The Boston Red Sox hold a narrow lead over the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East, but according to Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal, that’s not the only reason they’ll be shopping at the trade deadline.
“If the Red Sox don’t move some of their prospects in trades, they might risk losing them in December’s Rule Five draft,” writes McPherson. “For that reason, the Red Sox can afford—and, indeed, might be wise—to trade three or four high-level prospects for an impact player.”
That impact player could come in the form of a starting pitcher to help their beat-up rotation. They lost Daisuke Matsusaka for the season to Tommy John Surgery, Jon Lester is on the DL for a strained lat and the young Clay Buccholz is trying to come back from a back strain. Josh Beckett is also day-to-day after hyper extending his knee.
Bullpen help is also needed for the Sox. Bobby Jenks has not worked out like they’d hoped, and his 6.32 ERA and 2.234 WHIP just aren’t getting the job done. Their lefty specialist, Rich Hill, has also undergone Tommy John surgery. Perhaps the Padres' Heath Bell is a fit for Boston.
MLB.com’s Ian Browne still thinks the Sox will try and pursue a right fielder. J.D. Drew has struggled over his career with the Red Sox, but seems to be in full decline now. Last season he only posted a .255 average and .793 OPS, but this season, those numbers have dropped to .229 and .646.
Relief could come in the form of Carlos Beltran. It’s been a resurgent season for Beltran, and the All-Star posted some good numbers in the first half with .285/.880 and 13 home runs. He’s shown that he can still play a corner outfield position, and the switch hitter would help Boston’s predominantly left-handed lineup.
The New York Mets still haven’t committed to the fire sale, even after moving Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week. That was a salary move to ensure they weren’t stuck with his $17.5 million option for next season.
With Beltran, they have a player who they can either move or get absolutely nothing back for. Beltran has it in his contract that the Mets cannot offer him arbitration; therefore they cannot receive compensation picks for him if he signs elsewhere. Even still, they’d be hesitant to offer arbitration to a player making over 20 million dollars this season.