The Boston Red Sox are 43-52, tied for last place in the AL East and 9.5 games out of first place with 67 games left in the season.
Many of their star players have underperformed. Key contributors have lost large swaths of the season to injury. And several of their younger players have taken longer to adjust to MLB pitching than we would’ve hoped. In short, it’s been a perfect storm of bad luck and bad performance that’s led the Red Sox to go from first to worst in the AL East in 2014.
The good news is that this is not an organization in need of a major rebuild. The Red Sox have a strong offensive and defensive core moving forward. They have an excess of mid- to back-end starters all vying for time in the rotation. And they have a next wave of talented prospects being groomed in Double-A and Triple-A, all ready to possibly contribute in 2015.
That being said, we need to realize that 2014 is unlikely to have a fairy tale ending for this bunch. Baseball Prospectus lists the club's playoff odds at just 3.3 percent, and this is a team that would need to go 38-29 the rest of the way just to reach the .500 plateau.
It’s best to accept that the Red Sox should be sellers at the deadline. Yes, the temptation exists to chase after a big bat to place at a corner outfield spot or at third base. But the Sox are in the midst of building a very good, young, sustainable team, and they should do nothing to jeopardize that future.
That means it’s time for the Sox to sell off their extra pieces, create playing time for their young, promising players, and recoup whatever value they can for 2015 and beyond. With that in mind, here are the most attractive trade targets that Boston owns headed into the July deadline that the team should indeed be looking to move.