The 2014 season has not exactly been kind to the Boston Red Sox as the team heads toward the middle of June.
Boston currently sits at 29-35, nine full games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. Upon initial evaluation, this season is looking much like what the Red Sox endured in 2012 and not the storybook World Series year they enjoyed a season ago.
While it is easy to fall victim to negative thoughts about this team's remaining chances to defend their title, we must be willing to accept that there is still plenty of baseball left to be played. Toronto (39-27) has remained hot, but nobody else in the AL East has made significant headway.
There is a chance to turn this whole thing around.
General manager Ben Cherington, manager John Farrell and the rest of the Red Sox's brass appear to feel this way as well.
Not so long ago, the team inked Stephen Drew to a one-year deal—shoring up the infield defense and adding some extra depth to the lineup.
Then the team added veteran journeyman outfielder Andres Torres to a minor league deal, as reported by Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors.
Red Sox Sign Andres Torres http://t.co/1QdKZGxwHp— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) June 11, 2014
These types of moves indicate that Boston is not ready to throw in the towel quite yet. While there are some glaring problems that need to be addressed, time remains for the Red Sox to take action.
We would obviously love to see Boston land a top-tier talent via a trade leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. It would be oh-so nice if the Red Sox could get their hands on a budding stud like Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
But when reality sets in, we have to accept the fact that such a deal will not happen—at least not midseason with the Marlins (34-30) playing well.
Further complicating the trade desire is the fact that in almost every scenario you have to give up something to get something in return. Extremely rare are the trades that send talented players in exchange for second-rate castoffs.
But the Red Sox still have the means to make deals targeted at lesser known, under-the-radar players. Most of these guys do not grab the headlines as much as others, but they can still complement a team that is looking for some substantial upgrades.
Let's take a look at five such players whom the Red Sox should target leading up to the deadline.