Everything still up in the air for Sox as trade deadline approaches

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

With the July 31 trade deadline sneaking up, Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington is still looking into making some moves. Cherington has scouts out searching for relief pitchers, right-handed hitters, and possibly a starting pitcher, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

As of now, relief is top priority. The Sox are still looking into White Sox reliever Matt Thornton and are keeping their eyes on another White Sox reliever, Jesse Crain. Right-handed Crain is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder, but his 0.74 ERA is enticing. It had originally been reported that the Sox wanted another lefty in the bullpen, but Cherington said otherwise.

“I don’t know if it’s as important whether it’s left or right,” Cherington said according to the Globe. “We need good pitchers.”

Will Middlebrooks has a few weeks to prove himself before the trade deadline.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

There has also been talk of Thornton stepping in as a closer. He has been a closer before, and when he was, left-handed batters were batting just .163 against him. The Sox are also reportedly watching Jonathan Papelbon, the Mets’ Bobby Parnell, and the Marlins’ Steve Cishek. Cherington said he believes that Koji Uehara can remain the closer for the rest of the season, but that decision is ultimately John Farrell’s.

As far as the right-handed hitter search goes, the Sox are looking at Phillies’ third baseman Michael Young. The Phillies had scouts in Anaheim watching the Sox as well as in the Sox farm system. Young has a fairly efficient bat, and might be good enough to fill in for the struggling Will Middlebrooks.

But according to the New York Daily News, the Phillies are looking into trading Young for the Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain, which would free up a little over $4 million for them. Not to mention, Triple-A’s Xander Bogaerts and Double-A’s Garin Cecchini are both gunning for Middlebrooks’ job right now.

As far as starting pitching goes, Cherington doesn’t seem too worried with Buchholz most likely returning after the All-Star break. If a good trade becomes available though, the Sox could see a new starting pitcher.

But there’s still the question of whether or not the Sox need to make any major moves. All anyone can talk about in Boston is team chemistry. Sox management worked so hard for it, and every sports analyst stresses how much it has helped the team. So why bring anyone in and risk ruining that?

“The most efficient way to do it would be to ignore [the trade market] completely,” Cherington said according to the Globe. “But then you run the risk of not having enough guys out there. We have to strike the right balance in the middle . . . I do think that if you can find solutions internally, that’s always the better way to go.”

The balance has to supplement what the team already has without losing too much within the system. The Sox have first place by 3 and ½ games and have been sitting around the top for the entire season. There’s no need to make any major changes. But at the same time, you can’t rely on everyone staying healthy for another three months.

Cherington wants to improve from within, which is a luxury that the Sox have by having a very fertile farm system. Still, anything is possible if something promising comes along.

“I think we’re in a good position of being able to do some things if we need to,” Cherington said. “At the same time you want to protect the young core players that you think will be a big part of your future.”

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