Following a weekend mini-tour of the National League West that ultimately sent Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Clay Buccholz onto the list of walking wounded in the Boston clubhouse, Sox fans had to think that it couldn't get any worse.
And yet days later, Jason Varitek broke his foot, Manny Delcarmen went on the DL with arm issues, and the Red Sox roster officially started to look like the Quadruple-A All-Stars.
Get this: The list of Red Sox players currently disabled or battling injury includes Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Lowell, Jeremy Hermida, Pedroia, Martinez, Varitek, Buchholz and Declarmen. Three of those players are All-Stars this season alone.
So the simple fact is the Sox could use some re-enforcements. And we're here to float a few possibilities as the trading deadline approaches in a few weeks.
The above photo is of San Diego slugger Adrian Gonzalez.
Red Sox fans listen up.There's almost zero chance Gonzalez winds up in Beantown. Why? For one, San Diego is shockingly still in the playoff race, likely turning them from trading-deadline sellers into buyers. And to, the Padres will demand a king's ransom for the slugger, which would seem a bad idea for Boston. A team already seeking replacements from the lower levels would do itself little good by shipping a truckload of prospects out of town.
With that bit of business addressed, we can move on to more realistic solutions.
Lee is on this list but, like Gonzalez, is likely a pipe dream. Seattle will want more than Boston is willing to offer in a move for the star starter. But the Red Sox always seem to wind up in discussions whenever a big name starter is available (see Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Johan Santana in recent years). Still, the Sox ultimately passed on those guys, holding on to prospects that included Ellsbury, Jon Lester and Buchholz. Expect a similar hesitation this time around.
The A's have yet to make Ellis available, but he would be a good fit for a Red Sox team lacking solid defense and flexibility in a reserve infielder. Ellis is a productive hitter who can do all the little things such as bunt and hit-and-run. He's also a much better defender than anyone on Boston's bench.
Still, I think the move is a long shot. The fact that Boston picked up Eric Patterson rather than Ellis may indeed be an indication that he's not available, at least not at the price Boston is willing to pay.
Podsednik is the first Kansas City Royal to appear on this list, but he won't be the last (Far from it; stay tuned). He'd be a solid addition to a Sox team hurting for outfield depth, especially with Beltre doing his best to keep the disabled list well stocked. He's a speedy left-hander with a steady glove who could be something of a poor-man's Ellsbury. Speed is an element desperately missing from Boston's bench, and until Ellsbury returns, from the roster at all.
DeJesus is a more appealing alternative. He does all the things Podsednick does, only a little better. He's a career starter who would have to accept a reserve role, at least when the outfield gets healthy, but he's got plenty of attractive tools and a track record the Sox would likely be pleased to add.
The issue here, again, may be cost. The Royals are said to be looking for a lot in return for DeJesus, which might prevent Boston from making the move. But he'd be a great fit.
Gross would be another low-cost outfield alternative, though he would seem a good fit only against righties. Still, he has some pop in his bat and could provide some help in the short term.
The final Royal to make the list is perhaps the least heralded, but he's a do-it-all kind of guy who can play all four infield spots and all three outfield positions. With Pedroia on the shelf, Bloomquist would be a good option to start in the short term. And, according to Nick Cafardo in the Boston Globe, the Sox would rather add a player that can help elsewhere on the diamond when Pedroia comes back. In that sense, Bloomquist is the perfect option, solving the second base problem in the short term and adding solid depth in the long term.
File Wigginton under the same category as Bloomquist, a guy who can help you at second base right now and in several other spots later on. The main differences are he can't play the outfield and isn't as fundamentally-sound as Bloomquist, but he brings significantly more offensive punch and has played in the AL East for a few years with the Orioles.
Even before they were beset by injuries, the Red Sox bullpen was perhaps the most pressing concern on the team. And that certainly hasn't changed. Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez have proven inconsistent, and Daniel Bard is pitching on an almost nightly basis out of necessity.
Ohman would be a solid option to help, especially given that he'd be another left-hander in the 'pen to deal with thumpers in the division like Carlos Pena and half the Yankee lineup.
Downs is the luxury car to Ohman's steady sedan. He's the fancier option, but he will also cost more. He's probably the best left-handed reliever available - and one of the best relievers overall - and Toronto no doubt knows this. Whether the Sox want to meet the asking price remains to be seen, but Downs would most certainly be a solid addition. He's carrying a trim 2.80 ERA this year, and opponent's are hitting just .215 against him.
A flame-throwing former closer? This sounds familiar.
Indeed, the Red Sox have gone this route before. The question would be whether you're getting Eric Gagne or Billy Wagner. Gagne imploded down the stretch for the ’07 Sox, while Wagner proved a valuable addition down the stretch last summer.
Wood doesn't have great numbers this year (a 6.27 ERA and 8 saves), but he's the kind of guy who could thrive in a seventh-inning role, as he does have 18 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. And he has a salary that would scare away most teams (north of $10 million) but won’t be an impediment with the Red Sox.
It would be an experiment, no doubt, but perhaps one worth taking a risk on.