Red Sox Trade Rumors Round-Up

Despite continued troubles on the field, the Red Sox still appear to be in something of a holding pattern at boardroom level, waiting until the last possible moment to declare themselves buyers or sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let’s take a look at the Red Sox trade rumors though, shall we?

In his latest column, famed sportswriter Peter Gammons offered his thoughts on a variety of Red Sox-related topics. Most importantly, he wrote that, while optimistic coming out of Red Soxthe All-Star break, Boston officials have been forced by the team’s five-game losing streak to consider which Major League players could possibly be sold off. However, simultaneously, Gammons suggests that the Red Sox are still grappling with the notion of pursuing either Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels, the premier starting pitchers on the trading block this summer.

Indeed, Rob Bradford of WEEI recently reported that Boston may trade for Cueto mainly to give themselves a running start in the sweepstakes when the Reds’ ace becomes a free agent this winter. I personally don’t see the logic here; the Red Sox are nine games adrift of a guaranteed playoff berth, and expending valuable prospects on a player who will be available for cash alone in four months just isn’t something this front office has ever been inclined to do.

Bradford also says that, from a philosophical viewpoint, the Red Sox covet young, cost-controlled arms. In that case, I struggle to see them being legitimate players in the market for Hamels, who will be 32 going into next season, and will likely cost too much in terms of prospects for Boston to be seriously interested.

Nonetheless, the Red Sox did send high-ranking executive Allard Baird to watch Hamels’ last start, as ESPN’s Gordon Edes and others have reported, which would suggest they still feel compelled to complete due diligence on all available players. However, as Ken Rosenthal conveyed in his latest FOX Sports video, Boston would be just one of several teams chasing Hamels, alongside the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers and possibly Orioles.

Ultimately, the Red Sox have two things making life difficult just now: the standings, and the calendar. Boston is currently a last-place team, perhaps more likely to lose ninety games than overcome the surging Yankees. Furthermore, just ten days remain until the trade deadline, meaning large and crucial decisions will have to be made in a short and panic-filled timeframe. Right now, we can only sit tight and wait for the first domino to fall.

Why the Red Sox Should Buy, Not Sell

Two weeks is a long time in baseball, as the Red Sox are currently discovering to their benefit. In the last 13 games, Boston has gone 9-4, transitioning from 10 to 5 games below .500, and changing the outlook of a mediocre American League. Once hopeless cellar-dwellers, the Red Sox took two of three from Tampa Bay; three of four from Toronto; two of three from Houston; and the series opener against Miami, hauling themselves back into contention.

On June 27th, the Sox were nine games out in the AL East and eight adrift of a Wildcard Red Soxspot. Now, their division deficit is just five games, while the Wildcard is only five-and-a-half games out of reach. When the East-leading Yankees roll into town this weekend, the Red Sox may have an opportunity to draw level in the standings, a situation that seemed virtually impossible just three weeks ago.

In light of this resurgence, Boston’s need to add talent, rather than shed salary, at the upcoming trade deadline is even more pronounced. Having invested heavily in elite talent over the winter, then watched it struggle but enjoy a renaissance, Ben Cherington would be wrong not to double down and reward his battling players by acquiring some reinforcements. David Ortiz said as much in a recent interview, articulating his hope that the front office “can get something that can help you continue winning games.”

So, what exactly is that “something” for the 2015 Red Sox? What does this team need to continue its forward momentum? Well, offensively, the Sox have really improved lately, to the point where the team now ranks in the top ten in hits, runs scored and OBP. Finally, the powerful lineup we all envisaged is coming to fruition, with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval joining Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia as consistently productive bats. I feel confident that, with the present lineup, the Red Sox will score enough runs to compete.

However, the pitching staff inspires no such confidence. Quite frankly, it’s a mess. Always has been, always will be, until management admits it’s mistakes and finally corrects them. Admittedly, Clay Buchholz has been tremendous recently, and Eduardo Rodriguez adds a youthful enthusiasm to proceedings, but the remainder of this rotation, namely Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, has simply been awful.

Porcello currently has a 6.08 ERA and 1.40 WHIP; Miley is at 4.50 and 1.44; and Masterson tops the field with his astonishing marks of 6.14 and 1.68. Essentially, regardless of the money they’re owed, and regardless of the commitment Red Sox management has made to these guys, this team isn’t going to reach the postseason with truly woeful pitchers starting three out of every five games. You could tolerate one of the trio sticking around to fill out the rotation, but two makes this team bad, and three makes it borderline embarrassing.

Red SoxSo, what starters are available? Of course, Cole Hamels is on the block, but new Phillies chief Andy MacPhail may wait until the offseason to move him. Elsewhere, Miami may deal Dan Haren and Mat Latos; San Diego could take their annual offers on Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner; while Cincinnati is likely to seriously consider bids for Mike Leake and ace Johnny Cueto.

Whether the Red Sox’ perpetually disappointing front office is finally prepared to deal prospects for a rotation upgrade, or indeed let a strong two-week run force them into acquiring talent, remains to be seen. But, philosophically, there is no doubt. This team needs new blood, new stars, new hope. This team must buy at the deadline. After all, they’re the Boston Red Sox, whose loyal fans deserve the opportunity to dream again.