Boston Red Sox: 4 Post-Deadline Moves They Could Still Make
The team still has some obvious needs even as they sit atop the AL East with the best record in the American League and will look to plug those gaps over the regular season’s final seven weeks.
The August waiver deadline is a concept quite familiar to Sox fans, who last year saw the team make what may go down as one of the best deals in franchise history when it sent the bloated contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers, receiving nearly $250 million in payroll relief.
While a similar deal will not occur for obvious reasons this season, the Sox still have an opportunity to improve their club as they try to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Here are a few kinds of moves the Sox could make in the next few weeks.
Trade for a Reliever
While the influx of relief help from Pawtucket has been a godsend for the Sox as they see reliever upon reliever go down with injuries, the Boston bullpen is still a cause of concern.
The Red Sox rank 22nd in MLB in ERA (3.77) and 27th in OPS-against (.731). With inexperienced pitchers working in big spots, those numbers could grow.
While the market for relievers before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline isn’t great, the Sox do still have outside options if they want to add another piece. Those options include the Cubs’ Kevin Gregg, the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon and the Marlins’ Chad Qualls who all remain available, but would have to be had for the right price in order for the Sox to bite.
Trade for a Starter
With the addition of Jake Peavy and seemingly imminent return of Clay Buchholz, starting pitching does not seem like an area of need at this instant for the Red Sox.
However, given Buchholz’s fragility and the recent late-season histories of John Lackey and Felix Doubront (injury and ineffectiveness, respectively), adding mound depth is always something to which the Sox will be open.
While Brandon Workman and Drake Britton present solid internal options, the ever-tantalizing name of Cliff Lee always lurks if the Sox are willing to pay the heavy price required to get him.
They can afford to be patient and the Phillies may indeed come to them if they continue their freefall from contention in the NL East.
Add a Bat
Really, the offense for the Red Sox is doing just fine.
Boston leads MLB in runs scored, doubles and OPS, and is near the top in nearly every other offensive category.
It seems for now that some of the furor surrounding Stephen Drew (.395 BA, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1.184 OPS over his last 11 games) has subsided although it may be giving way to grumbling about Mike Napoli (.122 BA, 0 HR, 19 SO in 41 ABs over his last 11 games).
Should the Sox decide that the Brock Holt/Brandon Snyder duo at third base isn’t what they want for the stretch run, they could go back to Philadelphia and work out a deal for Michael Young. The veteran third baseman would fit seamlessly with the Sox and would provide a nice stopgap in the event the Sox don’t have plans to promote a player internally.
Call in Reserves from the Minors
This is the most likely scenario, as it will serve the dual purpose of shoring up the MLB roster and getting young players some major league experience.
On the pitching side, the Sox have already made ample use of Triple-A Pawtucket, promoting several players to make spot starts or work out of the bullpen.
The most recent callup, Rubby De La Rosa, made his Sox debut out of the bullpen Tuesday night in Houston, looking quite sharp in a 1-2-3 ninth inning in which he struck out two. The PawSox imports have been effective enough that it makes the most sense for the Sox to continue using them rather than giving up assets to get someone from outside the organization.
As for the bats, the only true need at the moment is at third base.
The Sox are faced with an interesting dilemma here. While Will Middlebrooks would be the obvious choice, it seems like the organization is in no hurry to rush him back to Boston. Could the Sox then follow the Orioles’ Manny Machado blueprint and promote Xander Bogaerts? He has been solid for Pawtucket (.275 BA, .830 OPS, 8 HR in 182 ABs), and would get valuable experience being thrown right into a pennant race.