Friday, July 17, 2009

Trade Deadline: Lugo's Imminent Adios; What Else Will Theo Do?

The Red Sox are seen by a number of seasoned journalists and analysts to not need a whole lot at the trade deadline, but they have too much fat on the roster bone, and are rumored to want to give Julio Lugo away for a cup of chowder and eat his salary.

Apparently, Lugo didn't show up to a mandatory meeting last night, but at this point, I think he knows it doesn't matter. He's owed $9 million for this year and $9 million next year whether he plays or not--or shows up to a meeting. Whatever.

While Nick Green has improved at short stop the more time he has had to play, I'm not as sold on Jed Lowrie as others seem to be. I guess the Red Sox feel somewhat the same way after their aggressive pursuit of defected Cuban short stop Jose Iglesias. While there is little chance the young Cuban stud will play this year (perhaps September call ups?), I think Lowrie's going to be a work in progress.

Glad to hear he's healthy, but the challenge is getting him up to major league pitching speed. But I understand that you have to throw him out there. I'm not overly confident that he will make an impact for some time. The wrist injury doesn't help.

Odds & Ends: Roy Halladay, Victor Martinez, AL East
My gut tells me that Roy Halladay will not be a part of the Red Sox team this year, and that they will try and get young pitching prospects or additional relief help for Lugo.

Also, if they can get the right deal, trade Brad Penny for a proven corner infield or outfield bat (Does Matt Holliday intrigue Theo? Would Orlando Cabrera make sense to come back?).

It's not clear if the Indians would deal Victor Martinez, and you'd imagine he is a great get for any team, but logically, the Red Sox could put him at first base and have him catch. With Jason Varitek on a one-year contract, Martinez's youth and offense pop is very attractive catching replacement for next year and beyond. Plus it would give the Red Sox another switch hitter, and additional lineup flexibility.

Victor Martinez is the deal I'd love to see.

With the knowledge that the Red Sox have pitching prospects to deal with some veteran offense, trading with the Indians--who have benefited from Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox for one--it's good to know that Mark Shapiro and Theo Epstein have made deals with each other in the past.

As much as I love the play, leadership and clutch hitting of Mike Lowell, you have to wonder if the Red Sox would put him as part of a package with teams that need pitching. It's totally insane trying to figure out all the amalgamations of potential trade deals Theo and crew could do, but with Lowell's health as a liability, and the transition of Youkilis to third base, it will not surprise me if Lowell is part of any deal, if any, get made.

Honestly, there are a few deals that will surprise me with this team.

On a side not, here is a good piece from about the AL East at the trade deadline. Tampa Bay is seen as the team that needs to do the most. From that article, this is a nice little chart I borrowed:

Top 5 Run Differentials
Rank Team Scored Allowed Diff
1 Dodgers 443 338 +105
2 Red Sox 465 380 +85
3 Rays 476 400 +76
4 Yankees 495 435 +60
5 Phillies 460 412 +48

The Yankees run scoring ability is high. The big question for them is how well their pitching will do in the second half. I expect CC and Burnett to get better.