With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Boston Red Sox will be hot on the trail of some of the most coveted trade targets on the market.
The Red Sox have several key areas of need, particularly on the pitching staff. The batting order is less of an issue and should remain fairly familiar even after the deadline passes.
There, however, are a few holes in the lineup that could be filled via trade.
With that in mind, here is a brief recap of the Red Sox's starting lineup after the trade deadline.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
The leadoff spot is pretty cut and dry.
There is no reason to assume Jacoby Ellsbury will not be batting first for the Red Sox after the deadline.
Despite the fact that he will hit free agency after this season, Ellsbury will likely remain in Boston through the rest of the year. He has been one of the most productive leadoff hitters in the game, posting a batting average over .300 and a league-leading 37 stolen bases.
The top spot in the order should remain the same.
2. Shane Victorino, RF
Same old, same old so far.
Shane Victorino has spent nearly the entire season batting second behind Ellsbury. He’s hit for average with his usual speed and superb defense.
Despite some recent injuries, Victorino will remain a key cog in the Red Sox outfield. He and Ellsbury form a potent speed combination at the top of the order.
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Having just inked a brand-new contract that will hopefully keep him in Boston for the rest of his career, Pedroia should continue to produce at a high level near the top of Boston’s order.
The superstar second baseman is as good as ever this year. Despite only middling power production, his defense and on-base numbers are through the roof. The Red Sox will need Pedroia for a stretch run.
4. David Ortiz, DH
There’s a reason why the top portion of the lineup will remain unchanged. It consists of some of the most productive hitters in baseball.
David Ortiz is one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. He has been the best offensive performer in Boston’s lineup all year. There is no better DH anywhere.
5. Mike Napoli/Mike Carp, 1B
The two Mikes have been very productive at first base.
The power hitters have provided a combined 3.3 WAR at first base this season while costing the Red Sox a total of $5.5 million. For comparison purposes, Adrian Gonzalez has posted a 2.2 WAR for the Dodgers this year while being paid $21 million. Good thing the Red Sox traded him.
At this point, there is no reason to upgrade the first-base position.
6. Michael Young, 3B
Here’s the first new face in the whole lineup. If there’s any hole in the batting order, it’s at third base.
Will Middlebrooks is going through a brutal sophomore slump. After starting out the season batting below the Mendoza Line in the majors, he has struggled to hit his weight in Triple-A.
While Jose Iglesias has filled in admirably, the Red Sox need a more consistent and experienced third baseman if they are serious about making the playoffs. Michael Young seems like the perfect candidate, and the Red Sox are reportedly interested, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
He’s hitting .283/.346/.413 this season, and he is just two years removed from competing for a batting title with the Rangers. He also brings veteran leadership and experience to an already strong ballclub.
7. Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes, LF
The left-field platoon of Gomes and Nava has been extremely effective for the Red Sox.
Both players have hit for power with quality defense. Nava has also posted very impressive on-base numbers.
The Red Sox have a surplus of outfielders in the minors as well, so there is little reason to acquire any extra players in the outfield.
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia/David Ross, C
Catcher is another position where the Red Sox have plenty of depth.
Outside of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross, who have been very effective platoon partners, Ryan Lavarnway has been a very adequate fill-in with Ross on the disabled list.
The market for available catchers is very thin, so the Red Sox should be satisfied with their current setup behind the dish.
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
The reason I like the Michael Young acquisition is because it allows Jose Iglesias to return to his natural defensive position.
With Iglesias performing at such a high level, the Red Sox no longer need Stephen Drew. And the Red Sox certainly do not want to hold on to his $9.5 million contract unless he is playing every day.
The ideal scenario in my mind would be to trade Drew to the Phillies as part of the package to acquire Michael Young. That would strengthen the infield by inserting an experience veteran at the hot corner and letting Iglesias show off his defensive wizardry at shortstop.
So while there is no doubt that the Red Sox biggest need is in the pitching staff, there is some shuffling that can be done in the infield to strengthen the Red Sox for a stretch run.