Assistant general manager Mike Hazen, speaking on WBZ NewsRadio, said the Red Sox will be "agressive" at the trade deadline.
Unfortunately, reading a bit more into his comments (a transcript of which can be found here), there's reason to think that this "aggression" may not be everything Sox fans have hoped for.
As the deadline nears, the Red Sox have some obvious needs. Their bullpen could use an arm, arguably one that can pitch the eighth or ninth. The rotation, even with Clay Buchholz likely due back next month, is still relying on Jon Lester, who has struggled for months now, and Ryan Dempster, whose early-season strikeouts are nowhere to be found these days.
That's to say nothing of a backup catcher depending on the chances of a David Ross return (Ryan Lavarnway has shown no signs of being a major leaguer) and any other incremental improvements the team might hope to make to their roster.
Given all this, as well as a stacked farm system, Hazen's claim of aggression seems sensible, but it was a claim that came with plenty of wiggle room. Consider, for instance, the actual quote:
"I think we're going to be fairly aggressive,but it's got to be the right deal. We're not going to just do dumb things for the sake of making moves. We have a really good team. That's because we have a lot of good players playing really well and we're not going to upset the fabric of that club, given what it's done to date. We're going to look to compliment that club in any way that we can. So, from that standpoint, we'll be very aggressive in evaluating all opportunities."
"Aggressive in evaluating all opportunities." In other words, no stone will be left unturned, but with no guarantees they'll find anything they like. And oh, by the way, did they mention they like the team as constructed and don't want to change it too much? You get the idea.
Hazen also comments on Clay Buchholz' at-the-time upcoming appointment with Dr. James Andrews, saying that the team would be unlikely to go after a top arm if, indeed, Buchholz' exam brought back good news. So for anyone still holding out hope for a Cliff Lee deal, you might want to reevaluate.
On the whole what we can garner from this is that the Red Sox are still the Red Sox. The one time we've really seen them go all-out in trade talks since the arrival of Theo Epstein so long ago was the deal for Josh Beckett (which of course came during Theo's brief absence, and if Ben Cherington was involved then, he was hardly calling the shots) and the Adrian Gonzalez trade a few years back. That said deal ended in disaster arguably makes it even less likely that Cherington will be going off-script even for this deadline.
And, generally, that's a good thing. The Red Sox shouldn't make the stupid deal for the sake of making a move. Trading for the sake of trading just doesn't make any sense.
But with a three-year playoff drought (silly though that number sounds to many teams, in Boston it's significant), a stocked-to-overflowing farm system, and a team that really looks like it could go all the way with that extra push, it's hard not to hope that "aggressive" is being used as more than just a buzz word.