The most boring SportsCenter of all time aired today. With the NFL lockout officially over and the MLB trade deadline approaching, I managed to catch just one baseball highlight in approximately three hours of television time.
The Boston Red Sox sit in first place in the American League East and boast the best record in MLB. They're 16-3 in July despite injuries to Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka and almost negative production from the $14 million man J.D. Drew.
Today's SportsCenter talked about potential trade targets for the Red Sox, including Carlos Beltran, Matt Garza and Hiroki Kuroda. The ESPN crew also mentioned replacing Marco Scutaro at shortstop but offered no solutions.
The obvious spots at which the Sox could use help are right field, shortstop and starting pitcher. But are these actually glaring needs? Is Carlos Beltran, at this point, enough of an upgrade over Josh Reddick's dirt-cheap contract to give up several top prospects? We'll just throw out this idea. Reddick is good enough in this lineup. So are Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, when he is healthy.
What about Matt Garza? Do the Red Sox need to make a move for a starting pitcher?
The short answer is no. The Red Sox will make the playoffs.
The long answer is (as always) much more complicated. When the playoffs come around, you need four starters. Buchholz is injured and struggling to get healthy. Worst case scenario, the Sox are looking at Josh Beckett, Lester, John Lackey and...Tim Wakefield? Andrew Miller? At this point it has to be Miller. A team this good can't take it's chances with a knuckleball in the playoffs.
The Sox need to add someone like Garza or John Danks from the Chicago White Sox. Danks has one huge win to his name: the one-game playoff win in 2008. As much as I would like to trust Miller in the playoffs, a rookie probably isn't the best option for a team with the second-highest payroll in the league.
Of course this is a moot point if Buchholz is healthy. But if ESPN never talked about moot points, how would they survive?