As July 31 looms forward, several teams look for the missing pieces to help them make a run. Other teams realized their chances are as slim as John Goodman in a hot body contest.
July is the month for the contenders to make their moves and for basement dwellers to sell for the future. With the economy as bad as it is, teams are feeling the squeeze and some don't have the budget even to add a rental player.
But as the trade deadline approaches, one team looks to be in a superior position and that team is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have a ton of payroll room, a top-five system filled with blue-chip prospects, actually have extra pitching in the bullpen and rotation, and the best record in the AL meaning they are in a position to walk away.
There isn't another team in baseball with the resources going into the deadline to make something happen.
The strange thing about the Red Sox this year is that they are both buyers and sellers. They have such a deep bullpen and rotation they can afford to trade away a starting pitcher and a bullpen arm.
Takashi Saito and Brad Penny are among the best relief and starting pitching out on the trade market. Teams like the Phillies are toying with the idea of giving up talent along the lines of Jason Donald (a shortstop with a minor league line of .286/.370/.437) for Penny. Another linked trade has Colorado outfielder Ryan Spilborghs coming to Boston for Saito.
These guys can be traded to improve the bench as well as continuing to load the Red Sox stuffed minor league system.
The Red Sox also have a few holes that can be plugged.
They need a first baseman, with Lowell out (Youkilis has been playing third) and could use a shortstop with Lowrie still in injury purgatory. One solution is Victor Martinez. Martinez is probably the best fit for the Red Sox taking first and the occasional catching duty.
However, he is going to cost a lot.
Packages will start with Lars Anderson and a young pitcher like Bowden or Bard. Probably some other A-ball players as well. With the cheap option for next year, there is no rush for the Indians to trade their All-Star Martinez.
One strange name that is being thrown around is Yunel Escobar. Escobar is a good fielding, decent offensive shortstop who would probably fix the Red Sox constant quest for a permanent shortstop. If Escobar was to be traded however the Braves would want a bat, preferably and outfielder or first baseman.
That means that any trade with the Braves would be a three-way deal. Also, Boston would probably be paying the rest of Lugo's contract and send him to the Braves.
The best bet is the A's doing something like moving Lugo and Holiday to the Braves, giving up some young talent (A ball players) to Oakland like Luis Exposito and Stephen Fife while the Braves give a piece (maybe Francoeur) and then Boston might get Escobar. Theo does have experience with these complicated three-way trades at the deadline.
There is less than a month until the deadline.
As we approach the All Star break there is no team in a better position trading-wise than the Red Sox. We will have to see how the team is improved or if Theo will stand pat with the squad tha is on pace for 98 wins.