Brusdar Graterol’s Medical Review Holding up Blockbuster Trade for Red Sox

As you may have noticed, the three-team blockbuster trade between the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Twins that would send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles has yet to be made official.

The reason? Well, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:

The Red Sox, after viewing the medical records of Twins right-hander Brusdar Graterol, projected him more as a reliever than as a starter, according to sources involved with the discussions.”

Because of this, the Sox “might ask for an additional player and/or money to bridge the gap,” although it us unclear on whether that player would come from the Dodgers or Twins.

Graterol was one of the two players Boston would have received from Los Angeles in the original trade along with outfielder Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo’s medicals, per Rosenthal, have been cleared, which was a big deal given the fact that the 23-year-old missed most of the final two months of the 2019 season due to back issues and a right oblique strain.

As for Graterol, the hard-throwing Twins prospect suffered a right shoulder impingement last May that held him out of action for nearly three months.

Still, Graterol made his major-league debut for Minnesota in September and was viewed by the Twins as a future reliever, not a starter who could handle “a 150- to 170-inning workload” at the moment.

After reviewing the 21-year-old’s medical information, the Red Sox agree with this notion, per Rosenthal, which leads us to the belief that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and co. will be seeking additional compensation in a revised deal.

It’s still going to happen. Mookie Betts and David Price are going to the Dodgers. The Red Sox are going to get under the luxury tax threshold. It’s all just a matter of time.

Red Sox Deal Mookie Betts, David Price to Dodgers in Blockbuster Trade

The Red Sox have reportedly agreed to trade star outfielder Mookie Betts and left-handed pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

In return, Boston would receive outfielder Alex Verdugo and right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol from Los Angeles.

Graterol was acquired by the Dodgers from the Twins in an earlier trade that sent right-hander Kenta Maeda to Minnesota. In total, five players were involved in this three-team blockbuster.

For the past week or so, it seemed as though a deal involving Betts going to a National League West club was inevitable, with the Dodgers eventually winning the sweepstakes and the Padres presumably finishing as the runner-up.

The 27-year-old is set to earn $27 million in 2020 before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter.

As for Price, the 34-year-old is still owed $96 million over the final three years of the seven-year, $217 million pact he inked with the Sox back in December 2015. It looks like Boston will be responsible for about half of that financial commitment going forward with Los Angeles picking up the rest.

In Verdugo and Graterol, the Red Sox now have two controllable pieces who have both seen time in the majors recently.

Starting with Verdugo, the 23-year-old out of Tuscon, Arizona appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers last season, slashing .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI.

Back in August, Verdugo was placed on the injured list due to a right oblique strain and did not appear in a major league game for the remainder of the year after suffering a setback while on a minor-league rehab assignment. He also dealt with lower back soreness.

With Graterol, the Sox get Baseball America’s 60th-ranked prospect headed into the new season.

The 21-year-old Venezuelan made his major-league debut for Minnesota last September and allowed a total of five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts over 10 relief appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings of work.

Graterol projects to be either a middle-of-the-rotation starter or high-leverage reliever, depending on how well he can manage his arsenal, which includes a high-velocity sinker.

Of course, parting ways with both Betts and Price stings mightily. The pair played key roles in one of the most successful runs in franchise history that included three straight American League East titles and a historic World Series-winning campaign in 2018.

Originally drafted out of high school in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft, Betts rose to become the best homegrown player the Red Sox have developed in quite some time.

Because Betts will be a free agent for the first time come November, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to believe that the two sides could entertain a potential reunion when the time comes.

Betts’ strategy seems to be to go to the highest bidder once he does hit the open market, so if the Red Sox are willing to meet his demands, which seems unlikely at this point, why not? A man can dream.

This blockbuster may not have been Chaim Bloom’s first move since being named the Sox’ chief baseball officer last October, but it sure is the most impactful one.

Since medical information still needs to be reviewed, this trade has yet to be finalized.

Potential Red Sox Target Sergio Romo Goes Back to Twins on One-Year Deal

The Minnesota Twins have reportedly brought back right-handed reliever Sergio Romo on a one-year deal, $5 million deal that includes a club option for 2021, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Romo was seen as someone the Red Sox had interest in as recently as last week, but the 36-year-old ultimately winds up back with the club that acquired him from the Miami Marlins this past July.

