Maybe the Drew Pomeranz deal wasn’t Dave Dombrowski’s final salvo, after all.

That’s at least the vibe ESPN’s Jayson Stark is getting.

Clubs talking with Red Sox say they're still trying to do "something big." But for what high-end starter? Chris Sale? Sonny Gray? Mystery P?

A trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs would shift a few dynamics in the playoff races. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Images)

A trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs would shift a few dynamics in the playoff races. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Images)

Aroldis Chapman is good. Very good.

For a reminder of how valuable the closer is all you have to do is understand what the Cubs are reportedly willing to give up to get a relief pitcher whose contract is up at the end of this year.

According to multiple reports, the Yanks would be getting back a player in Adam Warren who was a centerpiece in securing their starting second baseman, Starlin Castro, and had been one of their most valuable relievers in the previous two seasons. He is having a supbar season this year, having just been optioned to the minor leagues to make room for Joe Nathan. But he is a proven American League East arm.

There is also a belief that one of the game’s top shortstop prospects, Gleyber Torres, a 19-year-old who the Cubs paid $1.7 million in 2013, would be included. This would be the difference-maker.

Another report has top outfield prospect Billy McKinney, a 2013 Cubs first-round pick, headed to the Yankees.

Chapman, however, is the perceived final piece for Theo Epstein’s Cubs. So why not?

The closer’s numbers with the Yankees aren’t a surprise. He is 20 for 21 in save chances, while totaling .179 batting average against in 31 1/3 innings. He has struck out 44 and walked just eight.

Sure he missed a month due to his MLB suspension for domestic violence, with the Yankees already starting to establish themselves as a pretender by the time he showed up. But Chapman was a great acquisition for the Yankees. They would be getting a significant haul. Much better than what they gave up to get the 28-year-old.

And with Torres in the deal, any sting New York might feel in regards to not getting a draft pick if Chapman signed with another team in the offseason is negated.

As for the Cubs? Closer Hector Rondon has been good. Really good. But what this does is lock down the eighth inning for Chicago, who has been relying on Pedro Strop, Travis Wood and Mike Montgomery in as the bridge to the ninth.

For July, the previously be-all, end-all starting rotation of the Cubs has shown it’s mortality, totaling the 10th-most innings in the National League, while totaling a 5.42 ERA. This would protect that dynamic a bit.

So what does it all mean for the Red Sox (besides a potentially more difficult path to the World Series if the dream matchup with the Cubs does come to fruition)?

For one, it would weaken one of the opponents the Red Sox will be facing six more times, including the second-to-last series of the regular season. Conversely, the Orioles and Blue Jays still are slated to go up against New York nine times, each. Although, obviously, facing Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will continue to be no bargain.

There is also the benefit that Chapman wouldn’t be heading to one of the American League playoff contenders, such as Cleveland. Cody Allen has been superb as the Indians’ closer, but the one piece of Terry Francona’s puzzle that might be lacking is consistently getting to the ninth.

A Chapman move also thins out what is still thought to be a healthy relieving market heading into the non-waiver trade deadline. It makes the Red Sox’ preemptive strike on Brad Ziegler that much more important, particularly considering the side-winder’s success to start his Sox career (retiring 19 of his first 20 batters).

All in all, such a trade is probably a good thing for these Red Sox.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-51): L, 5-2, at Columbus (Indians)

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-51): L, 5-2, at Columbus (Indians)

— Making his first start for the PawSox since May 14, Brian Johnson took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in just three innings. His control wasn’t great, as he fanned just one batter while walking four. Johnson, 25, made four rehab starts with both Lowell and the Gulf Coast League Red Sox as he dealt with an anxiety issue before returning to Pawtucket. The left-hander is 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 starts this season. He is Boston’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 pitching prospect at MLB.com

— Pawtucket did not get on the board until the fifth inning, when catcher Dan Butler lined a two-run double to left field, cutting the Clippers’ lead in half. Butler, who finished 1-for-3, is averaging .364 in the month of June. The 29-year-old is slashing .304/.398/.461 with Pawtucket.

— Henry Ramos was one of two Pawtucket batters to record multiple hits, finishing the game 2-for-4 with a run scored. Boston’s No. 20 prospect at MLB.com crossed home plate on Butler’s double in the fifth frame. Ramos, 24, has hit safely in the last four games and is batting .267/.308/.415 in the minors.

— Keith Couch relieved Johnson and lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one run. He gave up five hits and did not strike out a batter. Sunday’s game was the second non-start for the 26-year-old righty, who’s a 7-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 17 outings.

