With six days until the Major League Baseball Trading Deadline, the Boston Red Sox sit atop the American League East with a 62-37 record.
The Beantown crew are on a four game winning streak as they open a four game stint with the 42-59 Kansas City Royals. Usually at this time of year, Boston lands a spark to their team in order to ignite a fire as they head towards the pennant race.
Many are asking this year if the Red Sox will once again make a Victor Martinez or Jason Bay like deal. For all those who believe it will happen, I answer...
Don't get your hopes up.
Rumors and speculation have run amok in Boston as to what they need and what they must do in order to win it all again this year.
Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and the returning Carl Crawford have all been swinging a hot bat and the pitching has yet to see a major downfall.
Josh Beckett continues his hot streak despite the assumption of top annalists that he'd have a setback. John Lackey has done well over his past few starts.
And two of their prized pitchers in Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are on verge of returning. Lester will be returning to the squad by Monday and Buchholz has a timetable return of early August.
With that said, I wonder why many believe that the Sox are desperate for someone such as Carlos Beltran or Ubaldo Jimenez. Theo Epstein even said himself that the best acquisition for the team would be, "a healthy, Clay Buchholz."
That alone speaks of the status of the Red Sox in of itself. What the Boston Red Sox need is their team to fully heal and produce regularly, and the team should have no issues looking strong in the pennant race.
Does this mean the Red Sox are without flaws? Absolutely not. The boys from Beantown have been lacking production at the end of their rotation, their bullpen, and the right field position.
In the rotation, Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller have been passable starting pitchers. Even Kyle Weiland showed six passable innings against Baltimore last week, despite his 8.10 ERA.
Are these pitchers you want on a big market team such as Boston? Not exactly, but you mustn't forget that Buchholz and Lester are on their way back to the rotation. If Lester, Lackey, and Buchholz can remain consistent, I have no worries about the rotation with Wakefield or Miller in the back of it.
Wakefield is a horse who seemingly is better with age and Miller has impressed us. Not in "rookie phenom" fashion, but he has been admirable. Even if both men do struggle, Boston can solve their problem with their depth in the minor league system with someone such as Felix Doubront.
Right field production may be the Red Sox biggest flaw. J.D. Drew is heading to the disabled list to make room for Jon Lester and his replacement Josh Reddick has been nothing short of impressive.
Right now, Reddick has a .358 batting average with 4 home runs and almost 20 runs batted in. The Red Sox have seemingly found their solution internally.
Some feel as though a veteran presence is necessary for a playoff run, and while I admit it helps, who are they going to acquire? Carlos Beltran's price is too high and all that's left are sub par players such as Ryan Ludwick.
Is further depleting the minor league system worth a half year production from a questionable veteran? Why not keep using Reddick? If he struggles, there are others in the minor league system to use.
As far as the bullpen is concerned, it would be nice to see a move or two. Sure, the bullpen hasn't really been bad, but a tune up is appreciated. Again, I wouldn't go all out the way Boston did for Eric Gagne (*shivers*) years back, but I would do a small deal for someone even like Craig Breslow would do some good for the rotation.
Someone such as Mike Adams or Jason Isringhausen may come at a high asking price, and I feel it is not necessary to go all out for when the bullpen isn't horrid.
When push comes to shove, you are pretty much looking at your 2011 Boston Red Sox for the remainder of the year. Boston usually starts things off quietly and ends up making a major splash, but this team is a lot different than years past.
The acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford alone made this team so much stronger. While a trade here and there may benefit the team, Theo Epstein should not destroy the remnants of his farm system for a half year tune up.
Simply put, Boston doesn't need much and I doubt they'll do much either. If they do, I fear for the long term.