In the offseason, the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford and traded for Adrian Gonzalez, one of the most expensive shopping sprees in the history of free agency. That being said, they didn't leave many needs for the trade deadline.
After an odd start, the team is playing as expected. It is first in every major offensive category and, more importantly, first in the AL East.
So why wouldn't the Red Sox be buying at the deadline? Let's take a look.
They NEED Clay Buchholz. When healthy, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Buchholz make up the best 1-2-3 punch in the American League.
With the emergence of Josh Reddick as a talented fourth outfielder (or replacement for JD Drew), the Red Sox don't have a glaring need. Some might point to shortstop or catcher as places to upgrade, but what is out there? Jamey Carroll? Chris Iannetta? They aren't much better than the status quo.
Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon make up a deadly back end of the bullpen. Jacoby Ellsbury is enjoying a career year at the plate to add to his superior defensive centerfield. What else do you want, greedy Beantowners?
Boston doesn't have a need that fits with any decent available trade partner. And they don't have that young prospect starter to dangle that would be necessary to get a Hunter Pence.
The shortstops available are in the mold of Rafael Furcal, Jamey Carroll or Clint Barmes. Furcal is past his prime, and has multiple health issues. Carroll and Barmes are unspectacular at best.
The argument could be made that the Sox could use another starter, but this is a team planning for the playoffs, and three excellent starters is enough in October. Some combination of Lackey, Wakefield and others will get them there.
There is a limit to the Red Sox checkbook. They signed two nine-figure contracts this offseason and have the second highest payroll in baseball, behind the division rivals in New York.
With Beltran headed for the bay and Hunter Pence and B.J. Upton likely requiring too much from the Beantown farm, the next best outfielders on the list are the likes of Alfonso Soriano or Kosuke Fukudome. And Boston would likely have to eat a chunk of that salary.
There's not enough of an upgrade there to make it worth it, especially with the emergence of Reddick.
Stick with what works. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Use whatever cliche you want, but the Red Sox are rolling, looking every bit the World Series favorite they were at the season's outset.
October is coming, and there is no reason to break up the flow with a new personality in the locker room, especially considering that wouldn't likely come with a significant on-field upgrade.
There is value to showing your club you believe they can win as is. The team gains confidence knowing management feels comfortable going forward that they are built to win a title with the pieces currently in place.
There is a beast lurking in the Bronx which is likely to make the playoffs, either as the division champ or as the wild card.
While the Yankees are actively pursuing a desperately needed starting pitcher, Boston sends the message "We believe we can beat you right now. We dont need anyone else."
The concept is similar to a poker player deciding to trade in none of his cards. The rest of the table rethinks their decisions, knowing he feels comfortable with the hand he was dealt.
Well played, Mr. Epstein.