Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Dye has tools Sox need

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Of all the rumored deals you've heard associated with the Red Sox at the upcoming trade deadline, the one that has fallen through -- at least for the time being -- is probably the one that might have helped the Sox most.

There's no question Chicago White Sox veteran Jermaine Dye would have been a solid righthanded bat, a good defensive outfielder, and a good person on the team. He would have fit nicely with the players and he knows manager Terry Francona, who coached him in Oakland.

As reported in Friday's Globe, there was a three-way deal talked about in which the Red Sox would have wound up with Dye. One of the players the Sox would have had to give up was Hideki Okajima, according to one major league source, which the team was not prepared to do -- and shouldn't have done.

Dye, 33, will be a free agent at season's end, so given that Boston has J.D. Drew tied up for five seasons, he would have been a half-season rental. Still, a team wants its half-season rental to be happy, unlike last season, for example, when the Dodgers traded for Julio Lugo and he was disgruntled because he couldn't play shortstop.

Yet, there doesn't appear to be any way the Red Sox could guarantee Dye enough playing time to keep him satisfied.

What Dye would have done is protect the Sox in case David Ortiz's balky knee forces him out of the lineup. It would allow the team to rest Ortiz or Drew against tough lefthanded pitchers. And Dye would probably like the environment, the players, the pennant race, and Francona.

This might have been a better trade for the Sox than going after Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira.

According to major league sources, the Red Sox' package of players on the table for Texas did not include any of the A-list prospects (Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester), and therefore the Braves' proposed deal (which includes catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia) trumps it.

Dye got off to a slow start this year, but has begun to hit like the player he was last season (.315, 44 HRs, 120 RBIs). Dye is hitting .234 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs.

The Sox probably would not have been able to sign Dye long term, which is why the team wasn't willing to give up a major player for him.

The Sox still need a righthanded bat, but they don't feel they need someone of Dye's caliber, which is why outfielder Bobby Kielty is still in play.

Despite reports that there is renewed interest around the league in Wily Mo Peña, one Sox source said that, as of yesterday, there were still no takers.

It's hard to say what the Sox might do before the deadline. They will not trade their big three prospects, so they appear to be limited. But if there's a way they can restoke the Dye fires, they will.