With the Red Sox’ 2013 season over half completed, the team is surprisingly right in the pennant race in the American League. After a forgettable 2012 campaign that they finished with their worst record since the mid-1960s, the Red Sox have given fans new hope this season. But the season is far from over, and this team can make some improvements, especially in the starting and relief pitcher departments, before the MLB trade deadline July 31. Here’s a look at the options and some players who, for the right price, could head to Boston for the stretch run of 2013. Next
Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox (SP)
The latest on Jake Peavy is that he has packed up his locker in the White Sox clubhouse, expecting to be traded in the next day or so. ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Red Sox have serious interest, and they will "take the money [Peavy is owed], or they'll give up the prospects, but they won't do both," which is what Chicago ultimately wants, putting more skepticism on whether this deal will end up getting done. Oakland has reportedly moved on from Peavy, and deals to St. Louis and Atlanta seem unlikely at this point, so that leaves Boston still as the most likely place the righthander will land. Next
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (OF)
A new update in the Red Sox trade market watch is that they are heavily pursuing Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Red Sox "may be willing to part with whatever it takes," to aquire Stanton. Stanton is hitting .262 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs for the hapless Marlins this season, and Miami has been known to sell their biggest pieces in the past (Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Hanley Ramirez, etc.). However, the Marlins have insisted that Stanton is not for sale, so it will be seen in the next 24 hours whether any movement is made on this front. Next
Josh Outman, Colorado Rockies (RP)
A recent report in the final day before the trade deadline says that the Red Sox, as well as the Indians, are interested in Rockies reliever Josh Outman, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The lefthander has made 38 appearances for Colorado with an ERA of 4.50. What makes him a more interesting option, however, is that Outman in under contract through 2015, meaning he would be more than just a rental for any team looking to deal for him. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the asking price for Outman is reported to be "really high." Next
Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals (RP)
A pitcher that the Red Sox have shown significant interest in the final week before the trade deadline is Luke Hochevar. Hochevar has been very good for the struggling Royals, holding an ERA under 2.00 and recording 38 strikeouts against just 10 walks in 31 appearances on the year. Hochevar is in the final year of his contract, however, so an acquisition by Boston could be just a rental. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington will have to see what kind of prospects Kansas City would be looking for in order to deal the ace of their bullpen. In recent days, however, it appears that as long as the Royals keep winning, and are not blown away by an offer, Kansas City will be keeping Hochevar, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler. Next
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (SP)
The Cliff Lee saga pobbisly to the Red Sox saga continues, as it looks like the Phillies are willing to deal Lee, but only for the right price. It was reported by Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Red Sox are the most likely destination for the lefthander, but the Phillies are asking for several prospects, cash, as well as "your first born, second and third born, too," according to another executive. The Red Sox are not prepared to give away top prospects Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley, Jr., so unless Philadelphia lowers their asking price, it remains unlikely that Lee will land in Boston. Next
Bud Norris, Houston Astros (SP)
The latest on Bud Norris is that he has been scratched from his start on Tuesday, presumably due to being all but traded from Houston. Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown is reporting that the Red Sox are very strong contendrs for the Astros' righthander, even more so than they are for the Phillies' Cliff Lee. Norris would be a nice back of the rotation option for Boston, and his $3 million salary is one that would be a bargin compared to the double-digit millions deals that Lee and Jake Peavy are still owed. Next
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers (RP)
After Francisco Rodriguez was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles, another Brewers pitcher that the Red Sox have turned their attention to is former closer John Axford. The "Ax Man" is one of the Brewers pitchers that the Red Sox have scouted heavily, according to the Globe's Nick Cafardo. Axford had his best season in 2011, recording 46 saves with a 1.95 ERA and helped the Brewers reach the NLCS, where they lost to the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. This season, however, Axford has been less reliable, losing his spot as closer to Rodriguez before K-Rod was dealt to Baltimore. Axford has posted a 3.38 ERA in 49 appearances this season, recording 16 holds and 43 strikeouts against 17 walks. Next
Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins (RP)
