Just because the July 31 Trading Deadline has passed by no means suggests that the hot stove is done for. Waiver deals can be made until August 31, and the Red Sox made their first step towards a few roster moves today by placing four players on waivers: Mike Aviles, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto, and Kelly Shoppach. Players can either clear or not clear waivers, deciding whether these waiver deals are or are not possible. Earlier today, Crawford and Punto actually cleared waivers, so it’s possible that we could see either or both of them traded.
The big name here is former Tampa Bay Rays star Carl Crawford. After several fantastic seasons with the Rays, the Red Sox signed Crawford to a 7 year/$142 million contract in the 2010/2011 offseason. However, so far he’s been a failure to live up to expectations as he batted .255/.289/.405 with 11 home runs and 18 steals last season before starting 2012 injured. He’s been better this year, batting .271/.300/.482 with 3 home runs so far, but it’s not a huge surprise to see him on waivers. With his huge contract, I’d be surprised to see him traded though.
It’s not a huge surprise to see Nick Punto and Kelly Shoppach on waivers. Since being signed to a 2 year/$3 million contract this offseason, Punto has had a quiet season as a backup infielder– batting .200/.302/.278 with 1 home run and 9 RBIs. However, the arrivals of Pedro Ciriaco (.341/.349/.482, 6 steals) and Will Middlebrooks (.292/.326/.515, 15 home runs) has made Punto expendable and he hasn’t played much lately. Meanwhile, it was a bit of a surprise to not see Kelly Shoppach traded at the non-waiver deadline. He’s been one of, if not the best backup catcher in baseball this year– batting .258/.338/.492 with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs. However, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.231/.288/.483, 20 home runs) and Ryan Lavarnway (.295/.376/.439 in triple-A) on the roster, there isn’t any room for him and we could see him and Punto traded.
The surprise on this list is Mike Aviles as he’s done a respectable job in his first full season in Boston– batting .253/.280/.396 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs so far. It’s true that he’s probably not a piece the Red Sox will be building around, but they don’t really have anybody fully ready to take on everyday duties at shortstop. Pedro Ciriaco has been great so far, but he won’t be able to keep up his ridiculous pace over an entire season. Jose Iglesias, maybe? But he’s only hitting .256/.304/.294 (with admittedly great defense) at triple-A. I don’t think the Red Sox will trade Aviles unless they get a great return, but I’m sure we’ll see plenty of Iglesias this September.