Red Sox Trade Rumors: Youkilis, Garza & Dempster


As the middle of June has come and gone, the trade deadline is less than six weeks away and already the Red Sox hot stove is producing some heat.

Kevin Youkilis has had his name tied to trade rumors for as long as the Red Sox injury list and that hasn’t changed lately.  In fact it’s only picking up steam as the third baseman continues to struggle, highlighting the need to deal him sooner than later or his value won’t garner a bag of batting practice balls.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently reported that both the Pittsburgh Pirates and LA Dodgers would make sense for Youkilis given their need to shore up their corner infield positions. Cafardo goes on to mention that as of last Friday some scouts view Youkilis as having “no trade value.”

The Red Sox just left Wrigley Field where they took two of three from the Cubs and after falling to a league worst 22-44 record, it’s clear the lovable losers will be sellers; something that could start any day now.

The Cubs have what the Red Sox need, starting pitching and Ben Cherington and his brass saw first hand what Ryan Dempster is all about on Friday when the 35-year old right-hander handcuffed the Sox offense to the tune of just four hits over seven shutout innings.  He also lowered his ERA to 2.11 on the season.

Dempster is available, according to the Cubs brain trust, Theo Epstein.  As is former AL East beast, Matt Garza, although if an extension is still to happen, Dempster may be the odd man out.

Both pitchers would bolster any rotation and given the thin talent pool of pitchers that are available this summer, Theo can demand a king’s ransom in return for either of his prized possessions.  Of course a couple of winter trades that saw an abundance of prospects go the other way for Gio Gonzalez and Mat Latos not only raised the bar, it set a precedent that teams looking for starting pitching help will overpay to get it.

Throw in the recent injuries to the Toronto Blue Jays rotation and the unexpected success of the LA Dodgers and Epstein now has his desired group of desperate teams looking for upgrades.  Add teams like the Yankees, Orioles and Tigers and suddenly Epstein can force the issue a little more, especially for a guy like Garza who’s only 28-years old and under team control through the 2013 season.

The Red Sox are said to be interested in Dempster, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.  The club has also been tied to Garza since, well, Opening Day. Cafardo points out that the Dodgers are emerging as the front runners for Dempster, leaving Garza as the top dog in the trade market. As if Theo needs anymore negotiating power.

The question for the Red Sox will now be “do we overpay for a starter?”  With the club only four games out of a Wild Card position, that question might turn into “who do we overpay for?” if they’re serious about contending this year.