While the Red Sox kept tabs on the Cubs’ Matt Garza market, his profile was an imperfect fit for what the team wanted and what the team was willing to give up. Garza would have represented nothing more than a two-month (and perhaps postseason) rental who would reach free agency following the 2013 campaign; under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, because Garza is switching teams mid-year, he is not eligible for the qualifying offer necessary to receive a compensatory draft pick should he depart in free agency.
In other words, Garza represents the most extreme sort of case of sacrificing long-term talent for short-term gain. Given that the Sox still expect Clay Buchholz back and that their other season-opening members of the rotation (John Lackey, Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Ryan Dempster) have all shown, at times, the ability to be a solid member and in some instances (Lackey, Lester to start the year, Doubront more recently) have demonstrated the potential to dominate, the team doesn’t feel a sense of desperation to focus on ceiling.
Moreover, the fact that the Sox have a number of near major league-ready starting prospects in the minors or on their big league roster (Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa) gives the team some sense that, even as it explores the market for pitching, it’s not in as desperate a condition as was the case in 2011, when the team didn’t have viable options in Triple-A beyond Andrew Miller and Kyle Weiland.
That being the case, the team seems unlikely to be seduced by ceiling in its explorations of the trade market. Nor, according to multiple major league sources, is it likely to part with top prospects for rental starters such as Garza and Ervin Santana.
Instead, the team would be more intrigued by the idea of identifying a pitcher with a solid performance track record who would be available for multiple years of control. According to one major league source, a pitcher like Bud Norris — 6-8 with a 3.63 ERA, 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings, 2.8 walks per nine innings, averaging exactly six innings per start — represents the sort of pitcher who, at least in theory, matches up with what the Sox are seeking. Someone who’s had a first-hand glimpse of the pitcher this year views him as an impactful candidate for trade.
“He’s been really good this year. I think the biggest thing for him has been his consistency,” said Astros catcher Jason Castro at the All-Star Game. “He’s been able to really, for the full first half, pretty much do what he’s wanted. He’s kind of been working on a few different things as far as his pitch selection goes. He’s kind of developed a few more secondary pitches that have been pretty successful for him, and I think he kind of gives hitters a different look, because of the kind of history he had when he first came in. He was mostly a two-pitch guy. It’s been a credit to him to see him evolve and adjust himself based on what the league was seeing from him. I think that’s kind of added to him being successful.
“He could be a very solid part of any organization as they move forward. He’s one of those guys that you’d love to keep,” added Castro. “If we could hold onto him, he’d be an asset for us. We’ll see what happens, but I know that wherever he ends up, he’s going to pitch very well and do the things that have been why he’s been successful this year.”
Norris is making just $3 million this year and has two more years of team control before he is eligible for free agency. So, while he’d require the sacrifice of prospects who represent long-term assets, he’d also afford an acquiring team a stabilizing rotation member for multiple seasons.
According to one source, the Sox have checked in on the Norris market and currently believe the Astros’ asking price is too high, feeling that it’s more in line with a pitcher who has the reputation of a front-of-the-rotation option rather than a back-end one. But, given the depth of the Sox’ system, if Houston’s asking price does come down, then the Sox could become more aggressive in the pursuit of Norris (and other pitchers of a similar ilk — mid- to back-of-the-rotation options who are controllable for multiple years) given the lack of proven depth in the group of prospects mentioned above.
We check in with the HC of the NEP on Patriots Monday. Bill Belichick breaks down all aspects of the win over Dallas, including the linebacker play, Dion Lewis, and the league's point on emphasis on pick plays.
We check in with the best football analyst on Boston radio. Tedy Bruschi talks to Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart about all aspects of the win over Dallas, and the the upcoming Colts game.
We check in with Chandler Jones on a Patriots Monday after a win over Dallas, and they're on to Indy.
Sam Packard and Josue Pavon from WEEI.com discuss the Celtics first two pre-season games. Then, in the second installment of Packard's Corner, Sam is joined by his brother Nick to answer an important historical question. Kick it!
Sam Packard is joined by his brother Nick, as he breaks down his favorite moments from Celtics Media Day. Sam then tries to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a character on The Wire, with varied results.
Sam Packard is joined by Jared Weiss of CLNSRadio.Com to talk about trading Bradley and the upcoming Celtics Media Day.
Former Red Sox infielder Nick Punto to discuss who was in the wrong when it came to the leg-breaking slide of Chase Utley, his former minor-league roommate. Punto also revealed why he chose to take a year off from big league baseball, as well as what went wrong with the 2012 Red Sox. The Bradfo Show is sponsored by Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors and Gould's Distinctive Clothing.
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DJ Bean checks in with Ken Laird for today's Boston Bruins post-game podcast as the B's fell again to Tampa 6-3. Was Chara a help? Any signs of improvement?
DJ Bean checks in live from TD Garden after Boston falls to Montreal in game two of the season. Updates on Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara's health, and reaction to a key Bruins disallowed goal in the second period. Ken Laird anchors from the WEEI PodCentre
DJ Bean checks in live from TD Garden after the Bruins 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in the season opener. Ken Laird anchors from the WEEI.com Podcentre
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Dion Lewis has emerged as a huge piece to this Patriots team, and the guys react to that, but also go around the league and recap some of yesterday's games.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss the news of the day, Tom Brady's interview with Dennis and Callahan in which he breaks down his relationship with his health guru Alex Guerrero, and some of his health beliefs and practices.
Mikey is back for another season of Patriots-related parody songs, this time he's calling out the Cowboys.
The final hour of the show is nothing if not entertaining
Mikey takes all kinds of phone calls from Patriot fans with the utmost confidence.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk react to their interview with Tom Brady including Tom's defense of his business partner Alex Guerrero.