Craig Breslow offers update on Red Sox’ trade-deadline approach

Red Sox

“Are we at the end of a window, or just the beginning of a window, that can dictate how you tend to behave.”

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow watch live batting practice. Boston Red Sox Spring Training.
Craig Breslow is still assessing his options ahead of MLB’s trade deadline. (Photo by: Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

The 2024 Red Sox have exceeded plenty of expectations already this season. 

Entering Tuesday evening, Boston boasts a record of 49-40 — and sits 1 1/2 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals for the third and final wild-card spot in the American League.

The Red Sox have only lost three fewer games than the Yankees, who are in second place in the AL East — and who led Boston by 14 games just three weeks ago.

Anchored by three All-Star selection in Rafael Devers, Jarren Duran, and Tanner Houck, the Red Sox have emerged as one of the more exciting teams in baseball. A varied supporting cast and aggressive approach on the basepaths is creating a winning product on the diamond for Alex Cora and his staff.

Boston should receive additional reinforcements in the coming weeks with the expected return of players like Triston Casas. But Craig Breslow and Boston’s top brass could also reward this roster by adding a big piece or two before MLB’s July 30 trade deadline. 

But after Boston stood relatively pat during the winter despite promises of a “full-throttle” approach, will Breslow and the Red Sox’ top decision-makers make an abrupt about-face and add to a roster that might be ahead of their projected contention timeline?

Even with Boston winning 16 of its last 22 games, ESPN’s Buster Olney noted on Sunday Night Baseball that the Red Sox’ management group is still “undecided” about what path to chart at the deadline. 

And speaking on MassLive’s Fenway Rundown podcast on Tuesday, Breslow seemed to echo that sentiment in terms of Boston’s murky approach moving forward. 

“The value, the importance, the significance of playing meaningful games through the season, of winning on the field, and of a successful season is not lost on me,” Breslow told MassLive’s Chris Cotillo and Sean McAdam. “I can remember quite vividly what it was like to be in a clubhouse approaching the deadline and feeling like your team is one that merits further investment. 

“My job is different than the job than the job Alex (Cora) has or the job that the players have, whereas they can be almost singularly focused on doing everything that they need to do to prepare to win that night’s game. I have to think about how we can best be positioned to win tonight’s game and tomorrow’s game and next year’s game. Trying to balance all of those things is difficult at times.

“The lane that we pick is going to be dictated by a host of considerations and none more meaningful than what is happening on the field. So I’m still adamant and committed to picking a lane. We’re going to get more and more information over the next couple of weeks. But the one thing that we can do that helps steer that direction is to win as many games as possible on the field.”

Currently, FanGraphs has Boston tabbed with a 47.8 percent chance of making the postseason this season.

While Breslow and his staff could argue in favor of waiting for Boston’s next wave of young talent in Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony, and Kyle Teel to arrive, not adding at least a rental to help this current roster could discourage a clubhouse that has done everything asked of them so far this summer.

Breslow, who noted to McAdam and Cotillo that Boston could use another starting pitcher and/or a right-handed bat if the team does buy, stressed that the franchise isn’t tabbing a playoff run in 2024 as the be-all and end-all result dictating the team’s plans before July 30. 

“A lot has been made of playoff probabilities being the end-all of decision-making criteria. I don’t think that’s fair, I think it’s a good anchor,” Breslow said. “Your probability is in a single moment of time, a snapshot, it doesn’t include a trend of where you’re coming from and where you may be going. We have to try to predict the team we’re going to be post-deadline, and you don’t get that picture entirely from playoff odds. … Where we are in the overall development of our team and what we have coming, opportunities to supplement the existing group may exist internally. 

“Are we at the end of a window, or just the beginning of a window, that can dictate how you tend to behave. All of those things go into this decision. The last piece that is often overlooked is the opportunities, until you have the talks, you don’t know what opportunities are available to upgrade your team, or opportunities to get something that you simply can’t walk past.” 

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