Red Sox looking to deal

The Guru
Contributing Writer

The Major League Baseball trade market is open for business. Let the haggling begin.

The Boston Red Sox, hanging onto first place in the AL East by a 1/2 game and in need of pitching, would appear to be one of the teams in a buying mood.

General Manager Ben Cherington said the Red Sox will be "aggressive." Red Sox owner John Henry said Wednesday the team can add salary, but does not want to mortgage its future.

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away, the Red Sox are said to be looking for a starter and a relief arm.

Boston has been linked to starters Jake Peavy, Bud Norris, Ervin Santana and relievers Luke Hochevar and Jesse Crain.

Let’s sift through the rumor mill and see who, if anyone, has a chance of joining the Sox as they push forward towards a pennant.

The hottest rumor links the Red Sox to Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy. Boston has sent scouts to Peavy’s last two starts and appear to be one of the frontrunners to land the starting pitcher.

ESPN’s Buster Olney appeared on WEEI Boston this week and said, “The guy who makes absolutely the most sense for the Red Sox is Jake Peavy.”

However, it’s thought the White Sox asking price could be a high one. Just this week the Texas Rangers gave up a top 3 prospect and two other players for Matt Garza. One would have to think Chicago would be looking for a similar haul. Will Middlebrooks' name has already been floated out there. The Red Sox may be reluctant to deal, but the idea is an interesting one, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Clay Buchholz. There is a very good chance Peavy lands in Boston.

Another name linked to the Sox is Kansas City Royals right-hander Ervin Santana. The rub on Santana is he is a free-agent at the end of the year and the Red Sox have stated they won’t give up top prospects just for a rental player.

If The Sox were to try and sign Santana longterm it would be expensive — at least $13 million per season — and his career pattern suggests too much inconsistency to lock up for five years safely. Cross him off the list.

The Houston Astros have been shopping starter Bud Norris. The Astros are likely looking for a big return for Norris since he's not a free agent until 2016. Norris isn't a top-tier pitcher, not even close, but he's decent and would make a solid back-half of the rotation starter.

It’s thought the Red Sox have expressed some interest, but they are concerned in Norris’ ability to compete in the AL East. So it’s probably a no on Norris as well.

A place the Red Sox are certain to upgrade is the bullpen. Boston added former White Sox lefty Matt Thornton earlier this month and are said to be taking aim at another Chicago arm, Jesse Crain.

Crain is currently on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, but is about ready to return.

The All-Star reliever was terrific before the injury with a 0.74 ERA. Crain would be a perfect fit in the Boston bullpen. For the right price.

The latest arm linked to the Red Sox is the Kansas City Royals 2006 first round pick Luke Hochevar. While Hochevar hasn’t panned out as the ace the Royals had hoped for, he’d still be a good addition to a thin Boston bullpen.

Hochevar has made 30 appearances this year and has a 2.00 ERA in 36 innings pitched. According to a FOX Sports report, while the Red Sox have been scouting Hochevar, the two teams have yet to discuss a deal.

And finally a name all Red Sox fans are familiar with and are pining for, Jonathan Papelbon.

Papelbon was the subject of many trade rumors earlier in the year including a return to Boston. But the rumors have cooled off as Papelbon has blown five saves in his last 18 appearances.

Papelbon is also pricey. He’s owed almost $30 million over the next two seasons. If the Red Sox wouldn’t pay him two years ago, why would they now? Sorry Red Sox Lifer’s, Pap's not shipping up to Boston.

The pitchers likely to join the Red Sox would seem to be Peavy and Crain, but keep an eye on Hochevar as well. The Red Sox have a deep farm system, deep pockets and are motivated to win. A move will be made. Whichever way the Red Sox go, look for them to be players at the trade deadline. Cherington said, "There's got to be two to dance and if we find a partner, if it makes sense, we'll pursue it."

Thoughts on the Sox and the trade rumors? Comment below.

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