Alfredo Aceves and the bullpen could use reinforcements.
Though the Boston Red Sox continue to struggle, they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Thanks to the addition of the second wild card, The Red Sox are one of eight teams fighting for two playoff spots.
While the Red Sox may not want to make any major moves, one thing they can do to bolster their roster is trade for a bullpen arm.
Even though the Red Sox relievers have been reliable, they can go on a cold streak at any moment or could get bit by the injury bug. Additionally, with Andrew Bailey yet to return it would be wise to have a backup plan for the stretch run when rosters expand.
Here are seven potential relievers that may interest the Red Sox at the trading deadline.
Brandon League is one of Seattle's few trade chips.
Brandon League has been one of the few bright spots on the Mariners.
League has posted a 2.98 ERA through July 25, and while he has already blown more saves this year (six) than last year (five), he would still help bolster an already strong Red Sox bullpen.
At 29 years old, League could also provide value in 2013 and beyond.
Jonathan Broxton has shown he still has something left in the tank.
Broxton took over as the Royals closer when Joakim Soria underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring, and has posted a 2.27 ERA and recorded 23 saves through July 25.
The flame-throwing righty would provide strikeout pitching ability for the Red Sox bullpen, as well as giving them someone with closer experience in case Alfredo Aceves burns out.
K-Rod has playoff experience that could be beneficial down the stretch.
While Francisco Rodriguez has struggled in 2012, the entire Milwaukee Brewers bullpen has struggled as well, and a change of scenery could recharge the once dominant pitcher.
K-Rod still throws a devastating breaking-ball, and still has the strikeout stuff evidenced by his 43 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched through July 25.
With the Brewers looking like they will miss the playoffs, the Red Sox could buy low on K-Rod and get a playoff proven arm to add to their bullpen.
Matt Capps is proven as a setup man and a closer.
While he doesn’t have the same strikeout stuff as K-Rod, he does possess a solid 1.06 WHIP though July 25.
Capps would also be a good pickup, since he has been underutilized by the Twins. Capps has only pitched 28.1 innings so far in 2012, and has experience as both a setup man and as a closer.
A change of scenery could help Heath Bell.
With the Miami Marlins in full fledged fire-sale mode, trading for Heath Bell may be the perfect buy-low opportunity for the Red Sox.
If the Marlins are willing to take on part of Bell’s contract, the Red Sox may be willing to take a chance on a pitcher who less than a year ago was one of the league’s premier closers.
While Bell’s walk numbers are up, the bulk of his problem may be caused by the pressure to live up to the large contract. A change in scenery may be all it takes to push Bell back to All-Star form.
John Axford could provide a Daniel Bard type presence in the Red Sox bullpen.
Despite losing his job as the Milwaukee Brewers closer, John Axford is still a dominating pitcher with strikeout stuff.
Though he may not have the makeup needed to be an elite closer, his 56 strikeouts in just 42.1 innings through July 25 shows that he has electric stuff.
Trading for Axford would provide the Red Sox with a Daniel Bard type arm that could serve as the setup man or come in when the Red Sox badly need a strikeout.
Carlos Marmol has devastating stuff and would be valuable to the Red Sox.
Theo Epstein is looking to rebuild, and Carlos Marmol is one of the few trading chips he has.
The Dominican reliever has struggled the last couple of seasons, despite having some of the best stuff in the National League.
Marmol has always struggled with his command, but this year he has more walks (32) than innings pitched (30.1).
At 29 years old, I don’t expect Marmol to magically become Gre Maddux, but if the price is right the Red Sox could get a pitcher that at his peak struck out 138 batters in just 77.2 in 2010.