BOSTON -- As the Tampa Bay Rays returned to Fenway Park on Monday for a makeup game with the Red Sox, trade talk continued to swirl around both teams. Boston remains tied to any number of pitchers, and the Rays landed Chicago White Sox reliever Jesse Crain before the first pitch.
The rumor mill will spin with greater intensity in the coming days, offering up a consistent talking point in and around the park. In the hours before Monday’s game, several Red Sox players were seen staring at an MLB Network report that their own team was engaged in talks with the Philadelphia Phillies about Cliff Lee and Michael Young.
However, a major league source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes that the Sox had not yet called the Phillies regarding Lee's availability and ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Sox are no longer in on Young.
While the off-the-field action always has the chance to be a distraction, the Red Sox will not let their performance on the field this week dictate their maneuvering.
“I don’t think the outcome of the next two days will have a huge swing on maybe the conversations that have already happened to date or maybe the interest in certain players that have been discussed,” manager John Farrell said.
What is the level of urgency?
“The one thing in the conversations with [general manager Ben Cherington] and others, it’s very clear that we’re not going to rush to do anything or at the same time have a certain event, whether that’s a deadline or the final score of tonight’s game, change the thoroughness of the approach,” Farrell said.
Boston sits in a good position, owning the most wins in the American League and a bevy of quality prospects that will keep Cherington’s phone busy. Those in the clubhouse have a good chance of remaining in place, but those on the farm are more up in the air. However, there have been indications that the club is not eager to part with the likes of a top prospect such as Xander Bogaerts.
“I think we’re all pretty much in step in how important young players are for us, not only today but going forward,” Farrell said. “I think there’s a lot of confidence in those who are going through those discussions to consummate a deal.”
* One young player who has contributed plenty in his short time with the Sox is starter Brandon Workman, who is slated to start the opener of the series against Seattle on Tuesday. Workman will have had seven days off between starts, but the awkward schedule is not a concern.
“We feel like he’s got good strike-throwing ability and we’re confident that he will come out prepared tomorrow,” Farrell said.
Workman made his debut out of the bullpen at Seattle on July 10, then made his first start just four days later. His next appearance after that, due to the All-Star break, was July 22. It has been anything but a regular routine for the right-hander, who has required plenty of work in between starts to stay sharp.