Boston Red Sox Trade Rumors: Time Is Top Deadline Asset for Ailing Red Sox

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2011

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 16:  Pitcher Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

For the Boston Red Sox, the thoughts of a blockbuster deal cannot obscure the big picture.

The American League leaders have been linked to players like Carlos Beltran and Ubaldo Jimenez, even if the interest is lukewarm at best.

Boston has issues in the starting rotation and bullpen, but the answers to the Red Sox problems lie on the disabled list.

Right now, Jon Lester is on the shelf but is scheduled to return to active duty next week. When the southpaw is on, he is one of the top pitchers in the game and can anchor a postseason rotation alongside Josh Beckett.

As far as the bullpen goes, Boston is patiently waiting for Bobby Jenks, who is trying to battle back from yet another injury. The former closer has had his fair share of struggles, but he is someone who has a World Series ring to his credit and can help anchor the back end of the bullpen.

Meanwhile, the club's biggest asset is the ailing Clay Buchholz, who is dealing with a nagging back injury.

Last year, Buchholz was a Cy Young candidate and, despite his struggles in the early part of the year, he remains a vital cog in the Red Sox' postseason machine.

Per MLB Trade Rumors:

But Boston’s most important reinforcements may not arrive in trades. Epstein said the Red Sox aren’t going to do better than injured starter Clay Buchholz on the trade market. 

"If you ask me what player do I want out there on this club in all of baseball, if I could name one guy to acquire for this team, it would be just a healthy Clay Buchholz and I think we're going to have that,” Epstein said.

Boston doesn't need to chase deadline deals, even if the Fenway faithful are begging for the club to address the holes in the roster.

Pitching is a concern, but there are no satisfactory solutions on the trade market and Theo Epstein cannot get blood from a stone. Giving up prospects for relief pitchers who may or may not pan out isn't the type of business that allows for long-term success.

The Red Sox have deep pockets to atone for those types of mistakes, but it doesn't make it right, especially when the answer to their problems is right in front of their face.

Boston has the horses needed to compete in the American League and make it to their third World Series since 2004, it's just a matter of health.

It is a gamble, but a calculated one when you consider the current state of the club.