Peter Gammons of MLB.com joined Felger and Massarotti Wednesday afternoon to talk some Boston Red Sox, including Daniel Bard’s demotion to Pawtucket and Kevin Youkilis’ trade value.
Bard was sent down to Triple-A on Tuesday after allowing five runs on one hit and six walks Sunday in Toronto.
“I think they’ve done the best thing for him,” Gammons said of the demotion to Pawtucket. “He has to go find himself and throw strikes. I know it’s difficult to go back to the minor leagues, but his future is much better served by going back to the minors and pitching a lot and pitching so nobody is saying ‘if you blow this game, the end is coming.’”
“Daniel puts so much pressure on himself to begin with that being up here, I think he is so respected with the team, but it doesn’t do any good if he can’t be used in a game,” he said. “I think this is what he has to do and just go out and reestablish what he had.”
“I think he’s going to end up coming back as a reliever, if he doesn’t get traded,” said Gammons, noting there are teams monitoring his situation. “I think a lot of teams would take him in a heartbeat. They are going to make runs at him.”
Would the Red Sox trade the 26-year-old arm that was once considered to be the closer of the future?
“Not for a while. The worst they could do is have him come back and be an effective 6th, 7th, 8th inning guy in front of Bailey and Aceves,” said Gammons. “I think for him mentally, the best thing is to just go out and drive it to the plate. He is so intelligent and he thinks things out… I’m not sure that’s really a great thing. I think it’s good to be like Jonathan Papelbon and basically never have an outside thought cross his head.”
Also on the trade front is third baseman Kevin Youkilis. There are plenty of teams interested, but is Ben Cherington ready to part with Youk?
“I talked to a general manager today who was interesting in Youk. He talked to (the Red Sox) about three weeks ago when Youk was out on the rehab assignment; they went an watched him. But he has never really gotten anywhere (with a potential deal),” said Gammons. “What (Boston) would like is a reliable starting pitcher, but I don’t see that happening. I don’t see the White Sox giving up Danks, because they have a really good chance to win. The Dodgers, it would have to be prospects. The only way they’d trade him for prospects is if they can make another deal, and use the money to go pick up another contract.”
“But right now, this GM told me Ben Cherington is not inclined to traded him until he knows what he has,” said Gammons. “There is an eerie silence about Ellsbury and Crawford, so they really don’t know when they’re coming back. And is Middlebrooks, who is in the big leagues a year earlier than he’s supposed to be, is he going to continue his plate discipline and hit the rest of the year? There are still a lot of questions.”
“I know this general manager has left it open… but Ben is trying to make up his mind as to what they’re going to do because there are so many uncertainties on this team,” added Gammons. “They have 12 players on the DL. They’re not alone; the Yankees have 10, Tampa nine and Baltimore eight. But they really don’t know what they have; usually you do know by June 1, but I don’t think they’ll know until right around the All-Star break.”