According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a three-team deal to acquire pitcher Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox. The trade is pending a medical exam, but should it go through, Boston will receive Peavy and Bryan Villareal in exchange for, most notably, Jose Iglesias, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
The question is, what's next for Boston after trading for Peavy?
Peavy is an instant game-changer for the Red Sox, as he was both an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner in 2012. His ERA may be inflated in 2013, but there's no question that Peavy can be effective when healthy.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are so confident in Peavy that they're opting to remain quiet through the trade deadline:
Cherington does not expect another trade before the deadline. #redsox— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 31, 2013
Or are they?
Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Red Sox are feeling the pressure from their intra-division competition. While Boston may have made an impressive trade of its own, each competitor has been active in its own right.
That has the Red Sox asking one question: What more can they do?
If the Red Sox were to remain complacent, trusting that Peavy was the missing piece, they'd be in a position to make a run at the World Series. Should Boston side with executing a trade, there's reason to believe that same approach would help in their pursuit.
The question is, in which direction will they go?
Making the Case: Avoid Future Trades
A legitimate possibility for the Red Sox is to accept what they've done as sufficient and walk away with a former Cy Young winner. It may not be the most glamorous route to take, but it's hardly concerning to know Boston will remain as it is.
After all, the Red Sox have some major changes on the horizon without a trade.
Clay Buchholz is expected to return from shoulder inflammation, and once he does, it would create one of the deepest rotations in baseball. In 12 starts, Buchholz is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, thus proving that the elite ability remains.
With Jon Lester finally discovering his form, Felix Doubront performing at a strong level and Ryan Dempster enough of a quality pitcher to turn things around, the Red Sox certainly have the pitching to win.
The key here is John Lackey, who is 7-8 with a 3.19 ERA. His most recent starts have been troublesome, but if there's one way to help your pitchers, it's to provide them with support.
That's exactly what Peavy supplies.
Thus far, Peavy is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts, winning in his past two appearances. Those may not be elite numbers, but Peavy was an All-Star in 2012 and has proven to be capable of special things when placed in the right situation.
Something tells us Boston can be that place.
Making the Case: Pursue Future Trades
The Red Sox have a strong pitching staff, a batting lineup beginning to get healthy and a group of postseason stars. They also have a star pitcher, Buchholz, who has a long history of injuries and an ace, Jon Lester, with an ERA above 4.00 for the second consecutive season.
Throw in the fact that Lackey has been their most consistent pitcher, and you can see why Boston would need to revisit their stance on future trades.
Boston is one of the best hitting teams in the MLB, but that doesn't mean that it has answers at every position. Trading Jose Iglesias opens up a void along the infield, and Boston is still without a defined closer.
Both Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan are out for the remainder of the season with injuries, and Koji Uehara has pitched a grand total of 2.1 postseason innings.
Options may be scarce, specifically from an affordability perspective, but if Boston is willing to spend, there are players worth chasing. From star closers to standouts on the hot corner, the Red Sox could still be active.
And so they should be.
Final Verdict: Keep on Trading
The Red Sox have glaring voids at closer and third base, no matter how hard fans try to defend the unproven players at either spot. The likes of Uehara and Will Middlebrooks may be popular, but Boston is chasing a World Series ring.
Popularity doesn't win titles—one of two players the Philadelphia Phillies have to offer could.
Should the Boston Red Sox continue making deals?
According to Scott Miller of CBS Sports, the Phillies have spoken with third baseman Michael Young about a trade to either the Red Sox or Texas Rangers. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Young would only accept a deal to Texas, but Boston shouldn't take that as the gospel.
If Boston can swing an attractive-enough deal, it's hard to imagine Young opting to remain with a losing team over one in prime position to take the American League title.
Another option in Philadelphia is closer Jonathan Papelbon, who played for the Red Sox from 2005 to 2011. Seeing as Papelbon has publicly stated that he doesn't want to be traded but would also like to get out of a rebuilding process, that makes him a speculative target.
As mercurial as Papelbon can be, he did win a World Series title with the Red Sox, and they are in the market for a closer.
There's reason to remain with the current core, as the Sox aren't broken, so why fix it? With that being said, being able to swing a deal for a player of Papelbon or Young's stature would offer a significant upgrade over their current situation at both positions.
For that reason, what Boston should do is keep on trading.