Ben Cherington will be facing his first MLB trade deadline as Red Sox GM.
Until the July 31, 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline passes, the Boston Red Sox will be in talks to acquire some new pieces. Boston may be in the AL East basement, but GM Ben Cherington and the rest of the front office should steer clear of an overhaul.
Sometimes, it's the little moves that make the most sense. Case in point: The 2004 deadline trade that sent Henri Stanley to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Dave Roberts. Roberts' stolen base against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS shifted the momentum of the series.
The Roberts trade was no blockbuster, but the deal helped pave the way for a Boston World Series victory.
If the stagnant Red Sox strike a trade, the sacrifice better be worth the reward. It's too soon to become sellers.
Here are five moves Boston should elude.
Crawford's name has come up in trade rumors.
By all means Cherington should be talking about everyone on his roster because one never knows exactly what each of the 29 other teams is looking for. Trading Crawford would of course be classified as a bold move, but at this stage in the season, gauging where the Red Sox are in the standings and in the trainer’s room, it would also be an unwise move.
Regardless of whoever teams are offering, pumping the brakes on any speculated Crawford deal is a smart decision. The Red Sox don't really know what the future holds for their starting left fielder and per ESPNBoston.com, it's an unlikely swap.
Through six games this season, Crawford has hit .318 with one RBI and three stolen bases. It's too soon to tell if he's moved on from 2011, where a dismal .255 average with 11 home runs, 56 RBI and 18 stolen bases left many disappointed.
Patience will be key moving forward, as the Crawford investment needs time to unfold. A quick trigger finger here may lead to a world of regret.
Matt Garza is reportedly on Boston's radar.
Garza would certainly add to the Red Sox pitching rotation, but would Boston have to give up too much to get him?
Garza is 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA for the Cubs—is his talent worth setting the organization's minor league system back?
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reports via Twitter that the Sox brass aren't entirely seeing eye to eye on luring Garza:
Source: Red Sox lagging behind a few teams in matt garza hunt. Not all sox personnel feel garza would be an upgrade over what they have.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 20, 2012
Boston could use another dependable arm to rejuvenate the starting staff, but Garza is only the answer if the price is right.
Cody Ross is getting a lot of trade attention.
Cody Ross has been an unsung hero for the Red Sox this season. Through 65 games, the 31-year-old right fielder has hit .269 with 16 long bombs and 54 RBI. Since July 18, he's gone yard three times and accumulated nine RBI.
In clutch situations, Ross has some extra pop in his bat. As a result, other teams are interested in his services, according to a tweet from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo:
Major League source: A lot of interest in Cody Ross but Red Sox not interested in moving him unless there was a ton coming back.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 20, 2012
When it comes to the 2010 NLCS Most Valuable Player, the Sox shouldn't entertain any offers. Since signing a one-year, $3 million deal in the offseason, Ross has proven to be an absolute steal. If anything, Boston should find a way to extend his contract.
Nava may no longer have a spot in the Sox outfield.
Daniel Nava has been an unlikely contributor for the Red Sox this season.
The 29-year-old stepped into left field in the absence of Carl Crawford and consistently found a way to get on base. For a guy who was once cut from his college baseball team, Nava has turned a lot of heads at the highest level of competition.
That said, he no longer has a starting gig in the outfield for Boston. He's behind Crawford in left, and is not about to threaten the job security of Jacoby Ellsbury or Cody Ross at the other two spots.
Having gone cold of late, Nava's average is down to .246 and he's gotten just one hit in his last 10 games. However, he's better off staying in Boston and weathering the storm than being shipped out for inferior talent.
He's currently a fourth or fifth outfielder, but that's really all the Red Sox need him to be at this time. Sooner or later, the switch hitter will make his presence felt again.
Maybe it's the fact that he hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat, perhaps it's the fact that he couldn't hack it in the Golden Baseball League, but Nava's resilience makes him a tough guy to count out.
Jon Lester's sub-bar year could put him on the trade block.
The Braves recently inquired about Jon Lester before learning the Red Sox are among the many teams not willing to fall into the seller's market quite yet. The same can be said of James Shields and any of the Rays starting pitchers that could draw attention on the trade market.
With a 5-8 record and a 5.46 ERA, Lester is not currently pitching like Boston's No. 1 starter. Nonetheless, pitching has always been a scarce asset in the majors. Consequently, the Red Sox need their top arms more than ever.
In a recent interview with ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, Lester didn't hold back about the possibility of being traded before the deadline:
"The Red Sox believe what's written," he said. "If it's written that I should be traded, more times than not that's what ends up happening. Look at the people who've gotten traded around here. It's not their doing.
If the Sox are interested in the Chicago Cubs' Matt Garza, they should be twice as interested in holding onto Lester. Only 28 years old, Lester is 81-42 in his career with a 3.75 ERA. Losing their left-hander would be counterintuitive towards a playoff run.
Even if a Lester trade was swindled, what sort of value would Boston get in return for their slumping star?