5 Impact Trade Targets to Fix Red Sox's Flawed Bullpen

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIJuly 9, 2013

5 Impact Trade Targets to Fix Red Sox's Flawed Bullpen

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    The Boston Red Sox have a lot of flaws in their bullpen.

    However, things got worse when the Red Sox received word on Tuesday that reliever Andrew Miller would be having season-ending surgery.

    According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the Red Sox shaky bullpen went from bad to worse as it already ranks 26th in the majors with a 4.30 ERA.

    So what should the Red Sox do?

    Who can they go after on the trade market?

Jonathan Papelbon

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    Jonathan Papelbon is one of the most obvious choices on this list as his name has been dangled in trade rumors.

    Of course, this all depends on if the Philadelphia Phillies think it's worth trading the closer.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies may not be inclined to part with Papelbon as he could be a part of the team's future.

    Rosenthal noted that by losing Papelbon, the Phillies would have to develop a closer, something they did with Ryan Madson, which took four years. General manager Ruben Amaro told Rosenthal, "four years is a long time and he didn't have that kind of time. We need to contend."

    Still, if the right package is presented to the Phillies, Papelbon would likely be on the table.

    But expect for the Phillies to ask for a top-10 organizational prospect in return, in addition to a player that can come in and play immediately.

Bobby Parnell

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    New York Mets reliever Bobby Parnell is another player who will circulate the rumor mill.

    According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets have no plans to trade Parnell.

    However, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post says, the Mets should think about changing their minds.

    The Mets have to be open-minded about trading Parnell this month because two factors exist that could increase his value and, thus, increase the likelihood of finding a young, impact, cost-controlled bat to blend with those young arms:

    1. There are several teams, notably the Tigers and Red Sox, in full go-for-it mode that are desperate for late-inning solutions.

    2. There is not a lot of inventory. There is no certainty, for example, the Phillies will trade Jonathan Papelbon. But even if they do, his velocity has dropped and he is owed $13 million in both 2014 and ’15. Parnell is making $1.7 million this year and would earn about $10 million in total between 2014-15, after which he would become a free agent.

    As things continue to get worse for the Red Sox, Parnell is possibly a cheaper option in terms of prospects.

    While New York doesn't want to part with Parnell, if the right deal comes around, the Mets will trade him.

Kevin Gregg

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    The Chicago Cubs finally have a closer they can be confident in.

    However, Kevin Gregg is a free agent after this year, which makes him a perfect trade target.

    The Cubs aren't going anywhere and could actually get something decent in return for a player they signed to a minor-league contract in April.

    Gregg is 15 of 17 in save opportunities and has a 1.78 ERA on the year.

    Chicago is in the midst of rebuilding its farm system, and although they wouldn't get a top prospect in return, they'd still get something good.

Francisco Rodriguez

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    There's no doubt that Francisco Rodriguez wants to be a closer.

    He got his wish recently when he was promoted by the Milwaukee Brewers.

    With the Brewers being another team that's going nowhere this year, K-Rod could be a nice return for them.

    He's owed less than $1 million for the rest of the year and is 7-for-7 in save opportunities.

    Milwaukee demoted John Axford from the closer's role, and he could fill back into that spot.

    K-Rod makes more sense because he is a cheaper option compared to Axford's $5 million salary.

Jose Veras

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    As the Houston Astros look to continue to rebuild their farm system, they could get a nice return for Jose Veras.

    He has 17 saves in 20 opportunities and carries a 3.29 ERA.

    While I don't see him being a closer on the Red Sox, he could be the eighth-inning guy.

    But again, Houston isn't in any rush to get rid of Veras as he's been good for them.

    If the Red Sox come with a good deal, then he could be dealt.