Mauricio Dubon

Mauricio Dubon

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (36-64): L, 2-1, vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— He didn’t score a run, but Mauricio Dubon had a great day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two doubles for his first four-hit game in Double-A. Boston’s No. 11 prospect at MLB.com has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games and is averaging .436 in his last 10. Dubon, 22, is hitting .315/.383/.409 in 337 at-bats.

— Mitch Atkins got the start for the Sea Dogs, letting up two runs on eight hits in six innings in his fifth loss of the season. He fanned five and walked two in a quality start.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Atkins told the Portland Press Herald. “I threw the ball well. My job is to keep the game close and give my team a chance to win, and I did that. Sometimes you pull it out and sometimes you don’t.”

The 30-year-old right-hander has struck out at least five in his last nine appearances, and he is 2-5 with a 4.74 ERA in 23 outings.

— It was an unusual game for Boston’s top overall prospect Yoan Moncada, who went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. His final at-bat was the last out of the game. It was the first time in his career that Moncada, 21, totaled five strikeouts.

“People may look at the 0-for-5 with five punch-outs, but I really believe that this kid is going to be an offensive player with power,” Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez said. “He’s probably a little over his head right now and maybe we just got him at the right time, but the way he goes about his business, he’s going to be a really good player.”

Moncada has failed to get a hit in four of his last five games and is batting .171 in his last 10 games. He’s still averaging .297/.408/.515 in 87 minor league games this season.

Nick Longhi

Nick Longhi

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (58-40): L, 7-0, at Frederick (Orioles)

— The Salem bats went quiet, totaling only three hits and one extra-base hit. Nick Longhi, Boston’s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com, doubled to open up the seventh inning but was stranded on base. It was his team-leading 25th double of the season. Longhi, the 20-year-old Springfield native, is slashing .291/.357/.401 in 337 at bats.

— Matt Kent recorded the loss, surrendering five runs on seven hits in five innings. Five of those runs came in the first inning, letting Frederick jump out to a 3-0 lead. He also struck out three and walked just one. Kent, 23, has gone at least five innings in his previous five starts. The southpaw is 8-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 20 starts.

— Reliever Bobby Poyner had a perfect eighth inning, striking out the side. The 23-year-old left-hander now has 44 strikeouts in 46 innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 28 minor league appearances.

Trenton Kemp

Trenton Kemp

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (50-48): W, 12-5, at Asheville (Rockies)

— Trenton Kemp blasted two home runs to give him 11 on the year. He hit a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run jack in his next at-bat in the fourth inning. He also doubled. Kemp, 20, had his first three-hit game of the season and is batting .247/.329/.470 with the Drive.

— Tate Matheny also performed well at the plate, going a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. He reached base in all five of his appearances. The son of former major league catcher Mike Matheny, the 22-year-old outfielder is averaging .389 in his last 10 games, crossing home plate six times in that span. Matheny is hitting .314/.356/.444 in 71 at-bats.

— Enmanuel De Jesus got the start for Greenville, letting up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work, failing to remain in the game long enough to pick up the win. The lefty struck out five and walked three. De Jesus, 19, is 2-2 with a 4.79 ERA in seven minor league starts.

— Austin Rei went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. He hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning for his fifth homer of the season. Drafted last season by the Red Sox, the 22-year-old is averaging .221/.345/.336 in 64 games. He is Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com.

Yoan Aybar

Yoan Aybar

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (21-15): W, 5-2 in 12 innings, at West Virginia (Pirates)

— Yoan Aybar, Boston’s No. 19 prospect at MLB.com, went 3-for-5 with a run, two RBIs and a timely two-run home run. His third homer of the season came in the 12th inning to give Lowell the lead for good. The 19-year-old has hit two home runs in his last three games and is slashing .219/.264/.360 in 30 games.

— Tyler Hill also came through with a clutch homer. He drilled a solo shot in the ninth inning to tie the game and force extra innings. Hill, 20, finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. One of Lowell’s best overall hitters, Hill is batting .371/.422/.578 in 29 games.

— Kevin Steen has a decent start for Lowell, giving up two runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out four in the process. It was the least runs allowed in an outing for Boston’s No. 24 prospect at MLB.com since his first start of the year on June 20. Steen, 20, is 1-3 with a whopping 6.16 ERA and 1.73 WHIP.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

The Red Sox will send recently acquired starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the hill Monday to open up a three-game series against the Tigers. Pomeranz will square off against veteran right-hander Justin Verlander.

