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The Red Sox are faced with an interesting pitching dilemma as the trade deadline approaches.
When healthy, the Sox have one of the best rotations in the American League. Andrew Miller has done a nice job filling in for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and spot-starters/long relievers Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield are also capable of picking up innings. Not to mention, Sunday's starter Kyle Weiland and veteran Kevin Millwood, who are chomping at the bit in Pawtucket.
However, if the first half of the season has taught us anything, it's that you can never overvalue the health of your starting rotation. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholtz on the DL, Josh Beckett's knee still giving him problems and John Lackey's inconsistency, don't be surprised if the Sox look outside the organization for another starter.
San Diego's Tim Stauffer is arguably the best-kept secret in baseball. Though his record is only 5-6, the 29-year-old righty has been the Padres' best starter with a 2.97 ERA. To put in perspective how good Stauffer has been, he has allowed the same number of earned runs (39) in the same number of starts (19) as Roy Halladay.
A native of Portland, Maine, Stauffer would fill the pitching void for the Red Sox for multiple reasons. Not only is he capable of making quality starts, but his 1.87 ERA in 25 games as a reliever last year proves that he can be lights-out from the bullpen as well.
Acquiring Stauffer wouldn't be cheap, as the Padres would undoubtedly demand a weighty package in return for the former fourth overall pick. However, if Tim Stauffer keeps improving at the rate he is, it's only a matter of time before he becomes a household name. Trading for him now could prove to be a huge steal down the road.