MLB Trade Deadline: Why the Red Sox Should Be Buyers
The Boston Red Sox have spent most of the 2012 season at or near the bottom of the AL East. However, they have remained within striking distance of their rival New York Yankees, who currently sit at the top of the division.
That alone is a big enough reason why the Red Sox should be buyers come July 31. At 41-37 entering today's series finale in Seattle, Bobby Valentine's squad sits just one game shy of the wild-card spot and seven games shy of the division lead (after the Yankees win earlier today).
The team still has 13 games against those very Yankees, and with the upcoming returns of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Andrew Bailey, Red Sox nation should keep the faith.
Lately, the club has been playing their best ball of the season, and they should continue to improve with the aforementioned return of some key contributors.
They Will Get Healthy
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A number of players are expected to make their return to the Red Sox in the very near future.
Let's put it this way: The Sox haven't had their team MVP since April 13 of last season. The $140 million left fielder? He hasn't played a game.
Neither has Andrew Bailey, the all-star closer that Boston dealt for in the offseason. Despite all that, Bobby Valentine has kept the club afloat, sitting at four games over .500 thus far.
Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury have recently begun rehab assignments with Bailey not far behind. This team will only improve once those guys return to the everyday lineup and will be in the thick of the playoff race.
C'mon, what kind of baseball season would it be without a wild playoff chase going on in the AL East?
The Pitching Will Continue to Get Better
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Following a disastrous April, the Red Sox pitching staff has gradually improved from month to month and posted their lowest ERA yet in June.
This improvement has come despite the maddening inconsistency of Jon Lester and Dice-K Matsuzaka and injuries to Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.
Felix Doubront has been the lone rock for the rotation thus far, and contributions from some unsung heroes have kept this team in the race.
Seriously, raise your hand if you had Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales holding down key spots in the rotation back in spring training.
Moving on to the bullpen: After a couple of historically bad performances during the opening month of the season, they have been surprisingly solid ever since.
With Buchholz due to return after the All-Star break along with Bailey and the probability that Lester and Beckett will eventually turn things around, Boston should be buyers at the deadline.
With all that being said, adding a piece like Matt Garza or Zack Greinke certainly wouldn't hurt. The Red Sox office has never been afraid to pull the trigger on deadline-day deals before. Expect more of the same in 2012.
It's Baseball: Anything Can Happen
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Selecting the picture on this slide absolutely killed me. I still have nightmares from the fateful night of September 28, 2011, when I watched the season unravel in front of my very eyes.
Okay, enough depression for one article.
2011 showed how little a lead in the division or the wild-card chase can mean sometimes.
Roughly 20 of the 30 teams are within reasonable striking distance of a playoff spot.
While the Red Sox got off to a slow start, they should approach the trade deadline with the belief that they'll be in the playoffs come October.