Trade talk: Red Sox focused on bullpen

The Guru
Contributing Writer

Despite being in first place with the best record in the American League look for the Red Sox to be active players at the trade deadline July 31.

Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen was a guest on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and admitted, while the Sox front office is happy with the team’s success, "there still is work to be done."

Hazen said the team is looking into improving a thin bullpen that has lost it's opening day closer, Joel Hanrahan, for the season and recently lost its best reliever, lefty Andrew Miller, to season ending foot surgery.

“If you could pinpoint an area that’s shown the biggest inconsistencies, it’s probably been [the bullpen],” Hazen said. “There’s been a lot of good individual performances. I think we have a really solid core at the back end of the bullpen. Guys have stepped into certain roles. Andrew Bailey’s been very good lately. Andrew Bailey is going to be a huge piece of what’s going to happen going forward with us."

Solid work this week from rookies Brandon Workman and Steven Wright may have the Red Sox front office thinking more of an in-house fix, but look for the team to explore all options.

“There’s a core there that’s really good. The front side of that bullpen, I think we’re going to explore — whether it’s internal options, like you saw [Wednesday] night with [Brandon] Workman, [Pedro] Beato, [Jose] De La Torre, those guys — whether one or two of those guys step into that role, or we go external. And that’s something that we’re going to definitely flesh out over the next few weeks.”

In recent weeks the Red Sox have been linked to former closer and current Phillie Jonathan Papelbon, the Cubs Kevin Gregg, the Mets Bobby Parnell and a trio of White Sox relievers, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom and Addison Reed.

Don't expect a roster shakeup like last year when the Red Sox dumped a quarter of a million dollars on the Dodgers in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett packing.

Things will be a bit less dramatic this year.

However, the Red Sox do have one of the most talented and deepest farm systems in baseball. They won't be able to keep them all. The Red Sox can deal at the trade deadline without sacrificing the core of their future and position themselves for a strong playoff push.

Thoughts on the Red Sox and the trade deadline? Comment below.

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