The Twins are in Boston for yet another four-game series at Fenway Park (ok — SERIOUSLY — why are there so many of these year after year!?!?), so I asked Jake Kostik, who writes for SB Nation’s Red Sox site, Over the Monster, a few questions about the Red Sox’s season.
Q: Why are the Red Sox so good?
A: In my opinion, the Red Sox are good, because they do everything well, and have few real weaknesses. We have one of the top 5 offenses and rotations in baseball, and are on the edge of also having a top 5 bullpen. We might not be the “best” team in baseball (I think that’s the Astros, who are top 3 in all of those things), but we’re definitely in the mix, and will have a chance to prove it in the playoffs if things hold.
Q: Which other MLB team do you think can most likely give the Red Sox a run for their money? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it’s not the Twins.
A: The Astros are the best team in baseball, in my opinion, even after the Dodgers made their splash for Manny Machado. I don’t really think the Astros are likely to be beat, barring a collapse, and I truly believe, as of this second, if the Sox (and Yankees for that matter) don’t improve drastically, it’s going to take a lot of luck to beat what I believe is an insanely talented team.
Q: Which Red Sox player do you feel is being really underappreciated this season?
A: Matt Barnes, as always. With Joe Kelly being miserable, recently, though, this may be changing, finally. His main flaw is that he walks the park, but he does just about everything else really well, and has emerged as the Red Sox best set-up option/fireman. In high-leverage situations, he rarely lets the ball in play. Either he’ll walk a guy (not great), or he’ll strike them out. 33 of the 53 batters he’s faced in high-leverage innings (at the time of me writing this) have had that result, a walk or a strikeout. Most of those are strikeouts (26). He’s incredibly fun to watch, and with Carson Smith down, Tyler Thornburg still on the mend, Joe Kelly lost in outer space, and the rest of the bullpen being boring but useful, Barnes is easily the player I think goes the least appreciated.
Q: Who is your favorite current Red Sox player?
A: My favorite current player is J.D. Martinez. They don’t call him Just Dingers for no reason.
Q: The Red Sox just acquired pitcher Nathan Eovaldi from the Rays. Do you think they’ll make anymore moves before the deadline? What else does the team need?
A: I think we may make a minor move or two, but don’t think we’ll be doing much else. I don’t know if this is the right call, but in Dave Dombrowski I trust. If a big move is the way, I trust he’ll get us the right guy. If a small move is the way, I trust just the same. I think we need a better second baseman (you can argue Brock Holt serves fine in this capacity, but I’d rather get another second baseman, to force Eduardo Nunez - who is awful - off the roster and put Holt back in the super utility role he’s most valuable in) and perhaps a little extra help in the pen.
Q: Also, do you think the Red Sox should make more moves?
A: I think we should make at least one more move, but I’m torn over whether to chase a second baseman or a reliever. Really depends what’s out there. The market for rental relievers has been great for buyers, so I’m inclined to say it’s possible to go after both, but I’m not sure how much a second baseman (even a rental) would cost right now, and I’m almost afraid to ask.
Q: Do you want Lance Lynn (crossing fingers)?
A: That’s a no from me. Even before Eovaldi, Lynn wasn’t on my radar. Please trade him to the Yankees.
Q: Does Eduardo Nunez’s helmet still fall off constantly? It felt like the Red Sox almost fixed that last year, and I am wondering how.
A: I honestly can’t say I’m paying attention to that, mainly because Nunez is probably my least favorite player on the team right now.
[Editor’s Note: If you haven’t noticed this, it’s either staying on his head or you aren’t watching. And ye, please, we will take back another Ed. Thank you.]
Q: What’s the secret to being better than the Yankees? We’re dying to know over here.
A: The secret is the Yankees having a meh rotation. So don’t give them any good starters, please. Their bullpen is terrifying, and their offense is potent, so you have to score early, and get the Yankees to have to fight back. From there, it’s about having a good bullpen, to keep the lead, because the Yankees offense isn’t going to take that laying down.
[Editor’s Note: Well, crap.]
Q: Does anything about the 2018 Twins scare you coming in to this weekend’s match-up? (You can be brutally honest here.)
A: I might be wrong, but I think the Sox get Berrios this series. Berrios scares me a lot, because when I’ve seen him through mlb.tv, he always seems to be on the verge of figuring something new out. I guess he’s cooled, because a month ago, I was thinking he was in the Cy Young discussion. He had a 3.15 ERA prior to the June stinker where he gave up 6 runs to the Cubs. Since then though, Sale, Bauer, and Verlander have all put some distance from him, so he’s out of that discussion. He’s still a terrifying pitcher, in my mind though, and the type of guy I hope either never leaves Minnesota, or at least comes to Boston as a free agent. I also fear Brian Dozier hitting so well in front of Dave Dombrowski that he makes a last second overpay offer to steal him from the Brewers. I would like Dozier, but I figure that ship has sailed.
[Editor’s Note: Brian Dozier actually kind of rules, especially in the second half. JUST SAYING.]
Q: Is there a question you think I should have asked, but did not? If so, what is that question and can you answer it?
A: “Could we possibly steal Rafael Devers from you on the cheap in exchange for some of our win-now pieces?”
This is a no, but it’s popped up a lot in random discussions (on OTM, that is) over the past month. Just fan speculation, but you know how fans are: when talking about Jacob deGroms and the like, with our farm system... you are talking about having to include young MLB pieces, not just prospects. The Twins have a lot of trade chips I like. Dozier, Escobar, Odorizzi (less so, after the Eovaldi deal, obviously), and Pressly being the ones that jumped out to me. I do not think, even in a dream scenario where we get Dozier and Pressly that you are even close to talking about Devers. I’m not sure if the Red Sox would be willing to talk about Jason Groome (who is injured anyways) or Michael Chavis, but I think I personally would. We’re here to win, and those players would represent an improvement to our roster.