We’re 24 days away from the trading deadline.
Somehow, the Red Sox went from in dire need of a shortstop and a DH/power hitter in the four slot to questionable needs.
Are there not bullpen needs? No. David Ortiz is all washed up, right? Check that again. Well, Nick Green can’t field. Wrong. Still, we need to trade Brad Penny. Why?
Yet, when your team owns the best bullpen ERA in the league, a 3.18 ERA, things like blowing a nine-run lead isn’t just cause for pushing the "Panic Button." The Red Sox have blown only eight saves. Their 74-percent save-conversion rate is fourth best in the league.
There is no need for bullpen help.
Wasn’t David Ortiz done a month ago? I called for Adrian Gonzalez and, to a lesser extent, Adam Dunn.
How could you not think so? As of May 31st, he was hitting .185, and he had only one homer and 18 RBI. His OPS was hovering in the mid-.500.
During the month of June, Ortiz turned it around. He hit .320 and seven homers, and he had 18 RBI and an OPS of 1.062.
What a turnaround!
Nick Green has become more comfortable at shortstop, and with every bad throw and inability of turning a double play by Julio Lugo, Green becomes more valuable to the team.
Remember, Green only played a total of 34 games at shortstop and is now starting to adjust well at that position.
Based on Dice-K’s season, Brad Penny has become almost too valuable to this team. Since his disastrous start in April where he had an ERA of 8.66, Penny has gone 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
So, unless you’re getting a top-tier major league-ready player or a top-rated prospect, why would Theo Epstein trade Penny?
The Red Sox are not in a dire situation to make a trade.
That is unless Mike Lowell’s hip injury is worse than expected. Add Jed Lowrie’s recent set back after getting plunked in the leg, Epstein has to tread lightly here.
Epstein has two options:
- If Lowell will be back by late-July or early-August with Lowrie coming back, the Sox can live with Lowrie playing third and Green at shortstop.
- If Lowell won’t be back until mid-September, or his season is in jeopardy, then Epstein needs to make a move.
There is no way Boston can go through the stretch run for the playoffs with Lowrie and Green as two of its starting infielders.
Arizona has been a party of interest. Chad Tracy’s name has surfaced. What would Boston want with a player hitting .206?
Mike Lowell will be going into the final year of his three-year contract in 2010. If he’s injured for the rest of 2009, the Sox need to think about his eventual replacement. He’ll be 36 next year.
The future would be Lars Anderson at first and Kevin Youkilis at third.
Mark Reynolds would be a nice fit, but if the Sox are banking on the above as the next fit for Boston, a trade like this doesn’t make sense. Reynolds is 25 and finally coming into his own, and the Sox would have to give up the farm for him.
But, there is help at a fairly low cost price.
Why not look right in your own division? Aubrey Huff of Balitmore allows the Sox some flexibility.
Francona can move Youkilis to third and Huff to first. Kotsay can flex at first and outfield and pinch hit. Also, Huff can play third or the outfield if needed.
Huff is hitting .266 with 11 homers, and he has 55 RBI. He’ll also come without giving up the farm system. It gives the Sox another left-handed bat in the lineup with some pop.
The good part about Huff is that he’ll have one more year left on his contract. In 2006, he signed a three-year deal which averages around $8 million.
This will allow Lars Anderson to develop one more year in the minors and gives the Sox protection in case Mike Lowell continues to be plagued by hip problems.
You would figure the Sox would have to give up a mid-tier prospect to obtain Huff such as a Ryan Kalish or potentially a Zac Daegas.
Who would have thought that Mike Lowell could hold the key to the Red Sox season?