In 65 relief appearances between Miami and Minnesota in 2019, Romo posted a 3.43 ERA and 3.68 FIP over 60 1/3 innings pitched.

Before that, the California native spent the latter half of the 2017 season and all off 2018 with the Rays, where he became the team’s first “opener” and started five games in ’18.

That’s where the Red Sox-related speculation comes in. Because at the time Romo was traded from the Dodgers to Tampa Bay in July 2017, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was serving as the Rays’ senior vice president of baseball operations.

In addition to that connection, Bloom’s right-hand man and Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran said during last week’s Winter Meetings that an opener is something Boston would be “open-minded” about.

Obviously, Romo is out of the question now, but that should not stop Bloom and Co. from pursuing other bullpen options that could also open for the Red Sox when needed.

Red Sox Hire Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitting Coordinator and Hampden Native Peter Fatse to Be New Assistant Hitting Coach

The Red Sox have reportedly hired Minnesota Twins minor league hitting coordinator Peter Fatse to be their new assistant hitting coach, according to Zone Coverage’s Brandon Warne. The report was later confirmed by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Fatse, 32, will take over for Andy Barkett, who was let go shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 season, and serve under hitting coach Tim Hyers.

Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers as an infielder/outfielder out of the University of Connecticut in the 24th round of the 2009 amateur draft, Fatse spent all of two minor league seasons in the Brewers’ system before spending two more playing independent league ball and eventually retiring in 2012.

The Minnechaug High School graduate also has experience in consulting and coaching, and even founded and ran a hitting academy in Palmer, Ma. prior to joining the Twins organization this past January.

There did not appear to be many other names linked to Boston’s search for an assistant hitting coach and now the attention turns to the club’s pursuit of a pitching coach to join Alex Cora’s staff.

 

Late Comeback Attempt Falls Short as Red Sox Drop Opener to Twins 6-5

After wrapping up a 6-2 west coast road trip on Sunday and a day to recover on Monday, the Red Sox opened up the final month of their season with a 6-5 loss against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins on Tuesday to fall to 74-64 on the year.

Making his 28th start of the season for Boston and second against Minnesota was Rick Porcello, who held the Twins scoreless on just four hits over seven strong innings the last time he faced them at Target Field back on June 17th.

Working into the fifth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Twins tallies came in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners at first and second following a leadoff HBP from Max Kepler and one-out walk drawn by Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano got his side on the board first with a jam shot of an RBI single hit weakly to left field, but strong enough to drive in Kepler from second.

In the third, more two-out trouble arose for Porcello, this time with runners on second and third and Jake Cave plating both on a two-run triple off the center field wall to make it a 3-0 contest.

Two innings later, it was the home run ball that bit Porcello, as Nelson Cruz teed off on a 1-0, 81 MPH slider at the top of the zone to lead the frame off with a solo shot, and Sano followed suit by doing even more damage off another 1-1, 90 MPH heater at the top of the zone, driving in a pair on a 452-foot two-run shot to dead center.

Sano’s 27th homer of the season gave Minnesota a commanding 6-0 advantage at the time it was crushed, and Porcello would not face another hitter, as Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen early once more.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 91.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his 11th loss while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.63, Porcello will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the fifth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got that first out before plunking C.J. Cron and making way for another southpaw in the form of Brian Johnson.

Johnson stranded Cron, as well as the man he walked, with back-to-back groundouts to escape the inning unscathed.

From there, Marcus Walden gave up one free pass in an otherwise clean sixth, Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the side on 12 pitches in an electric seventh, Andrew Cashner tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, and Brandon Worman also fanned three in a scoreless ninth to hold the Twins at six runs. Not like it made much of a difference in the end, though.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Randy Dobnak for the Twins, someone making the first start of their major league career after being used as a reliever thrice since being called up on August 27th.

Dobnak held his own in the first, working his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless frame before making way for a bullpen day from the Twins.

Kicking off the scoring in the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff walk drawn by Mitch Moreland and single off the bat of Christian Vazquez, as well as a wild pitch from left-handed reliever Lewis Thorpe, put a couple of runners in scoring position for Brock Holt.

