Abraham: Red Sox Looking To Deal Depth

Will the Red Sox deal Matt Albers from a bullpen that has no room for all of its capable pieces? (Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

Over at the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog, Peter Abraham drops this intriguing nugget:

The Red Sox are trying to turn their outfield, bullpen and catching depth into trade chips according to several other teams.
...

The Sox can afford to trade a reliever or two knowing that Andrew Bailey is returning and that pitchers such as Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa have shown they are capable of pitching in the majors.

There have been whispers and plenty of suspecting that this would occur, but hearing other teams claim that Boston has let it be known that it's true is something new, and far more concrete than simply guessing it to be the case. As far as what depth refers to:

  • The outfield, which has Ryan Sweeney, who has fallen back on the depth chart, and can be replaced by Ryan Kalish or Che-Hsuan Lin, both already on the 40-man roster.
  • Behind the plate, as the club has Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach, and Ryan Lavarnway on the 40-man roster, with only Shoppach a free agent after the 2012 campaign. Clubs like the Mets have been linked to Shoppach for weeks.
  • The bullpen, where there are plenty of options -- the aforementioned Tazawa, Mortensen, and Bailey, as well as Alex Wilson and Chris Carpenter, both of whom would need to be added to the 40-man roster, but should the situation arise where they are needed, they could be. That would make the likes of Matt Albers and Vicente Padilla available. Abraham also mentions Andrew Miller as a possibility, but that would leave Boston with just the one left-hander, something that caused them to move Franklin Morales back to the bullpen when a decision needed to be made just a couple of weeks ago.
  • The rotation, where Aaron Cook could be moved to a team willing to take the last two months of his contract. Not for monetary purposes, but because Boston could acquire something, clear up roster space, and move Franklin Morales back to starting.
In addition, Nick Cafardo reports that it's the Rangers who have been the most aggressive in trying to acquire these depth pieces. Specifically, Cook and Shoppach. They've already "backed off" Cook, but Cafardo says they're still interested in Shoppach, and that the final decision on Josh Beckett will come down to Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan, not just the scouts who are advising against it. While giving help to a potential playoff team isn't necessarily a great idea, the Rangers have paid handsomely for pieces they believed would help them win in the past -- look at last July's Mike Adams deal, or the Koji Uehara swap, for some evidence of this -- so these discussions are worth having.

There's no guarantee any of the teams Boston contacts will bite -- they've done more talking than buying given Abraham had sources for this -- but there's a clear list of who is available in Boston, and why, and it all has to do with dealing from a position of strength in order to open up both roster space and opportunities for longer-term players.

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