It’s June 10th. The Red Sox are 10 games out of first place in the AL East, only being more successful than the Rays, who are in dead last and struggling even more so than Boston. The question now looms: what happens next? What will the Red Sox do from here until September (hopefully October)? Here are some things that are not certain, but very plausible, considering two sides of the possibilities, one being that the Red Sox completely fall out of contention, and the much more optimistic possibility that they string some wins together and are in the heat of the race.
If the Red Sox fall from grace for good by July:
1) Trades will be made. Not blockbusters, but rather some expendable pieces, primarily veterans that contending teams will need.
A) who goes? Lester (in the last year if his contract) seems like he would be a good candidate, BUT I am all but certain he WILL NOT BE TRADED. The Red Sox will try to sign him to an extension and they want him here. The chances he is traded are slim to none. So who DOES go, you ask? A.J., Stephen Drew, and Mike Carp are the top 3 candidates. Why?
A.J. – Veteran catching presence on a one year deal (possibly giving way to Boston calling up Vazquez for a tryout in the majors)
Drew – also another one year deal that teams wouldn’t mind trading for. Offensively, he’s not highly coveted. Defense is his calling card and he played it very well en route to a World Series title last fall.
Carp – One of the most versatile and cheapest bench players in the game. Carp can play anywhere it seems. He will be valuable to teams looking to run deep into October and is a piece Boston will be willing to give up should they be in the depths of the AL east come July.
2) Prospects will be called up to gauge where they are in terms of readiness. Expect Vazquez, (especially if A.J. is gone), Betts, Barnes, Webster, Cecchini, and possibly even Owens get a shot to prove their worth, even if for a short stint.
The other side: the winning side.
What about if we actually get back in the race?
1) Trades. Except this time, for improvements for this season.
A) who would we target?
Giancarlo Stanton: (Hold your excitement or critique that I’m even saying this) this is such a longshot. Probably in single digit percentages for even being possible. Two things have to happen in order for this to even be considered (along with the fact the Red Sox must be in contention). 1) Miami will have to falter and start playing terribly, with no hope of winning the pennant or even a wild card spot. And 2) Cherington and the front office must be willing to give away tons of talent in return (Like Betts, Owens, Barnes, and Cecchini or even Middlebrooks, possibly even more). That’s crazy, right? Why give up so much for one guy? Go watch Stanton’s mammoth homeruns, look at his youth and his contract (the Red Sox would control him for multiple years) and imagine his swing at Fenway Park. Incredible. Again, this is VERY unlikely and I will be stunned if this happens, even if the two aforementioned requirements are completed.
Chris Denorfia – (Padres, outfield) a right handed hitter who can hit for average (something our outfield lacks). Denorfia is currently hitting .263 this year. Typically, that doesn’t “wow” anyone, but it’s an improvement from what our outfielders are hitting.
Alex Rios – (Rangers, outfield) A veteran guy that can hit for a little power, Rios would be an improvement and also another right handed bat to add to Fenway Park. With the Rangers scuffling and burdened by major injuries to key players, they will likely look to sell at the deadline. Though I don’t see it is as very likely trade, I believe it is a likely option and one that would benefit both sides.