The Boston Red Sox have been playing well as of late, which muddles their outlook entering the trade deadline.
Does GM Ben Cherington look at the balance of the season so far and determine that Red Sox players just haven't performed up to their abilities—and won't? Are there too many factors working against the team to take out four other clubs en route to the division title?
Or will Cherington reason that this squad looks a lot different than the one that dug the original hole? That the arrivals of Brock Holt, Rubby De La Rosa and Christian Vazquez, among others, give the team hope? That underachieving Red Sox players can produce in the second half and perhaps spark another worst-to-first run?
This kind of ambiguity is what figures to keep the Red Sox in a state of uncertainty leading right up to the trade deadline. With two directions to go and a fanbase to satiate, it's likely that any deal Boston does will be geared toward shoring up 2015 and 2016 squads, without compromising the ability of the 2014 club to make a run at the division title.
Potential blockbusters, which were explored in this space last week, are not the focus of this piece. What are the most realistic deals Boston could make leading up to the trade deadline?
While some of these realistic trades may not have the bang that fans like to read about, the repercussions could have a major impact moving forward for Boston's chances at contention this year and down the line.