The poor start to the Red Sox season came as a surprise to many. Especially since the offense, which seemed suspect to many at the start of the season, has been a force.
The Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs, second in homers, third in doubles, fourth in OPS, and sixth in OBP. And they've done all that without Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron for most of the season.
However, the team built on pitching and defense has been surprisingly deficient in both areas for much of the season.
The Red Sox starter's cumulative ERA of 4.54 is 21st in MLB and ninth in the AL. That's something no one could have predicted, especially with a front three of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey.
A Rangers official told the Globe's Nick Cafardo last week he’d love to get Lowell in Texas. The Rangers are looking for a righthanded hitter who can produce.
Martinez's defensive deficiencies are the primary reason the Sox have held off on negotiating an extension with him. There are serious concerns about him at catcher going forward, and it's likely the Sox view him as a first baseman / DH in the future.
The Indians said Martinez wore down catching every day, and that it affected his hitting. Unfortunately, he got off to a very slow start this year. Given his defensive deficiencies, if he doesn't hit, he has little value behind the plate.
Depending on the team's record in July, Jonathan Papelbon's name will likely surface in trade discussions.
Boston's closer hasn't been as dominant as in the past, and has been trending downward in recent years.
This year, he's 1-3 with a 3.00 ERA, which is well below is career 1.92 ERA. Over 21 innings he's given up 14 hits, 11 walks, and hit one batsman, amounting to 25 baserunners. That's a WHIP of 1.25, which is decent. And he has fanned 16 batters, which is also decent. However, none of this amounts to the dominance he once showed.
It's hard to envision the Red Sox giving Papelbon the multi-year deal he is seeking before 2011, especially with Daniel Bard waiting in the wings.
Incredibly, Papelbon recently suffered his first regular season blown save since last July.
But because it was against the Yankees, and because of the way the team was playing, it was magnified.
Yet, it was the first walk-off home run given up by Papelbon in his five-year career, which is simply amazing.
Coming into that game, Papelbon had made 22 straight conversions. The only other time he allowed two homers in a game was to Minnesota's Justin Morneau and Jacque Jones in his major league debut on July 31, 2005,
With the exception of Game Three in last year's ALDS, he's been pretty solid and reliable.
To even consider trading him this season, the Red Sox would have to appear to be out of contention by the trade deadline, something that suddenly seems less likely.