Cliff Lee is a stud, but should Boston pay the steep price for him?
There has been speculation for weeks as to what the Red Sox will or won't do on the trading deadline, and that all culminates tomorrow. Baseball's trade deadline is unlike any other sports aside from maybe soccer's transfer deadline day. Contending teams scramble to find deals to help their teams win a pennate while cellar dwellers look to unload money or their lone stars for a load of prospects.
This year, the Red Sox look like they will be in the thick of things along with Tampa Bay right to the end of the season. Unlike last year where Boston famously unloaded the massive contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez in a rebuilding effort, this year they should be looking for some pieces to help solidify their status as a legitimate contender in the American League. Various names have been connected to Boston in possible deals including Jake Peavy, Cliff Lee, Michael Young and even (while highly unlikely) Giancarlo Stanton.
Although I would like to see many of those players in a Boston uniform, they will all come at a certain price, some of which will be steeper than others. Young would come the cheapest and would help add depth to the left side of the infield especially if Will Middlebrooks and Jose Iglesias continue to struggle, or if Stephen Drew gets re-injured. Peavy and Lee would both give Boston a strong rotation, but both will cost a hefty amount of solid contracts, and I am completely against the Sox dealing Xander Bogaerts who will likely be a star sooner rather than later. The Marlins say they will not deal Stanton, but if they do sources say the Red Sox and Rangers will be the early front runners.
All speculation aside, Boston should look for only minor deals tonight and tomorrow. Their farm system is as loaded as it has been in years, and I don't think they should dip into their resources for anyone who is available at this time. When Clay Buchholz comes back they will have a solid stretch run rotation with a revitalized John Lackey, steady Jon Lester, and emerging Felix Doubront. Although Lee or Peavy would tremendously bolster the staff, I don't quite think either is worth the prospects and money that will be necessary to pry them from their respective teams.
If Boston can trade for a reliable option out of the bullpen in order to solidify the back end in case of another injury, it will be a step in the right direction. They could also use some SS/3B depth, and that could be from Michael Young, another trade option, or possibly an early Bogaerts call up. A power right-handed bat could also be something on the Sox radar, but that is probably the least likely of any possible deal. With those small, but necessary moves, the Red Sox would put themselves in a position succeed in a battle with the Rays that will likely be close all year for the AL East crown.