With the Red Sox starters’ ERA sitting at 6.03, the time may be getting closer for the team to make a move and acquire a solid starter.
And with Cole Hamels checking in with a 0.69 ERA over the last seven days, it may be a perfect time for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to move his prized left-hander.
According to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News, former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, now in the team’s front office, is heading to Salem, Virginia this week to scout the Red Sox High-A affiliate in the Carolina league where 20-year-old five-tool outfielder Manuel Margot has been crushing the ball this season.
Margot is currently batting .323/.361/.523, going 21-for-65 in 17 games this season. In 2014, Margot hit .293/.356/.462 with 12 homers and 42 stolen bases in the minors. Salem manager Carlos Febles recently compared Margot to Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran.
While the Phillies have reportedly been asking for center fielder Mookie Betts or catching prospect Blake Swihart, the Red Sox have indicated that both young players are off limits.
According to the Daily News report: “A package built around Margot and one of the Red Sox’ three highly touted pitching prospects (Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson) might not pay the immediate dividends Amaro yearns for, but it would represent fair value and a significant boost to the Phillies’ chances of putting a competent team on the field before the end of the decade.”
But the Red Sox are not alone in their need for starting pitching. The Cardinals have lost ace Adam Wainwright for the year due to an Achilles injury. The Dodgers Brandon McCarthy is out for the year with a torn UCL. Yu Darvish (Tommy John surgery) is out for the season for the Rangers. And the Yankees Masahiro Tanaka could need Tommy John surgery at some point.
Despite the growing number of teams in need of starting pitching due to injury, there are “strong indications” that the Phillies consider the Red Sox the best fit for a trading partner according the Daily News report.
“We’re waiting with open arms,” one Phillies official told The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
But the Red Sox’ interest may not be as strong as you would think with the weak pitching numbers the starters have put up in the first month of the season as the club hopes to see improvement from the staff as it currently stands.
“We acknowledge the performance of the pitching staff and we know it needs to improve. We still believe it will simply by our pitchers pitching to their capability,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told the Globe’s Alex Speier in an email. “We don’t need them to do more than that. We believe if we pitch to our capability we will win games. We’re focused on helping the guys that are here now pitch to their capability.”
Hamels is currently 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA this season. In his last start on Monday, Hamels struck out nine Cardinals in seven innings as Philadelphia beat St. Louis 4-1.