Pomeranz, who was acquired from the Padres on July 14, is 8-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The 27-year-old southpaw was named a National League All-Star and has not lost a game since June 14. His most recent outing was his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, when the Ole Miss product allowed five runs on eight hits in just three innings in an 11-7 Red Sox win over the Giants. Pomeranz struck out four, walked two and surrendered two home runs facing his old division rivals.

“I’ve faced these guys four times this year,” Pomeranz said. “I was going along pretty good there through the three [innings]. I made some bad fastball location pitches and they made me pay for it.”

Having been a part of a National League team for most of his career, Pomeranz has pitched against the Tigers just once in his six years in the majors. As a reliever, he threw one shutout inning on June 4 of last season as a member of the Athletics.

Verlander is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He ranks third in the American League in strikeouts (139) and fourth in innings pitched (132 1/3). The 2011 AL MVP has been excellent as of late, holding the opposition to less than two runs in each of his last four starts. His last appearance came in a 4-1 loss to the Twins on Wednesday. The 33-year-old pitched a gem, giving up one run and two hits in eight innings while striking out nine.

“It was pretty similar to the other good starts he’s had all year long,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, “where the fastball’s getting some swings and misses, he’s locating.”

Verlander has pitched 13 games against the Red Sox in his 11-year career, totaling a 3-5 record with a 3.16 ERA. Most recently, on Aug. 9 of last year, the former Cy Young winner got the loss after surrendering two runs and four hits in six innings.

Tigers vs. Pomeranz (LHP)

Justin Upton is 2-for-5 with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.

Cameron Maybin is 2-for-4 with 1 double and 1 strikeout.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

J.D. Martinez is 2-for-2 with 1 double and 1 RBI.

Jose Iglesias is 0-for-1.

Anthony Gose is 0-for-1.

Mike Aviles is 0-for-0 with 1 walk.

No other batters have faced Pomeranz.

Red Sox vs. Verlander (RHP)

David Ortiz (29 plate appearances): .379 AVG/.455 OBP/.724 SLG, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (18): .056/.105/.056, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Aaron Hill (16): .313/.294/.438, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Brock Holt (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 RBIs

Xander Bogaerts (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts

Michael Martinez is 2-for-5 with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts.

Hanley Ramirez is 2-for-5 with 1 walk.

Mookie Betts is 0-for-4 with 1 strikeout.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

For a team like the Red Sox, who has seen their closer, Craig Kimbrel, sidelined for the past few weeks with a knee injury, and then his replacement, Koji Uehara, also hitting the shelf due to a torn pectoral muscle, Ziegler has been exactly as John Farrell described after his team’s 8-7 win over the Twins Sunday.

“He’s been a Godsend, to be honest,” the Red Sox manager said after another 1-2-3 ninth inning from Ziegler. “It’s a comfortable inning. It’s balls on the ground. I think he’s given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he’s faced. He’s very calm. He’s experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji and Craig.”

Since the Red Sox sent minor leaguers Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe to Arizona for Ziegler, things could have not gone better for the 36-year-old or his new team. (And, for what it’s worth, neither prospect has distinguished themselves as of yet for their new team, Single-A Kane County.)

While Sunday marked his first save with the Red Sox (and 82nd for his career), seemingly everyone of Ziegler’s 68 pitches in his new uniform has been spot-on. He has been the kind of anchor that the Sox had to make a priority with August bearing down.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere,” he said. “It’s fun to be on a team when you show up to the park, you expect to win. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what stadium we’re in. My second game here, we’re going into Yankee Stadium right after the All-Star break and I know the rivalry and had never been part of that and we went out and beat them the first two games there. It’s a lot of fun. This is kind of, when you dream about playing as a kid, you dream about being in a pennant race and getting big if you’re a pitcher. Getting big outs in games that matter. I think everybody is just kind of feeding off each other right now. Like I said, we’re playing really good ball.”

And, for now, the guy who idolized Dan Quisenberry and John Smoltz growing up has become the star the Red Sox’ bullpen.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s fun when the third out happens and we feel the crowd explode a little bit. At the same time, I’m not looking to supplant anyone’s job or anything like that. I hope both those guys are back here in about a week or two and I’ll slot in wherever they need me to and I just want to win games. It’s so much fun to win and to get to go experience the rest of the day and just sit and relax and enjoy what happened here and come back tomorrow ready to go again.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.
Joe Castiglione & Tim Neverett talked to the new Sox reliever, who got his first save for the team today against the Twins.