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Ask Nick: Will Red Sox trade for an ace?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 2, 2012 11:54 AM

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Why don't umpires enforce the rules in the rule book? Why don't the players button their shirts all the way? Aren't they are out of uniform?
Sandra, Sharon, Vt.
I think the uniform rules are enforced by the league office. They do have uniform police and players do get fined for uniform violations, but we never hear about them unless a player reveals it.

The Phillies should be monitored for a possible trade for Cole Hamels. Kalish and Doubront would be better than draft picks if Hamels does not re-sign.
Bill, Bronx, NY
Don't think the Red Sox would do that. They have high hopes for both players and they'll stick with them. Don't think they want to get involved in another big money contract with a pitcher unless that pitcher is King Felix.

Would you agree that the only difference between this year's team and those of the last few years is the fans? People complain about the Red Sox way too much, but they play as hard as any other team and have the most exciting offense in baseball. Yet the crowd seems way less enthusiastic on a day to day basis.
Stephen, Niceville, Fla.
Yes, I have noticed that. And I agree with you that it's the hardest working team I've seen here in quite some time. They hustle more than any team I can remember and I think that's because of the Valentine influence. He emphasizes that. Not sure why there's not more enthusiasm. That's why I proposed a King Felix deal, because he would be like Roger and Pedro and create an electric atmosphere every time he pitched.

I think someone has to tell Salty to wear a helmet backward and throw his mask like everyone else. I have counted five times this year where Salty does not catch a throw to the plate. The Mariner loss last night was inexcusable. How does he not come up with that ball? He didn't view it. He is obstructing his view with his mask on all the time.
John, Cedar Lake, Ind.
They supposedly have the greatest catcher instructor who ever lived in Gary Tuck, but there are areas of his game defensively that he needs improving on. Yet, I think he's made great strides and should have made the All-Star team. He's come around offensively to the point where he's a force at the plate and he does a nice job handling the pitching staff. I think we can put up with a couple of things here and there.

I've noticed that we don't see or hear from Ben Cherington nearly as much as we did Theo Epstein. Everything seems to be filtered through Bobby V. Is that Ben's style, is he avoiding the hard stuff, or is he simply maturing into the role?
Jeff, Mechanicsville, Va.
I can only respond from the manner in which they both dealt with me. In that respect, they are very similar. They respond to inquiries quickly and they are as forthright as they possibly can be in their responses. I enjoyed dealing with Theo and enjoy Ben very much. I think both of them have a great grasp of media needs and they do everything they can to accommodate us. Bobby V has a media conference every day before the game and after the game because he's the manager, so he's going to be more out front, as was Terry Francona.

When will Will Middlebrooks get a new number and what will it be? And when our outfielders are healthy, who's the next trade target and what Sox are on the table?
Pam, Sacramento, Calif.
Don't know what Middlebrooks wants for a number. I'm sure at some point, either soon, or next season, he'll get a new number, but sometimes these guys like to keep the number they have. As for trade targets, I'm guessing Scott Podsednik could be dealt. There's interest in him already, so when he comes off the DL, he could be moved. Valentine loves him and I think he's a terrific guy to keep, but he may be redundant with Crawford and Ellsbury there. Valentine would like to keep Nava around as the fourth outfielder. Ryan Sweeney could also be trade bait.

The Youkilis trade was the poorest I've ever seen. They got nothing in return and it still cost them $5.5 million. Was that the best they could do? What an insult to a man who has given us so many good years. Some GM we have!
Len, Wallingford, Conn.
I think Cherington got what he could. I doubt he tried to make the worst deal he could. As I wrote in my Sunday Baseball Notes, I was just surprised that more teams didn't step up. He's a proven veteran player. He's on the downside, but he can still help someone. I think he would be a better fit for the Dodgers than Carlos Lee, who hasn't played competitive baseball for some time.

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