Red Sox Rumors: Greinke, Johnson, Lester, Beckett, Shoppach, Sweeney

Jul 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett (19) in the dugout during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers beat the Red Sox 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

The Boston Red Sox are waiting to see where they stand in the American League playoff race next week before they decide whether to buy or sell this summer, reports Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com:

The Sox, say those sources, are waiting to see where they stand in the playoff race early next week before determining whether to buy or sell. Between Wednesday afternoon and next Tuesday, the Sox play five games against three of the better teams in the American League (Texas, New York, Detroit) and how they fare -- and how others in the race with them also fare -- will be a key factor in the approach.

McAdam notes that the Red Sox have "engaged in a number of ongoing trade discussions" in preparation of next week.

Boston’s focus continues to be on acquiring an impact starter, such as Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke and Miami Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson. However, each pitcher isn’t a clear fit for Boston given Greinke’s pending free agency and the Marlins reportedly prohibitive asking price for Johnson.

On the selling front, the Red Sox are not aggressively shopping starters Jon Lester or Josh Beckett, according to McAdam, but they have "fielded interest from teams on each pitcher." A source told McAdam that Lester "almost certainly" won’t be made available, while complications, including his 10/5 rights and off-field issues, would complicate any trade involving Beckett.

McAdam says that players on the periphery, including backup catcher Kelly Shoppach and outfielder Ryan Sweeney, could also have their fate decided in the next few days. If the Red Sox decide they can contend this season, McAdam expects both to be retained. However, last-minute deals could be put together for the duo and others if Boston drops back in the standings.

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What should the Red Sox do this summer; buy, sell or stand pat?

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