Needing bullpen help more than ever at this point in the season, a reliever the Red Sox could take a chance on is Minnesota’s Glen Perkins. Perkins has been lights out for the otherwise hapless Twins this season, posting an ERA of 1.93 with 45 strikeouts and 20 saves over the first half of 2013. For his efforts, Perkins was named to the 2013 AL All-Star team along with teammate Joe Mauer, the only two Twins named to the squad. With the Twins falling deeper and deeper into the standings, the time could be now to try and see if the Sox can pry Perkins away from Minnesota, but it remains to be seen whether the asking price in prospects may be too high for the Red Sox liking. Next
Javier Lopez, San Francisco Giants (RP)
Now that the San Francisco have begun to fall further out of the playoff picture, it appears that they have begun to enter seller mode, in which the Red Sox have inquired interest in lefthander Javier Lopez, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lopez, who previously pitched for Boston from 2006 to 2009, has been very good for the defending World Series champion Giants, holding an ERA of 1.64 in 22 innings pitched this season, recording 24 strikeouts against just nine walks. Lopez could be an interesting piece for the Red Sox to bring back, as he most likely will not garner the same caliber of prospects that some of the more premier relievers, and could be a solid lefthander to add to the fold following Andrew Miller being lost for the season. Next
Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants (RP)
Another Giants reliever the Red Sox could have on their radar is Sergio Romo. Romo, who has been the Giants’ closer this season, had a very solid first half of the 2013 season, recording 21 saves in 24 chances with an ERA of 2.86, also striking out 38 against just nine walks. The Giants have begun to slide out of playoff contention in the National League, and several teams, including the Red Sox, have begun to kick the tires on acquiring some of their outstanding pitching that has helped San Francisco win two World Series titles in the past three seasons. Next
Matt Lindstrom, Chicago White Sox (RP)
According to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo, one key reliever the Red Sox currently have their top scout out watching is White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom could be excellent out of the bullpen for Boston if they decide to make a deal with Chicago, as the righthander held a solid 3.03 ERA over the first half of 2013, appearing in 43 games and striking out 27 in 35.2 innings. However, the Red Sox' July 12 trade for White Sox reliever Matt Thornton could significantly reduce Boston's interest in Lindstrom. Next
Bobby Parnell, New York Mets (RP)
The Red Sox are now looking like they need all the bullpen help they can get after it was discovered Andrew Miller would require foot surgery, and Boston has turned its attention to New York Mets reliever Bobby Parnell. The 28-year-old righthander has been very good for the Mets this season, posting 16 saves in 19 chances, while striking out 35 in 40 total innings with a 2.41 ERA. Parnell could be a good fit in Boston due to his low risk salary (only due $1.7 million this season) and consistent numbers. He could fit well as an eighth inning bridge to Koji Uehara, or even close games for Boston if Uehara begins to struggle. Either way, the talent and consistency that Parnell brings would be nothing but a plus for a Red Sox bullpen that now has two mainstays (Miller and Joel Hanarhan) out for the season. Next
Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox (OF)
With the trade deadline almost three weeks away, GM Ben Cherington may be looking for another right handed outfielder for the second half of the season, and reports have surfaced that the Sox could be looking at Chicago’s Alex Rios. The White Sox have fallen to 18 games under .500, and are a team that most clubs are looking at to be a major seller at this season’s deadline. Only one of the Red Sox five outfielders (Ellsbury, Victorino, Nava, Gomes, Carp) is primarily a right handed hitter, so it makes sense that the Sox would be looking for a solid righty who can also play good defense. Rios would provide a solid righthanded spark in the outfield, currently hitting just .267, but with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and a .322 on base percentage. He could also provide more solid defense that Johnny Gomes, and has the speed if needed to steal a base or two. Next
Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers (SP)
Depending on the Red Sox starting pitching needs, a name that has popped up in trade circles has been Kyle Lohse. The Brewers’ righthander, who posted a record of 3-6 in 16 starts in the first three months of 2013, with an ERA of 3.63 over that span, could be a stabilizing presence in the rotation for a contender looking for an extra arm, according to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Lohse may also not require the kind of prospects other teams may be asking the Red Sox to give up, but the Sox rotation needs will become clearer as the end of the July approaches. Next
Joe Blanton, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (SP)
A rumbling on the trade market entering July has been that of Joe Blanton. The Angels’ Blanton, who had a terrible start to the year (0-7 with a 6.62 ERA in nine starts before his first win of the year on May 23), has picked it up considerably in June, posting a 3.44 ERA in five starts in the month, lowering his overall ERA to 5.07, still high, but much improve after his disastrous beginning.
