As the second half of the season kicks off, the trade deadline inches closer and closer. Some teams are buyers, some are sellers, and some just stay put.
With the recent news that Andrew Bailey will be lost for the season, the Boston Red Sox now carry a sense of urgency towards July 31st to replenish their bullpen. Fixing the problem internally is still a viable option, but based on rumors and speculation, i’ve comprised a short list of players that the Sox’ may target moving forward…
Injury warning: Crain hasn’t pitched since June 29th with right elbow tendinitis according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.
With that being said, multiple sources have linked Crain in a possible trade to Boston. The Sox’ have a huge hole in the bullpen at the moment and an All-Star reliever like Crain would provide some much needed relief. Having already acquired Thornton from the White Sox, it’s completely plausible that Boston could dip back into the same pool for more help. Chicago will be sellers at the deadline, this much we know for sure, but the question is if they will indeed be willing to part ways with the 32-year-old veteran. Crain’s numbers in 38 appearances are fantastic: He’s only allowed 3 earned runs in 36 2/3 innings, good for a 0.74 ERA, and opponents are hitting just .188 with runners on base against him. If the price isn’t too steep, which I don’t imagine it would be, I think Crain would be a guy who could really solidify Boston’s bullpen.
Cliff Lee/Matt Garza
I’m not saying the Sox’ have to choose between getting starters or relievers, but they’d have to give up a lot more to acquire either one of these names. With Clay Buchholz frustrating Sox’ fans across the nation with his whole “I’m ok, wait… i’m not ok,” dilemma, going after a starter would be wise on Boston’s part.
Two names on their radar are Cliff Lee and Matt Garza, the former who has been a target of the Red Sox for some time now. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that the Sox are definitely still interested in Garza and for good reason, Garza’s posted a 3.17 ERA for the Cubs this season and has a familiarity with the AL East having pitched in Tampa Bay. The problem with acquiring Garza is that Theo is going to attempt to pry a coveted prospect from us. The question Ben Cherington has to answer is if giving up someone like Garin Cecchini, who is number 20 on Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects, is the right move.
Cliff Lee on the other hand, is a bit of a different scenario. With the Cubs, they are obviously building for the future and trying to garner as many prospects as possible, while the Phillies are still trying to figure out if they can contend or not this season. Lee has proven that he hasn’t lost a step at his age (34) by putting up a 10-4 record with a 3.05 ERA. Like Garza, it will cost the Red Sox a coveted prospect to get him, but the reassurance of a guy the caliber of Lee is ever so important.
Over the last few days, recent reports are stating that the Red Sox are currently scouting Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, known to the common man as, K-Rod. You all might remember K-Rod from his dominating years in an Angel’s uniform where he tallied 208 saves, including 62 in 2008. He’s a different pitcher now, but the guy has still got it. In 24 2/3 innings this year, Rodriguez has a 1.09 ERA, 10 saves, and a WHIP of 1.05. He doesn’t necessarily have to be the closer, it’s just a matter of collecting as many good arms as possible and figuring out how to use them afterwards because there’s no need to remove Uehara from his role as the closer with the job he’s done. I am a little weary of going after ANOTHER closer, considering the raging success of the other two (Bailey and Hanrahan), maybe the Sox should actually have someone take a physical before joining us.
Now, it’s all very possible that Boston will be extremely active and go after a number of other guys, but the players mentioned above seem to be the frontrunners. These next 10 days will tell us a lot about who they will go after. We’ve already seen guys like Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, and Pedro Beato get opportunities to show what they’ve got because it appears Farrell and the front office are eager to see what they have internally before making any big moves.