Holt did manage to collect his team’s first RBI of the night, but only on a groundout to second that allowed Moreland to score easily from third. 6-1.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk led to another pitching change for the Twins, with right-hander Trevor May taking over for Thorpe.

May got the first man he faced in Mookie Betts to fly out to right, meaning he was only one out from getting out of the jam, but Rafael Devers had different plans.

On the sixth pitch he saw from May, a 2-2, 84 MPH slider down and in, the slugging third baseman came through with a 426-foot blast directly down the right field line for his 29th of 2019.

Per Statcast, that three-run shot had an exit velocity of 104.3 MPH, and it brought the Sox back to within two runs at 6-4.

Fast forward to the eighth, and Andrew Benintendi delivered in a tight spot with two outs, as he greeted new Twins left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers by depositing a 1-0, 94 MPH two-seam fastball pretty much down the middle 373 feet over the Green Monster to cut the deficit to one at 6-5. His 13th of the year came on his bobblehead night.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Holt reached on a leadoff single through the left side of the infield off of Rogers.

Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Holt, and the pinch-hitting Gorkys Hernandez advanced him to second on a successful sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position for the top of the lineup.

Betts made decent contact, but failed to advance Hernandez on a comebacker hit to Rogers for the second out.

So, with Devers representing the last chance Boston had, all the 22-year-old could do in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup was fan on three straight strikes, stranding Hernandez at second and wrapping this one up with a final score of 6-5.

Not the way you want to start a seven-game homestand against two of the toughest teams in the American League.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left six men on base as a team.

The top four hitters in the Red Sox’ lineup (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) went a combined 1-for-16 (.062) with one home run and three RBI on Monday. The Red Sox only had six hits all night.

Andrew Cashner, since moving to the bullpen: 7 Games, 11 Innings Pitched, 4 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 4 Walks, 9 Strikeouts, 1 Save, 0.82 ERA.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox are 23-38 against teams .500 or better so far this season.

Bonus Darwinzon Hernandez highlights:

With the Oakland Athletics in action, the Cleveland Indians falling to the Chicago White Sox, and the Tampa Bay Rays splitting a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Rodriguez is coming off a month of August in which he posted a 3.41 ERA and .284 batting average against over six starts and 37 innings of work. The Red Sox went 4-2 in those games.

Back on June 19th, the Venezuela native yielded four runs over seven innings for the Sox in an eventual 8-4 win against the Twins.

Berrios, meanwhile, has fell off a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.85 ERA and .279 batting average against over his last nine starts and 52 innings pitched since then.

The 25-year-old out of Puerto Rico opposed Porcello the first time these two teams squared off in June and was just as impressive, surrendering just one run on five hits and 10 strikeouts over eight innings in a tough-luck loss.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.

Red Sox Bounce Back, Break out for Nine Runs to Take Competitive Series from Twins

After dropping a 17-inning marathon game earlier in the morning, the Red Sox bounced right back Wednesday night, topping the Twins 9-4 in nine innings to both take the three-game series from Minnesota and cap off a solid 5-1 six-game road trip.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Wednesday fresh off seven quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

This time around, against a much more superior opponent, the left-hander once again worked seven full frames, as he surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

From the jump, it looked as though Rodriguez was not going to go too deep into this one. That much was evident with how three straight Twins reached in the first and scored their first run on an Eddie Rosario RBI single.

It could have been worse though, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not snuffed out CJ Cron trying to go from first to home on a Nelson Cruz double in the previous at-bat.

Walks became an issue for Rodriguez in the third, when with two outs and Cruz and Sano on base following a pair of free passes, Luis Arraez plated Cruz from second on another RBI single to make it a 3-2 contest.

An inning later, and it was the home run ball that bit the Venezuela native, with both Willians Astudillo and Max Kepler teaming up for two solo shots to put their team ahead 4-3.

