By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Red Sox team president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski is in a pickle, and he knows it. The trouble is, every other front office in Major League Baseball knows it as well.
On Wednesday night in Baltimore, the Red Sox version of dumb and dumber – starter Joe Kelly and newly anointed mop-up man Clay Buchholz – combined for 10 hits, 11 runs (10 earned), 7 base on balls, and 2 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Seriously, if anyone ever again on sports radio – or anywhere else, for that matter – uses the words “stuff” or “potential” regarding either of these stiffs, I swear I will hunt you down and make you listen to a continuous loop of Buchholz post-game interviews where he talks about how good he feels, and how well the ball is coming out of his hand, for 24 hours straight.
Thankfully, after the game, Kelly was given a plane ticket to Providence where he can reunite with Allen Craig, his former teammate with the St. Louis Cardinals, who is also riding buses at the Triple A level in Pawtucket, while cashing a Major League check. As masslive.com’s Christopher Smith so eloquently pointed out in a piece that ran earlier today, the swap for Kelly and Craig for John Lackey in the summer of 2014, is fast becoming one of the worst deadline deals ever.
But, I digress.
The dilemma facing Dombrowski is real and getting close to immediate. While several have noted that, due to scheduled days off, the Sox can go two full turns through their rotation before they need a fifth starter. And while that may be a luxury for now, it doesn’t change the fact that a move needs to be made to acquire a starting pitcher, and soon.
As Smith once again called for earlier today, Dombrowski’s got to be on the move when it comes to getting a starter who can stanch the bleeding, and stabilize the starting rotation. The urgency level needs to be high for the franchise’s head honcho, for in this season of Red Sox redemption, the one thing that could derail a storybook summer, is the Sox pitching staff.
In an ideal world, Dombrowski would not only acquire a number two level starter who is not a rental, he would add to the back of the bullpen as well to make up for the loss of Carson Smith. However, while the latter can wait until closer to the deadline, the former needs to be on the forefront of his agenda before the ‘pen is burnt to a crisp.
It is well known that the Sox are stacked with position players making their way through their minor-league system. It is also well known that Dombrowski has never been shy about dealing away prospects in order to get proven players. The question that needs to be asked when it comes to the Sox system, however, is just how well he knows what he has, and how willing he is to part with what could be franchise-altering players?
Any team that is dealing with Dombrowski when it comes to available pitching, will be doing their best to put him over a barrel due to the situation the Sox are in. Sure, he can wait and hope that his offense continues to bash other teams into oblivion, while crossing his fingers that the elephant in the room doesn’t raise its trunk yet again.
No doubt, Dombrowski’s hand has been pressed by the dumb and dumber duo’s performance this season. The smartest move he can make now is to deal for an arm that puts an end to their time in a Red Sox uniform.