up to the deadline. A drastically different environment in the clubhouse this year compared to last.”
The Red Sox weren’t entirely inactive. They traded outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge, and they acquired right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from the Oakland Athletics in the minutes leading up to Friday’s deadline. Neither classifies as a major move, though. The Sox figure to do most of their retooling over the offseason.
Deals still could be made in August. Players just need to clear waivers to make it happen, which might not be a problem for someone like Mike Napoli, who’s still owed more than $5 million this season. But Friday allowed some players to breathe a little easier.
“Maybe for guys like (Napoli) or Alejandro (De Aza), who might have been the two most obvious guys that could have thoughts in that way,” Farrell said of whether there’s a sense of relief in the clubhouse. “And I think probably for Nap, as the deadline has passed, now it’s just a matter of staying focused on the task at hand.
“Whether or not there’s anything that happens going forward during the month of August, that’s totally out of his or our control. But I think the deadline always is a significant point in time, in the anticipation leading up varies. But now that we’re beyond it, that can be put behind him.”
Napoli put the deadline behind him by hitting a clutch home run Friday in a 7-5 win over the Rays. It’ll be interesting to see if the Red Sox can string together a solid run with July 31 in the rearview mirror.
If they do, it’ll come on the heels of just another day at the office, unlike last season.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
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