The running assumption shared by fans and media members alike is the fact that the Boston Red Sox will be trading Kevin Youkilis in fairly short order.
It is a solid assumption considering his contract status, age, and the production of his replacement, Will Middlebrooks.
While Youkilis has been proving his worth through solid play over the past several days, the Red Sox have been forced to look at a few different needs than they assumed would exist at this point in the season.
The outfield is a mess. The pitching staff is in need of help, and the bullpen will likely need some relief in short order if the starting staff cannot maintain pitching six or more innings per outing.
That said, here are five players that the Boston Red Sox should have on their radar as the trade deadline grows closer.
Obviously this is a dream scenario for the Red Sox.
It is no secret that the talks between Hamels and the Phillies regarding a contract extension have come to somewhat of a halt. With the Phillies struggling out of the gate, it is not that far-fetched to see them deal Hamels for some young depth.
That said, Youkilis would likely not be the piece the Phillies are interested in. The team would be seeking youth, something they're missing since acquiring Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence.
That said, the Red Sox could offer some young, solid prospects in exchange for Hamels and pick up the tab on his contract for this year and extend him.
Once again, it could be just a pipe dream.
I'm not sure that Daniel Bard is fully comfortable in the starting rotation.
That being said, a player like Ryan Dempster would make for a fine acquisition for the Red Sox. Sure, he's 35 years old, however, he is off to a phenomenal start for the Chicago Cubs, a team that is going nowhere in 2012.
Dempster is only signed through this season and may be available for a few select prospects. Keep in mind, Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have some intimate details on the Sox minor league system and are well aware of the players that could make this type of deal happen.
For the most part, the name Matt Garza has fallen silent among Red Sox Nation.
Since the season began, it feels as though fans have forgotten all about the 28-year-old righty. That said, the man is having a career year for himself.
Through the first eight games he owns a 2-2 record with a 3.72 ERA and a career best 1.117 WHIP. While his 8.0 K/9 ratio is not the best he's ever posted, it is significant. In fact, it's better than all of the Red Sox starting pitchers other than Felix Doubront.
It seems appropriate to have Mark Trumbo in the lineup for the Angels right now. After all, Vernon Wells is on the shelf, so let's give the kid a chance, right?
That said, the Angels have obviously prioritized Mike Trout over Trumbo.
One team's loss is another team's gain. If the Angels with to pursue Trout, Trumbo may prove to be expendable in relatively short order.
Should that be the case, the Red Sox need to jump all over the opportunity to scoop up a stud outfielder from the Angels' trash heap, so to speak.
Coco Crisp is no stranger to the expectations in Boston. He is no stranger to how things operate in the Bub. That should be enough cred for him, in and of itself.
That being said, Crisp would merely be an reinsurance policy.