Fortunately for Boston, Rodriguez flipped a switch and settled in a bit from the middle of the fifth on, as he sat down nine of the final 10 Twins he faced to end his outing on a much more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes), the 26-year-old relied on his two-seam fastball more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.4 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 31 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 8-4 while slightly raising his ERA on the season to 4.71, Rodriguez continues to be the benefactor of run support from his lineup. His next start should come against the Chicago White Sox sometime next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not as heavily taxed as they were on Tuesday, with just two relievers, Matt Barnes and Marcus Walden, combining for two scoreless frames of relief to wrap up this 9-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, owner of a career 2.68 ERA in six prior starts against Boston.

Through 13 starts on the season coming into Wednesday, Gibson was averaging just two walks per nine innings, but that was not the case in this particular contest as he gave out a season-high five free passes.

Kicking off the scoring for the Sox was Brock Holt, who came to the plate for the first time in the second inning with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers at first and second and no outs.

On the third pitch he saw from Gibson, a 95 MPH fastball on the bottom half of the strike zone, Holt grounded an RBI single back up the middle to get his team on the board.

Michael Chavis followed that up with an RBI knock of his own to drive in Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts also came through with a run-scoring single to drive in Holt. Just like that, the Red Sox were up 3-1.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Minnesota responded and took a one-run lead of their own, the Boston bats answered with another three-run rally, which was started by JD Martinez drawing a leadoff walk off Gibson.

Two batters later, Bogaerts stayed hot by plating Martinez from second and advancing Devers to third on an RBI line-drive double to left to knot things up at four runs each.

The stalemate would not last long, however, not with Eduardo Nunez pinch-running for Devers at third and Holt scoring him on an RBI sacrifice fly deep enough to center to make it a 5-4 game.

Another run-scoring single from Chavis, the last hitter Gibson faced, allowed Bogaerts to come in from third after that sac fly, and the Red Sox had themselves a brand new two-run advantage they would not have to look back from.

That being the case because in the top half of the eighth, with Harvard alum Scott Poppen on the mound for Minnesota, back-to-back RBI knocks off the bats of Andrew Benintendi and Martinez allowed the Sox to double up the Twins at 8-4.

And finally, still in the eighth, Holt essentially put this one to bed by drawing a four-pitch, bases loaded walk off Poppen to score Martinez from third and give his team the 9-4 led, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers has been ruled day-to-day with right hamstring tightness. He probably won’t play Friday, per Sox manager Alex Cora.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

The Red Sox with runners in scoring position on Wednesday: 7-for-14

Michael Chavis during his nine-game hitting streak: 13-for-41 (.317) with one double, two home runs, and six RBI.

So, the Red Sox went into enemy territory against the team with the best record in the American League and came out with a series win, with the one loss coming in that 17-inning debacle on Tuesday.

Prior to this series, the negativity towards this Red Sox team was based around the idea that they could not beat other competitive clubs. Given what just went down this week, that narrative may be going by the wayside soon enough.

Next up for the Sox, it’s a well-deserved day off on Thursday before a six-game homestand begins back at Fenway Park on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Left-hander Chris Sale is set to get the ball for Boston in the opener of that three-game weekend set, while rookie right-hander Trent Thornton will do the same for Toronto.

Since the start of June, Sale has allowed a total of two earned runs in his last 22 innings of work to go along with 32 punchouts in that same span.

In his career against the Jays, the 31-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.67 ERA over 16 appearances (13 starts) and 91 innings pitched.

Thornton, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive outing in his last time out against the high-octane Houston Astros, as he held the class of the American League West scoreless over 6 2/3 impressive innings while also fanning seven in the process.

Making his first Opening Day roster with Toronto back in March, the 25-year-old has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.

Red Sox’ Rafael Devers Forced to Exit Wednesday’s Game Due to Tightness in Right Hamstring

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was forced to depart from Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins in the top of the fifth inning due to tightness in his right hamstring, per club offiicials.

Devers, 22, came out in the fifth after appearing to strain something in his right knee while running out an infield single to advance JD Martinez to second base.

The young infielder remained at first and managed to move all the way up to third on a Xander Bogaerts double before being replaced by Eduardo Nunez.

Fortunately, just a few moments after heading into the Red Sox’ clubhouse, Devers was seen smiling in the dugout, so things don’t seem to be as dire as originally thought. He has been ruled day-to-day and I’m sure Sox manager Alex Cora will have another update following the conclusion of Wednesday night’s contest.