The Boston Red Sox have bounced back from one of the worst seasons in franchise history to lead the American League East through 103 games in 2013. At 19 games over .500, the club has been atop the division for most of the season and is in good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Despite their success through the first four months, the Red Sox are still looking to improve their roster. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, general manager Ben Cherington says the team will be active in the coming days.
“We’ll be aggressive in making phone calls and pursuing things and gathering information and then trying to find ways to improve the team,” Cherington said on Wednesday. “What that turns into, I don’t know. I think we’re still in a strong position. We’ve got a lot of good players here, good players in Pawtucket who can help us, so we’ll see. It’s one thing to want something, but there has to be a match. There’s got to be two to dance. If we find a partner who makes sense, we’ll pursue it.”
If the Red Sox want anything, it’s most likely help in the starting rotation. The team has been dominant on offense, leading the majors in runs scored and on-base percentage. Improving their pitching could make Boston the favorites in the AL.
Jake Peavy might be the best candidate to end up in a Red Sox uniform by Wednesday. The right-hander has an 8-4 record with a 4.28 earned-run average this season, and could help replace the injured Clay Bucholz, who may not be back until September, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Boston, reportedly, scouted Peavy in his start on Thursday, in which he gave up four runs in seven innings.
The biggest obstacle the Red Sox face may be the Chicago White Sox asking price. Even though they sit in last place, ESPN’s Buster Olney says the team expect much in return for the veteran. Peavy could improve the Red Sox rotation, but he’s been inconsistent and injured in recent years. In 2010 and 2011, he failed to start 20 games in either season.
Bud Norris is on Boston’s radar, as well. His 3.93 ERA is better than Peavy’s and he’s a much cheaper option. The Boston Globe reports, though, that there are concerns Norris could struggle in the AL East.
“He’s not ideal for Boston,” a veteran talent evaluator told the publication. “He’d be better off in the National League with the Cardinals or a team like that. But if you’re desperate he’s certainly a respectable starting pitcher, but just not the impact guy you’d be looking for. Given Baltimore’s state of the starting rotation, he might fit better with them.”
One final option for the Red Sox would be Yovani Gallardo. The Milwaukee Brewers starter has one year left on his contract and could be on the trade block with the team out of contention. However, after failing to post an ERA above four in his first six years, the 27-year-old is pitching to a 4.88 ERA in 2013. The club might be wary of dealing for a pitcher that is struggling in the NL.