Remember the 2003 Red Sox? Remember Damian Jackson? He was a key to victory on many occasions on that team. Why? Because he could star a base when everyone knew he was stealing a base. So, down by one in the ninth and a guy gets on first? Jackson was coming in and stealing second. The 2004 team, however, didn't have that guy. The team realized that, so at the deadline they went and got Dave Roberts. You may remember that he could steal a base when everyone knew he was running. It's the kind of piece and addition that can be key to a winning team. It can make a good team into a championship team.
That's what the Red Sox did yesterday.
The Sox clearly realized that the bloom had come of the Travis Shaw rose. They realized that one too many times the Red Sox had to send Josh Rutledge up as a pinch hitter with the tying run on base just to see him strike out. That couldn't happen any more. They needed help.
So, they went out and got Aaron Hill. Dave Dombrowski said it was to give the Sox a third base option against lefties that could actually hit. Of course, he also mentioned that Hill was an everyday player in Milwaukee. The implication certainly is that he could be one here too if needed. Either way, the Red Sox added some bench depth that they were severely lacking. Whether it's Shaw or Hill, the Sox have an option available when needed. An option the Sox have been lacking since Brock Holt is stuck in the outfield.
The problem for the Sox, PR-wise, is that this deal was made at the wrong time. If they had done this a week or two ago when the Sox were losing games 3-2 or 2-0, this move would have been cheered. An option off the bench could have been the difference in any number of those games.
But, it's a different time. The Sox just took a series from the best team in the league, while thumping out tons of runs. The offense isn't the problem today.
The pitching is.
So, too many people are screaming that the Sox got rid of a pitcher that had been pitching well. He could have been the replacement fifth starter!
But, he wasn't going to be. He's no longer a prospect. He was an organizational depth pitcher. At 27 years old, he should have been performing well at AAA. But, to hold onto him like your mother's fine china is foolish. He's exactly the type of player you use to improve the big club. You can't hold onto everyone. If you want improvements to be made, something has to go.
So, I think this was a great move. The Sox got something they desperately needed, and gave up something that they didn't. That's exactly what you use your minor league club for.
To make a run at a championship.