On this Sunday Morning we sit about 77 hours from the July 31 Non-waiver trade deadline. It is speculated that the Red Sox are hunting for a relief pitcher ( righty, preferably), a starter, and maybe a third baseman or a slight chance of looking for a corner outfielder( either offensive player would need to be a right handed hitter to help balance the line up. ) Here is a team by team recap of the likely sellers, with players available in position of need for Boston. First AL teams:
White Sox- SP Jake Peavy, RP Matt Lindstrom, Jesse Crain ( on DL currently), Alex Rios
Twins- SP/RP Mike Pelfrey, (RP Glen Perkins could be a big Sox target, be is unavailable per reports from all quarters).
Angels- RP Scott Downs
Astros- SP Bud Norris, RP Jose Veras
Royals- SP Ervin Santana, RP Luke Hochevar ( these two could be had even though KC may not be sellers in the true sense)
Mariners- After a recent hot streak they claim not to be sellers, but SP Joe Saunders and RP Oliver Perez are trade candidates.
This list gives us five starting pitching targets. I will list them in what I believe is Sox level of interest. Peavy, Norris, Pelfrey, Santana, and Joe Saunders. However on Pelfrey, Peter Gammons has reported the Red Sox have interest in Pelfrey as a bullpen guy( and they have interest in KC's Luke Hochevar who also has a starter's background). Joe Saunders would seem to be Erik Bedard v2.0. Pass. Reports say the Royals want at least a Garza type haul for Santana, who like Garza is a free agent at year's end. I suspect the Sox would have rather ponied up for Garza than to give the same package for Ervin.
That leaves Bud Norris and Peavy. I think the Sox would like to find a younger guy than could control for years not just a Garza-type rental. Norris fits that bill, but if Houston sticks to their reported extremely high demand of multiple prospects, Boston should pass. Is Norris really any better for Boston in years to come than their own inventory of young starters? I think Peavy is their target because he helps this year and is signed for $14.5M for 2014. It will all depend on the cost in players. Will Middlebrooks is the name rumored most often, but I suspect one of the top pitching prospects would go as well, plus a lower level kid or two. Would you do Middlebrooks, Ranaudo, Michael Almanzar, and Sean Coyle for Peavy?? I would at least think long and hard about it.
As far as bullpen help, on the list above , besides Pelfrey and Hochevar, the most attractive name is likely Matt Lindstrom. It would be Jesse Crain if he was not on the DL right now, he may need to be an August trade candidate for some one. Perhaps Peavy and Lindstrom come in the same package. At least one report from Chicago claims the Red Sox are more interested in Lindstrom than Peavy.
The only right hand bat listed is also from the Chisox, Alex Rios. He is on the market but I think he will go to a team with more pressing offensive needs and he may bring more than the Sox should pay.
Now to the National League sellers:
Marlins- RP Michael Dunn, RP Steve Chisek( like Glen Perkins an attractive target, but not likely available.)
Mets- RP Bobby Parnell, RP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Marlon Byrd
Cubs- RP Kevin Gregg, RP James Russell, OF Nate Schierholtz, and according to one report Theo may take offers on SP Jeff Samardzija.
Brewers- SP Yovanni Gallardo, SP Kyle Lohse, RP John Axford, RP Mike Gonzalez, 3B Aramis Ramirez( currently on DL)
Padres- RP Huston Street, RP Luke Gregerson
And two teams that may or may not be sellers:
Giants- OF Hunter Pence, RP Sergio Romo, RP Javier Lopez, and maybe Tim Linecum
Phillies- 3B Michael Young, RP Jonathan Paplebon, SP Cliff Lee
Assuming Chisek and Parnell are really not readily available the best bullpen options are either John Axford and the pair for the Padres. Especially Luke Gregerson, who is often called the best NL set up man. Sergio Romo may be interesting as well, but I do not think the Red Sox will overpay for a closer based on Uehara's performance so far. And Paplebon sure as hell is not shipping up to Boston
As far as hitters go, Pence is the same as Alex Rios, he would help but the Sox will likely spend their chips on pitching. Michael Young, please I would rather have Brock Holt on my team than Michael Young at this stage of their careers. Aramis Ramirez, after he is off the DL with a knee sprain and proving he is healthy could be an August target.
Other than Cliff Lee ( more on Lee in a moment), the Brewers pair of Gallardo and Lohse are about it, if the lone report about Samardzija is not accurate( and Theo would want a ton for a 28 year old established, cost effective hurler). Lohse, may or may not truly be on the market depending on which report you read and Gallardo before this year was basically a #1 starter, but has fallen completely off this year. Not only in his numbers, which are awful, but in his velocity and more. I may go there but not at the cost of more than one top ten type prospect.
Cliff Lee. Ever since last July's deadline his name has bandied about. At the All Star break, he was not on the table per GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. But the Phillies have lost nearly all their games since and now the whispers are growing the Phillies will sell. Lee even at age 34 is pitching as well as ever. He is owed around $75 million on his existing contract through 2015. So he is no rental for 2013 only. The Red Sox must be interested, and can use that $75M to their advantage. Generally speaking the more money the trading team eats the more in quality and quantity of prospects are expected in return. Other than the Dodgers( who reportedly are not interested) and the Yankees ( still trying to cut their 2014 payroll AND re-sign Cano) who else could go to the Phillies and say we will give you two mid top ten type prospects and offer to take the whole $75M off the Phillies hands? The Angels? All ready drowning in bad long term deals. Texas? They might, but they just gave up 3 or 4 good kids for Garza, and are looking for a bat now. The Orioles would love Lee, but Angelos will never shell out the cash. If the Red Sox make a big trade this is the place.
As far as players the Sox could trade there are several on the current roster depending the type of deal. Lavarnway, Iglesias, Nava, Workman, and Britton would be in the discussion at least. As far as the Sox top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are untouchable, even for Lee. ( OK if the Phils would do Lee for JBJr straight up, Boston might do that). Garin Cecchini and Henry Owens are the closest to being untouchable without being there that you can get. The group of pitchers Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and Anthony Ranaudo would be on the table only for a starting pitcher( Workman and Britton, too). Bryce Brentz, Deven Marrero, and Michael Almanzar could all be traded. Catchers Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez likely stay put.
The rumors and actual deals should heat any time from now until Wed. at 4 pm. Check in hear for more information.