Grading Boston Red Sox Deadline Trades: Can the Team Compete for a Title?

Solomon RyanCorrespondent IIAugust 2, 2011

SEATTLE - JULY 29:  Starting pitcher Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on July 29, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

It is always essential for a playoff-contending team to add at least one player to its roster in order to make the step from a playoff team to a World Series team.

Some teams have gone for the big trade. The Phillies acquired Hunter Pence, the Giants picked up Carlos Beltran and the Indians, desperately needing a starter, traded for Ubaldo Jimenez.

Other teams, like the Red Sox, chose not to put all their money in the pot. Instead, management chose a strategic plan to make the Red Sox a World Series team: they traded for the positions needing the most improvement--shortstop and starting pitching.

It was no blockbuster deal, but the Red Sox did acquire some solid veteran players to help the already first-place team.

Getting shortstop Mike Aviles and pitcher Erik Bedard to play for the Red Sox automatically boosted the team to being a shoe-in to win the World Series.

Even if the Red Sox didn’t trade for anyone, they would still be a championship contender, but the trades just make them that much better.

Of the two acquisitions, Bedard can contribute more to the team. Recent news reports have commented that Clay Buchholz, one of the Red Sox premier starting pitchers, will move to the 60-day disabled list.

The Red Sox probably knew this and that played a big part in the Bedard trade. That’s not to take anything away from Bedard. He is a solid starting pitcher. This year on the Seattle Mariners, he had a 3.45 ERA and pitched 91.1 innings.

Bedard is also no stranger to the American League East, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 2002-2007. Back then, he was one of the few good players on the Orioles and outpitched almost every opponent in the division.

In his last two seasons with the Orioles, Bedard won 15 games in 2006 and 13 in 2007. These are great numbers when you play on a bad team, and in the AL East.

Bedard will surely help out as a starter for the rest of the season on the Red Sox if he can stay healthy.

Even though Buchholz is injured, the Red Sox still are showing no signs of letting up their first-place lead. Since Buchholz’s last start on June 16, the Red Sox are 25-13 and are currently two games up on the Yankees for the best record in the American League.

The Yankees also chose not to make any major deals before the trade deadline even though they desperately need another starting pitcher.

One of the other big players the Red Sox were fortunate to pick up was Mike Aviles. With shortstop Jed Lowrie injured, the Red Sox needed help at that particular position.

Sharing time with Marco Scutaro or taking over the position, Aviles is one of the best defensive shortstops and an average hitter. The Red Sox don’t need that much hitting, considering they lead the league in almost every offensive category.

Cashing in on Bedard and Aviles merits a B grade for the Red Sox. It is not an A because they didn’t pick up a huge player like a Carlos Beltran or Rafael Furcal. But, I don’t think the Red Sox needed such a big player. They have all the pieces there; they just have to convert.

That being said, we won’t know how these deals turn out until the very end of the season, when one team will hold the World Series trophy.