GM Ben Cherington has some tough decisions to make leading up to the August 31 waiver trade deadline.
After dropping two out of three games over the weekend to the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox’s record currently sits at 59-63, 13.5 games out first place in the AL East and 7.5 games out of the wild-card race.
With their hopes for a playoff spot fading, the Sox have already become sellers, moving backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Mets in exchange for right-handed reliever Pedro Beato on August 15.
With such a veteran-laden team, GM Ben Cherington has many tough decisions to make as the August 31 waiver deadline approaches. Some players whose names came up in rumors prior to the July 31 deadline (such as Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester) have not been placed on trade waivers, and thus are not currently eligible to be traded.
However, the Sox have passed multiple players through waivers and are now able to trade them. Here is a list of several members of the Sox who could be moved:
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted Thursday morning that the Red Sox have placed Josh Beckett on trade waivers, a move surprising only in how long it took for them to do it.
The reality is that, given his struggles all season, Beckett will almost certainly go unclaimed. If a team does put in a claim for him, it would not be all that surprising for the Sox to simply allow that team to have Beckett for free and assume 100% of his remaining contract (two years at $15.75 million per season).
The more likely scenario is that Beckett will clear waivers, and GM Ben Cherington will take one more shot at trading him. If he can find a taker, it would be a huge win for the franchise.
Wednesday night, Sean McAdam of CSNNE tweeted that the Sox had placed Adrian Gonzalez on trade waivers. While he notes that a move such as this one is "pretty standard stuff in August," it does indicate that the Sox would be willing to part with the resurgent first baseman.
Gonzalez has been clobbering the ball since the All-Star break (.345-9-40 in 36 games), and his trade value has likely seen a subsequent spike.
While moving him now is unlikely, the Sox now have a much more valuable trade chip should they really want to blow things up for 2013.
Aaron Cook is scheduled to start Monday night against the Angels, and this could be his last start for the Sox. According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, he was placed on trade waivers on August 16 and will likely draw a lot of interest.
The website mlbtraderumors.com indicates the Orioles, Nationals and Dodgers might have interest in Cook, who has performed solidly for the Sox this season (three or fewer earned runs in seven of his 10 starts).
Cafardo is now reporting that Cook could be dealt "at any time" after clearing waivers. Stay tuned to see if the Sox ship him out of town; if he does leave, Daisuke Matsuzaka would likely take his spot in the rotation.
The Carl Crawford saga in Boston has been full of twists, and the latest reports say that Crawford has cleared waivers and is eligible to be traded.
However, it’s unlikely he is going anywhere despite his strong performance since coming off the DL. His contract is prohibitive enough that any trade would require the Sox to eat an enormous amount of money, something they would prefer not do.
Now, it also appears Crawford is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery on his troublesome left elbow. Any surgery would mean that he is likely to spend at least one more year in a Red Sox uniform.
Miller has been excellent out of the bullpen for the Sox this season, and as a lefty he is likely to draw significant interest. Cafardo reports that Miller is one of the players the Sox have put on trade waivers, and it is likely at least one team will put in a claim on him.
With the acquisition of Craig Breslow, the Sox now have significant lefty depth on their pitching staff. If and when Franklin Morales returns to the bullpen, Miller would essentially be redundant.
If the Sox can get good value in return for the arbitration-eligible lefty, look for them to move him to a contender.
In the same tweet as Miller and Cook, Cafardo also reported that Felix Doubront was placed on trade waivers. While it may seem shocking that the Sox would consider moving the young left-handed starter, this move was likely to just gauge interest in a player whose value is currently quite high.
If a team were to bowl the Sox over with a crazy offer, they’d be foolish not to do it; however, that is highly unlikely to happen. Expect Doubront to stay in Boston this season and for many years to come.
Punto has struggled mightily at the plate, hitting .200 with just seven extra-base hits in 148 plate appearances. His versatility has been a plus, but has been outweighed by his anemic bat.
Although the Sox would like to get something for him, it’s unlikely Punto will have any suitors.
Cafardo also mentioned Aviles as a player the Sox put on waivers, and although it’s unclear if anyone claimed the Sox shortstop, he could bring good value in a trade.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Oakland A's had interest in Aviles but were reluctant to part with a top prospect in order to get him.
With the strong performance of Pedro Ciriaco and with Jose Iglesias still waiting in the wings, it would appear Aviles is playing on borrowed time in Boston anyway. He has put up a solid season, his first full year as an everyday player since his rookie year in 2008.
His versatility (he can play either middle infield or corner outfield spot) makes him an attractive commodity, and the Sox should move him if they can get a decent prospect in return.
Keep checking back here, as we’ll have updates whenever news breaks or a new name emerges in trade rumors.