The trade deadline has come and gone, and Dave Dombrowski supplemented his roster with the likes of Eduardo Nuñez and Addison Reed. Although both of these players certainly add a necessary element to the Red Sox team, neither is the savior some people may be looking for. Instead, this deadline was more about getting complimentary pieces and hoping the current core starts playing as well as its supposed to. That’s a fine strategy, and one I can get behind, but there are some who would argue that they should have done a little more. It’s not a crazy argument, to say the least. Fortunately, while July 31 is what we know as the traditional trade deadline, it does not mean the Red Sox can no longer make deals to improve their roster.
Technically speaking, July 31 represents the *non-waiver* trade deadline. Although it’s more complicated, trades can and will take place all around the league over the last month. In fact, the Red Sox have been fairly active in this market over the last few years, which we’ll get to in a second. First, a quick primer on how this process works.
This is the time of year when you will hear about tons of stars around the league being put on waivers. This is your annual reminder to essentially ignore that, as teams will test the waters on just about every player. Most will simply be pulled back if/when they are claimed. Some, though, will be dealt. If a player is claimed, the team who made the claim and the player’s current team has a couple of days to work out a deal. If they do not, the player stays put for the rest of the year. If a player clears waivers, he is free to be traded anywhere in the league.
As for the Red Sox history with August trades, you probably remember one of them. It is fondly remembered around these parts as the “Nick Punto Deal.” This, of course, was the trade in which they sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Punto to the Dodgers for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, James Loney and Ivan De Jesus. That deal helped them reset their payroll and let them retool for the 2013 World Series run, and it was made on August 25, 2012.
We probably won’t see a deal like that this August, but there are also a lot of small deals made this time of year as well. In the recent past, the Red Sox have been both sellers and buyers this time of year. They’ve sold players such as Alejandro De Aza and Mike Napoli in the month of August while buying players like Quintin Berry and John McDonald. Obviously, these are not headline-grabbing deals but they can make a difference in a season. Generally speaking, they involve cash, players to be named later, or minor-league lottery tickets.
Looking forward, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Red Sox connected to some names that were not moved before the July 31 deadline. This could involve them going in a number of directions, but a move for a bat would make the most sense. This is where many people wanted them to look before the trade deadline, but the organization decided to let the current group hit themselves out of the team-wide slump. If they can’t do so over the next week or two, don’t be surprised to see them connected to some bats who are set to hit free agency at the end of the year. The two most popular candidates would be Jay Bruce and Yonder Alonso.
Although those are the names I expect to hear the most in this market, I certainly wouldn’t expect them to be the only ones. One player in particular I’d keep an eye on is Kurt Suzuki. Granted, this is only a potential target if Sandy Leon’s knee injury is worse than they currently believe. If he goes on the disabled list, the Red Sox are left with Dan Butler as their backup catcher. That is not where you want to be in a tight playoff race. Suzuki isn’t an All-Star, but he’s offer a strong bat with solid enough defense for little-to-no cost. In the end, though, I wouldn’t expect the Red Sox to make any sort of move like this unless there is an injury.