Sure, the non-waiver trade deadline is just about two months away. That doesn't mean the Boston Red Sox are not kicking the tires on some starting pitchers.
Their competition is, that's for sure.
The American League East division is a rat race right now. Only three games separate the first place Tampa Bay Rays and fifth place Boston Red Sox. Every team has their own respective strengths. (Interestingly enough, all are different.)
That said, the one thing that gets a team into October is pitching. Pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching and more pitching.
I can't stress that enough.
With that in mind, the Red Sox are obviously floundering in that department at the moment. True, generally speaking the starters have settled down and are stringing together some solid starts; however, adding quality arms should be a priority.
Here's a look at five realistic pitching options you can be sure the Red Sox are keeping alive.
The Houston Astros are obviously not going anywhere in 2012. They are currently 23-31 and host one of the worst records in all of Major League Baseball.
Wandy Rodriguez is one of the few bright spots on their roster.
The southpaw has proven himself as a solid starting pitcher, having posted and ERA of 3.60 or better for the past five seasons after starting his career averaging over 5.00 in his first three seasons.
In 12 games this season, Rodriguez is 4-4, at somewhat minimal fault of his own. It's hard to rack up wins with little offensive support.
While he has only ever pitched for the Astros and his inter-league numbers are less than impressive, Rodriguez will be a coveted arm at the trade deadline this season and could help the Red Sox as a third starter.
Personally, I wanted the Red Sox to sign Maholm this past winter.
Obviously another left-handed hurler is always a good thing. More than that though, Maholm is a solid and consistent pitcher.
When in Pittsburgh, you knew he would offer eight or nine wins with around a 4.30 ERA. Those may not seem like mind boggling numbers, keep in mind though—it was Pittsburgh.
Maholm offers a deceptive delivery. His fastball won't scare too many batters, as it hovers around 88 mph, he does host a plus changeup that lives around 82 mph—an above-average slider at 81 mph and a slow curve-ball at 72 mph.
That's certainly a change from the hard-throwing Daniel Bard, for example.
The New York Yankees have been mentioned in rumors circulating regarding Garza, therefore the Red Sox will be tied to him.
Sure, they have familiar ties in Chicago in team President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and yes, they've already done business this year. The Cubs and Red Sox could sit down and try to work out a deal for Garza.
Lord knows Epstein and Hoyer have Red Sox prospects in mind that they'd like to bring to the windy city.
The Sox in turn could keep Garza out of New York and solidify their rotation with what may be the most sought after arm at the trade deadline.
Brandon McCarthy is putting together a very solid season for himself in Oakland.
He currently owns a 4-3 record with a 2.95 ERA in 10 games. Red Sox starters wished they owned ERAs under 3.00.
The A's are always sellers. Always. Even if they were leading the division, general manager Billy Beane just can't seem to fight the temptation to trade and bring in prospects to develop. With that in mind, McCarthy will likely gain interest from teams that lose out in the Garza sweepstakes.
Again, McCarthy is the type of pitcher to slide in at the three or four spot in the rotation, but he can show top of the rotation-type stuff from time to time.
Somehow after 15 seasons, Bartolo Colon is still viable.
A few years back, it looked as though he may have been all done. Then, having spent time with the Boston Red Sox in 2008 and providing a 4-2 record in seven games with a 3.92 ERA, he proved he still had something in the tank.
The White Sox utilized him in 2009, the Yankees in 2011 and now the A's are getting some quality starts from him.
While the Red Sox may not be big players on Colon, they will certainly look at him—probably before some other options because of his minimal cost compared to Garza or Rodriguez.