At just 5-5 in their last 10 games and the second-place Tampa Bay Rays winning nine of their last 10 outings to get within 2.5 games of first place, the pressure is on for the Red Sox to remain the top team in the division.
So what is the team looking to do in the trade market?
Here's the latest buzz.
Front Office Feels No Pressure to Make a Deal
Improving the team through a trade or two should help the team fend off the Rays in the second half of the season. But the team's recent deal for left-handed reliever Matt Thornton might be the only move the team makes.
As Silverman points out, the move for Thornton was made out of sheer necessity. With an injury to Andrew Miller, the Red Sox had a gaping hole in the bullpen that could only be properly addressed by acquiring a reliever in a trade.
As manager John Farrell explained to Silverman, the team made the move because it was the right one to make and filled a need:
Trying to fortify the group we have here as best possible if it made sense and Thornton is the guy we were able to acquire and fill at least one of those needs. Additional changes that might take place remains to be seen but I know Ben is still finding every way possible to improve this team.
As Farrell explains, the Sox will look at all options available. However, that doesn't mean that they're going to try to force something just for the sake of making a splash.
Jonathan Papelbon Unlikely to Be Target
Even with the addition of Thornton, the Red Sox bullpen still holds an ERA of 4.10 on the season, good for 24th in the league.
On the surface, it would appear that Jonathan Papelbon would be the perfect addition to bolster the pen. After all, he's notched 20 saves for the Phillies this season and boasts an ERA of 2.33.
However, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe feels that Papelbon's recent performances and remaining salary rules him out as a possibility:
In the last seven days Papelbon has worked four innings with an ERA of 6.75 and a 1.25 WHIP. According to Spotrac, the dynamic reliever is set to make $13 million every season until 2016.
Short-Term Infield Fix a Possibility
While Papelbon appears to be out of the mix, it appears that the team will seek options on the left side of the infield that could improve the lineup for the second half of the season.
According to Alex Speier of WEEI, the team is thrilled with their long-term option at the shortstop and third base positions, but leery of the situation for the rest of the season.
As well as Jose Iglesias has played in the 52 games he has played, his production is starting to slow. He has hit just .250 in July and only registered one multi-base hit with a double.
At shortstop, Stephen Drew is set to begin a rehab stint in the minors, leaving the Sox with no dependable options at either position.
Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts are exciting prospects for the organization, per Speier, but neither are quite ready to be depended on down the stretch.
Speier speculates that the team could seek a veteran to stabilize the lineup this season, mentioning Michael Young of the Philadelphia Phillies as a possibility.
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