7-26-2010: Tough trip continues, Martinez back today, Lowell and Ellsbury soon

With a split in Seattle, the Red Sox are having yet another tough West Coast trip. Despite getting some incredibly good starting pitching in that series with the Mariners, poor offense and the struggling bullpen contributed to the disappointing finish. With both New York and Tampa winning yesterday, the Sox can not afford much more underperformance. They need to win against teams like Seattle, and they need to at least hold their own against contending teams.

Hopefully the addition of Victor Martinez today helps. Just pray that his thumb holds up to the ardors of catching. Mike Lowell went 4-4 at Triple-A, and looks like he could be back (or traded) soon, and even Jacoby Ellsbury will begin playing rehab games this week. Dustin Pedroia may skip rehab altogether and land back on the club in two weeks. This Red Sox team could get healthy again in a hurry, but is it too little, too late?

Michael Bowden was optioned back to Pawtucket, but I’d expect him back after his 10 days are up. The bullpen is too shaky for us to go without him for too long. We’ll see how many arms we can add by the July 31 deadline.

Speaking of the trading deadline, I expect the Sox to make at least one minor move, and possibly a medium-sized one, but I don’t foresee anything big. The Tigers have recently expressed some minor interest in Lowell, but it looks like they are more in need of an outfielder right now.

The Hardball Times agrees that picking up David Ortiz’s option is not really good economically at this point, but they suggest signing him to a 1-year, $9M contract or a 3-year, $18M one. I’m not sure I like three years, though I’d consider two with a vesting option.

Ryan Lavarnway is making some progress with his catching at Double-A Portland. The hitting is already looking good, but he’s going to have to make some strides if he wants to stay there.


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