At 59-40, the Boston Red Sox are perhaps the best team in all of baseball. Boston ranks first in the majors in runs and on base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in batting average. With those numbers, they clearly have one of the most explosive teams in the majors.
Designated hitter David Ortiz has been the Red Sox’ do-it-all guy. His 19 home runs, 65 RBI, .322 batting average, and .404 on base percentage lead the entire team. Dustin Pedroia is batting .313 and leads the team with 120 hits. Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t far behind him, batting .305 with 117 hits, and rookie Jose Iglesias’ .360 batting average would lead the league if he had enough at bats to qualify. Boston is getting offense from a variety of players and with so many contributors, they should be in contention throughout the entire second half.
They have the best record in their division, but with several teams in striking distance, can’t afford to take it easy. The Tampa Bay Rays sit only 1.5 games out of first place and with the Orioles and Yankees only four and six games back respectively, the Red Sox aren’t close to having the AL East in their hip pocket just yet.
For that reason, it sounds as if Boston isn’t resting on its laurels. The Red Sox are rumored to be targeting several players as the trade deadline approaches.
For starters, the team is looking at … starters. Most recently, the Red Sox had a representative on hand to check out the Chicago White Sox’ Jake Peavy, who by all accounts is available since Chicago is open to trading nearly everyone. Peavy was recently on the disabled list and that probably made some teams cautious. Now that he’s back on the hill, expect interest to pick up.
The Red Sox are also keeping an eye on Bud Norris. As we recently mentioned, Norris is one of the most sought after pitchers available, particularly because he’s under team control for a few more years. Because of that, the cost may be too high and Boston could keep their focus on Peavy or other options.
Boston is also interested in improving the bullpen. The Red Sox picked up Matt Thornton, but they still might not be done there. Buster Olney suggests that Francisco Rodriguez could be an option and we’ve already mentioned that Jonathan Papelbon might be another potential fit.
Third base is another spot that Boston is reportedly trying to upgrade. As we mentioned yesterday, one of their targets appears to be Milwaukee Brewers’ slugger Aramis Ramirez. The team has Stephen Drew at shortstop, but can move Iglesias there on a permanent basis to add a big bat at third. Drew is a serviceable player, but since signing with Boston is batting only .231—he’s been one of the Red Sox’ few weak links on an offensive juggernaut.
The rumor mill doesn’t end there, either. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo calls Alex Rios an option in the outfield. The Red Sox are fairly set out there with Jacoby Ellsbury (4 HR/34 RBI/.305) and Daniel Nava (10 HR/52 RBI/.287) and Shane Victorino/Mike Carp splitting time in right field. But adding Rios and his 12 home runs would give Boston more power.
Boston won’t likely be dealing for all of these players, but don’t be surprised to see them make another move or two before the deadline.
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