After being humiliated, kicked around and swept away on home turf by the Toronto Blue Jays, the need for a pitching upgrade is imminent for the Red Sox if they are to seriously contend for a postseason birth. The club has been tied to Matt Garza since the winter and recently we heard they are out on Ryan Dempster. Cole Hamels is still set to become a free-agent although that could change any minute with an extension on the table. With that, let’s take a look at some of the Red Sox trade rumors that we’ve heard over the past few days in this edition of the roundup.
Let’s start with Garza of the Cubs. Everyone knows what Theo is doing in Chicago; stripping down and rebuilding from the ground up. He has set the price tag on Garza incredibly high and given that there are 17 teams within seven games of a playoff spot, he’ll likely get the asking price. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently wrote that if the Sox want to acquire anyone of Garza’s talent, it means having your prospect cupboard potentially raided. If not, start focusing on next year.
Cafardo thinks the Cubs could be enticed by a package surrounding around Daniel Bard given the history the reliever has with Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Jose Iglesias could be another name that could be included given the sudden depth the Red Sox have at shortstop and the slow offensive development the one-time phenom is showing. Add another high level prospect and suddenly you might have Epstein’s ear. Of course with the Dodgers reportedly heavily interested in Garza after they too pulled out on Dempster, this could become a bidding war of prospect packages, driving up the price for a pitcher who is likely a number two in the rotation at best.
Cafardo also discusses the potential to trade catcher Kelly Shoppach. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia emerging as the starting catcher and Ryan Lavarnway all but busting at the seams for a promotion to the big club, Shoppach is expendable. The Mets are one team that has recently scouted Shoppach and given there are multiple other clubs in need of help behind the plate, the Red Sox could look at moving the 32-year old.
Francisco Liriano of the Twins is drawing interest and it was once reported the Red Sox were said to be looking at him but that hasn’t been mentioned lately, making it a possibility that Boston is focusing on Garza first and foremost.
Finally we have Jon Lester. On Saturday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported that the Atlanta Braves had called inquiring about Lester’s availability. The 28-year old lefty is under team control through the 2014 season making him an attractive trade piece. But given his rough outing on Sunday and the fact he’s battling through his worst season in the big leagues, Lester’s trade value may not be overly high based on his performances. Maybe not.
The Braves GM, Frank Wren said pitching is at a premium based on the lack of quality pitchers available. Now might be the time the Red Sox should consider dealing Lester if clubs are willing to overpay despite his struggles in a Boston uniform this year. Nothing was reported as to what or who the Braves would be willing to give up for Lester, but some of their young arms could be attractive to Ben Cherington.
Lots of rumors, what ifs and possible scenarios, some of which will pick up steam in the next eight days while others will fizzle faster than Kris Humphries fame. We’ll keep you posted right here at BSI as the trade deadline approaches.