Pitching is now the top priority for the Boston Red Sox prior to the trading deadline.
Clay Buchholz's recent setback now underscores the Red Sox's biggest need at the trade deadline.
According to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, Buchholz had another setback during a bullpen session in Oakland Monday. Now, Buchholz will be re-examined Friday by team orthopedist Peter Asnis. Per Edes:
Buchholz has not undergone an MRI since June 27; the team said he had bursitis in his right shoulder, but no structural damage. The Red Sox had been encouraged by Buchholz's progress, with Farrell talking last weekend about his starter nearing the point where he would throw a simulated game, then go on a rehab assignment.
But that schedule has been blown apart after Sunday's bullpen session in Oakland, when Buchholz complained of continuing soreness.
Depending on the diagnosis Friday, the Red Sox could be without Buchholz for a little longer than they expected.
The first treatment considered, when it comes to shoulder tendinitis, is rest. But if that doesn't work, then surgery could be a possibility for Buchholz.
Regardless of the time frame he is out, the Red Sox need to do something. And they need to do it quickly.
Buchholz has been the best starter for the Red Sox this year, attaining a 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA.
While the Red Sox have been able to maintain their lead in the AL East since Buchholz went on the disabled list on June 18, an ace pitcher is exactly what they need.
Garza can be that ace pitcher.
The only question is: What will the Cubs require in return for Garza?
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported the Cubs are believed to be seeking a pitching-heavy package.
While the Red Sox may not want to part with some of their prospects, including Matt Barnes, Allen Webster or Anthony Ranaudo in the deal will be a must.
There are other starters on the market who could fit the needs of the Red Sox. While none will give you what Garza has, they could still fit nicely in the rotation.
Yovani Gallardo and Bud Norris would fit this bill. Both are power pitchers stuck on horrible teams.
The Red Sox wouldn't have to give up as much for either, and both would provide an upgrade to the starting rotation.
Tim Lincecum is another name you could hear coming up. While ESPN's Jason A. Churchill (subscription required) reports Lincecum's value is as a reliever and not a starter, given the right circumstances, he could still start.
Boston has those right circumstances. If the rotation doesn't work out, they need help in the bullpen as well.
While this does seem like a knee-jerk reaction, the Red Sox can't take a chance if Buchholz doesn't come back. By the time that gets figured out, the non-waiver deadline will have passed.
All those mentioned above could be gone to other teams, leaving the Red Sox out in the cold.
Look at it this way: If the Red Sox trade for another starter and Buchholz does come back, that just means the rotation will be that much better.
When it comes to the playoffs, there's no messing around—especially in Boston.
As long as the Red Sox are willing to part with a few prospects, it's something they have to look into. Their World Series chances could depend on it.