After winning their last six games in June, and four of their first six in July, the Angels have stormed back to at least put themselves in the playoff picture, and have some tough choices to make to see if they want to keep pushing for this season, or try and build for the future. Next
Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins (RP)
Steve Cishek, closer for the Miami Marlins, would be a great fit for the end of the Red Sox bullpen. The 27-year-old Falmouth native has pitched very well for the Marlins this season, posting an ERA of 0.75 with nine saves in 12 total innings in June, and had an ERA of 3.15 and 32 strikeouts in 34.1 innings after the first three months of the season. Miami, who has already dealt started Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers, is showing that they are once again ready to sell, and it will be seen whether the asking price for Cishek’s services would be right in order to bring the young righthander back to his home state. Next
Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies (3B)
According to the New York Post’s George King, the Red Sox are “very interested” in Young if he becomes available via trade. The 36-year-old Young is a free agent at the end of the season and has a no-trade clause in his contract. He’s been solid at the plate for the Phillies this season. There are at least 10 teams that have contacted the Phillies about Young's service so far and it looks like they are hearing offers for their veteran third baseman. Next
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers (SP)
Another possible option for the Red Sox and others at the trade deadline could be Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. The righthander went 3-1 in April and 2-2 in June, when he had a 2.32 ERA in a month when he had 24 striekouts and 10 walks.
Gallardo also had three starts in June when he did not give up an earned run in 21 innings. Gallardo is owed $8 million this season, and if Milwaukee continues to fall out of the playoff hunt, they could be willing to deal Gallardo to a contender. Next
Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies (RP)
Despite the great start, one area of recent concern is the Red Sox’ bullpen. The bullpen originally considered one of the best in the league has fallen on hard times with one closer, free-agent signing Joel Hanrahan, out for the year after Tommy John surgery, and another, Andrew Bailey, suffering three blown saves in his last five chances before being removed as closer.
So the name that keeps coming back up in trade talks is former Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who left Boston after 2011 as a free agent. The Red Sox have been named as one of three teams that have inquired about his services, according to the Globe's Nick Cafardo. Papelbon hit a bit of a rough stretch, blowing saves in four of five chances in late June. However he did not blow his first save until June 17.
Papelbon’s price tag may be an issue because he is owed more than $13 million for this season, but unlike other teams, the Red Sox may shy away from him due to off the field reasons rather than his performance on the mound, namely the negative fashion he left Boston and repeated claims that his Red Sox career is long behind him. The speculation will continue to swirl, though, as at this point he remains the best possible relief option for any team looking to bolster its bullpen for the stretch run. Next
Kevin Gregg, Chicago Cubs (RP)
In the reliever market, it looks like the team selling the most is the Chicago Cubs, and one of their biggest trade chips is righthander Kevin Gregg. Gregg is having an excellent season, despite the Cubs’ continued struggles, recording 11 saves on the year with a 1.11 ERA in 25 appearances.
The Cubs are looking for prospects to rebuild their organization, and with Kevin Gregg’s trade value at a high point, the time to deal may be now for Chicago to try and get the most out of arguably their best reliever. Next
James Russell, Chicago Cubs (RP)
Another Cubs reliever who could be on the market is James Russell. A lefthanded set-up man, Russell could bring a solid reinforcement to a Sox bullpen depleted by injuries and ineffectiveness. He has appeared in 39 games and posted a 2.53 ERA – second on the Cubs – with 27 strikeouts and only 9 walks.
Russell's 11 holds leads the team, and shows that he can come in and put away an opposing offense in the eighth inning. His 2013 salary of $1.75 million also proves he could be an inexpensive, but effective, midseason acquisition for a team looking to improve the bullpen. Next
Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics (RP)
An enticing, although not as likely, trade possibility for the Red Sox is Oakland A’s pitcher Grant Balfour. Balfour has been the show-stopper for the A’s this year, who are currently neck-and-neck with the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West. Balfour has 19 saves and an ERA of 1.97 (it was 1.17 before a rough three-run outing against the Seattle Mariners on June 23).
Still, Balfour is one of the best relievers in the American League, and it would seem counterproductive at this point for Oakland to trade away its closer, even with his contract being up at the end of this season. But Billy Beane, the A’s general manager, has been known to make stranger trades in the past, so Balfour’s situation will definitely be re-evaluated depending on how the A’s perform throughout the month of July , and where they stand in the pennant race come the July 31 trade deadline. Back to the beginning
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