Dave Dombrowski recently told the Boston Globe that he'll have a better handle on the team's needs by the All-Star break.
Let's hope that's not too late.
Thanks to a significant change in baseball's trade season — there's only one deadline now, and it's a hard one at July 31 — players won't be moved in August waiver deals anymore. That's how the Astros acquired ace Justin Verlander in a salary dump by the Tigers on Aug. 31, 2017, and it's how the Red Sox have augmented their roster in years past with players like Rod Beck, Dante Bichette, and Mark Kotsay, as well as Lou Merloni.
One theory when the change was announced was that it would force teams to act more aggressively in June, which is how the Yankees landed AL home run leader Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners on Saturday, only halfway through the month.
Aggression typically isn't an issue for Dombrowski, who added Steve Pearce last June and Nathan Eovaldi a week before the trade deadline. But with teams not wanting to be shut out at July 31, perhaps the Encarnacion deal will spark a run on talent as contenders assess their needs.
So what do the Red Sox need? We've spent the last month detailing the ways in which the bullpen is one high-leverage arm short, particularly with Heath Hembree on the IL and Matt Barnes showing signs of wear. And that need remains.
But another, more serious hole, has contributed as much as anything else to the team's lackluster start, and it's the hole that Dombrowski acted aggressively to fix last year when everyone thought he needed a reliever — the starting rotation.
Last year's acquisition of Eovaldi proved pivotal, but the narrative at the time was how the Red Sox were short a reliever. Dombrowski, however, looked at potential playoff foes like the Yankees and Astros with their heavily right-handed lineups, and decided another right-handed starter was in order.
One World Series and $68 million contract later, it's fair to say that Eovaldi delivered.