Major League Baseball's trade deadline is less than a month away, and the Boston Red Sox don't figure to stand pat with what they have.
Rumblings from the Red Sox camp point toward available outfielders at this point, but Cody Ross isn't one of them. Ross would be a valuable addition to a contending team seeking a veteran right-handed bat, but the Boston brass is wise to hold onto him for a playoff run of their own.
Instead, Danny Knobler of CBSsports.com hints toward other outfielders being placed on the block.
Teams asking the Red Sox about their plans are being told that they intend to keep Ross, in an outfield that would eventually include Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ryan Sweeney and, possibly, Daniel Nava are expected to be made available for trade, instead.
In my opinion, Sweeney is a no-brainer. He is, and always will be, a fourth outfielder on a good team. That isn't a bad thing, but he's easily expendable on a Red Sox team with other pressing needs.
Nava is a bit more cloudy. He's enjoying a solid season at the plate, and his switch-hitting style gives the Boston lineup some flexibility. He's 29 years old, and he's already a better fourth outfielder than Sweeney is. In 154 at bats, he's hitting .286 with 26 RBI and three home runs.
That brings us to Ross.
Teams are always in the hunt for affordable veterans with playoff experience, and Ross' 2010 NLCS MVP speaks volumes about his playoff value.
Instead of shopping his astute postseason play to other squads, the Red Sox would be wise to use it for their own run. Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury's health is far from a sure thing at this point, and it wouldn't hurt to have another capable bat around. Ross is hitting .275 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI this season.
Who is more expendable?
That makes Nava more expendable. He may have more upside than Ross, but their numbers are very similar. The only major difference is Ross' 12 home runs.
He could fetch more than either player on the open market.
In the event of a push always take experience. Ross has experience in the regular season, and he's a proven playoff performer. Nava may seem more attractive to Boston fans at this point, but players of his caliber are a dime-a-dozen.
Boston needs another arm for their starting rotation. Neither player is going to fetch a top-end starter, but Ross' savvy is far less expendable at this point.