Let's make a deal: Sox should target starting pitching

The Guru
Contributing Writer

With the trade deadline of July 31 fast approaching, will the Red Sox be looking to buy and make a push towards the playoffs?

The Red Sox sit atop first place in the AL East by 1 1/2 games over the Baltimore Orioles, three games over the third place Yankees and the Rays are going nowhere at just five back.

Looking at the Sox roster it would seem pitching would be an obvious target. With Jon Lester struggling (7.24 ERA in his last six starts) and Clay Buchholz' health (he hasn't made a start since June 2) uncertain, adding a quality arm to the starting rotation should be a priority for general manager Ben Cherington.

Some arms that may be available include the Cubs Matt Garza, Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers and Houston's Bud Norris. To get any of these names it will take at least one high profile prospect. By all reports, the Red Sox are not willing to deal Jackie Bradley Jr, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa. These prospects are major league ready and represent the future roster in Boston.

The one player available that remains the most intriguing? The Phillies Cliff Lee.

It would be a difficult deal to pull off. While Lee is still a number one starter, he is owed at least $78 million through the 2015 season. As Dennis Eckersley would say, that's a lot of iron. Are the Red Sox willing to trade high prospects and take on that much payroll for a pitcher turning 35 in August? It would seem the Sox ownership/management philosophy has changed regarding "big ticket" items like Lee.

But Lee in a Red Sox "B" would make one tough rotation in a weak American League.

There is just over a month to go before the deadline. The Red Sox will certainly be looking for an arm to make a real run at the playoffs. A possible closer (Jonathan Papelbon anyone?) and middle-relief would be a help. But if this team is going anywhere, another starter should be the number one target. Are the Red Sox ready to make a deal?

What are your thoughts on possible Sox trade options? Leave a comment below.

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