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Friday, June 1, 2012

Hot Stove Beginning to Simmer

With roughly two months left until the non-waiver trade deadline, the Red Sox still have plenty of time to determine whether they are going to be buyers or sellers.  At 26-25, the Sox find themselves only 3 games out of first.  And that's with all the injuries that they've had to endure, thus far.  One would have to assume that this team is going to get a huge boost once the likes of Ellsbury, Crawford, Bailey and Dice-K make their respective returns.

In the meantime, however, let's take a look at the two directions this team could take as the deadline approaches.  Clearly, the Sox have a good shot at making the playoffs when you factor in the newly added second Wild Card spot.  Yet, one has to wonder, will this extra spot give more mediocre teams a false sense of confidence that they still have an outside chance of making the playoffs?  If so, that vastly decreases the number of teams who will become "sellers".  More teams believing they're buyers = higher cost to acquire even mediocre talent (see the Jeff Suppan">Jeff Suppan trade in 2003).

Jeff Suppan (Photo Credit:
Let's take a look at the Red Sox and break them down as both Buyers and Sellers.

Should they continue to win games and ascend the standings in the A.L. East, what pieces could they conceivably look for?  Well, pitching always seems to be the one constant thing that every good team needs.  Specifically starting pitching.  Their depth has been tested and it's shown.  Even with Dice-K and Aaron Cook on the mend and seemingly not too far off from joining the big league staff, you could always use more starting pitching.  
  • Lars Anderson: He is and will continue to be blocked by Adrian Gonzalez.  As he begins to heat up in Pawtucket, teams needing young talent at 1B should look no further.  The Red Sox have even given Lars at-bats in the OF in order to try and find a spot for him on the big league roster.  
  • Kelly Shoppach: There are plenty of catcher-needy teams in the bigs right now, notably, the Nationals.  With Shoppach playing well in limited time, could another team give up a decent prospect in return?  Then the Sox could easily call-up Ryan Lavarnway and have a 1-2 catching tandem of Salty and Lavarnway.  Not too shabby.
  • Jose Iglesias: Now, before you go and chastise me, keep in mind, this is all speculative.  With the emergence of Mike Aviles this season, could the Red Sox deem Iglesias expendable?  You can never rule anything out, especially considering the potential haul a prospect like Jose could reel in.   
Let's face it - even with the great effort this team has been displaying lately, they aren't playing with a full deck.  They're down their entire starting OF and have had to employ the likes of Scott Podsednik, Daniel Nava and Marlon Byrd.  And while they've all helped this team in one way or another, the longer you need to rely on AAAA talent, the more they become exposed.  So with that said, here are some pieces the Sox could look to move, should they want to sell.

Trade chips:
  • Lars Anderson (see above): Regardless if the Sox are winning or losing, they have their first base position locked up for years to come.  They just need to hope Lars continues to develop and increase his worth and value to other teams.
  • Kelly Shoppach (see above): Signed to a one-year contract, the Sox could look to move Shoppach and hope for a decent prospect in return.  
  • Marlon Byrd: Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return from injury, there won't be much room for Marlon Byrd.  While it's doubtful the Sox could get much in return, in a losing season, Byrd holds little to no value for the Red Sox.
  • Cody Ross: On a very team-friendly 1 yr. contract, Ross could make an impact on a playoff hopeful team.  Much like shot of adrenaline he provided for the Giants back in 2010.  Holding his own defensively, Ross provides good pop from the right side of the plate and with past playoff experience, could be a great influence on a young team.
With still so much time left in the first half of the season, it's difficult to gauge a teams thought process.  As we move closer to July, however, I'll touch on the Trade Deadline topic again and again, as it's personally one of my favorite times of the season. 

Let us know what you think about the Sox changes of becoming buyers or sellers.  Who should be expendable?  Who's not going anywhere?

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