What The Red Sox Should Do At The Deadline

by Mark Gallant | Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
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Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, of Japan, celebrates after they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

General Manager Ben Cherington has already begun to trade away pieces and, in short, that is what he should continue doing. With Shane Victorino traded to the Angels for Josh Rutledge, the Red Sox still have a handful of trade-able pieces that they should get rid of. With two ugly losses to the White Sox wrapped around a ceremony highlighting one of the greatest players and time periods of Red Sox history, you have to laugh in bewilderment and wonder how this team has managed to get themselves in this situation. The fans were even chanting for Pedro as Wade Miley got clobbered in the first inning of last night’s game. Let’s take a look at what Cherington and co. should do in the short term to get themselves back in the mix for next season.

The most obvious move to be made is trading away Mike Napoli. Similar to Victorino, Napoli was a very important piece in the 2013 Red Sox World Series run and has gone down hill since. While Victorino’s trouble was staying on the field, Napoli’s problems have been at the plate. He is putting up career worst numbers in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage, but has been decent since the all-star break— which should help the Red Sox get rid of the veteran. According to reports, the Pirates have shown interest in the first baseman due to Pedro Alvarez‘s defensive inability. Hopefully another team or two is interested enough to drive the price up at least a little bit on the 33-year-old, but Cherington should take whatever he can get for him.

Another veteran piece is Alejandro De Aza. Everyone was surprised when he was putting up numbers towards the top of the league, but it’s not all that surprising that he’s come back to earth since the all-star break. The Red Sox gave up virtually nothing (Joe Gunkel) for De Aza at the beginning of June, but could probably get a return not too different from Victorino’s if they decide to move him. It would also give both Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley a chance to play on a regular basis for the rest of the season, something that has to be done before assessing the 2016 team.

There has been a good market for closers so far, which should have the Red Sox considering moving on from Koji Uehara. The 40-year-old has obviously come down from his 2013 dominance, but can still offer something to a contending team. If team’s aren’t willing to pay for a better option, such as Aroldis Chapman, Uehara could be the alternate route. However, Uehara is still under contract next season, so the Red Sox need to decide whether a 41-year-old Uehara can be a reliable closer for a contending team. Since so many teams now rely on dominant bullpens, the Red Sox would need to have a backup plan for next year to replace Uehara.

If the Red Sox are able to land a starting pitcher with term, I think that would also be smart. Cole Hamels is the big name out there, but there are other options on the Padres and Indians that are reportedly being shopped as well. Since the Red Sox farm system is so stacked, especially with position players, they could trade away some pieces either now or in the offseason for a pitcher.

The moral of the story is that the Red Sox need to come up with a plan for next year that will put them in a winning position. They were in a very similar position last year, but once again they are sitting in last place at the deadline. Let’s hope in a year from now, they are adding pieces for a postseason run.

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Mark Gallant
About the Author

Mark has contributed to isportsweb, the Yawkey Way Report, Fansided's Chowder and Champions, and The Hockey Writers. He is also the host of the weekly radio show Top Shelf Sports on Bryant University's WJMF radio. Follow him on Twitter @TopShelfSports5

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