The Boston Red Sox are prioritizing adding bullpen help before potential additions of infielders or starting pitching, according to a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino adds that the Sox do not see themselves as desperate enough to pay the necessary price for a high-end starter like Matt Garza, and would only be interested in short-term options like Michael Young for the left side of the infield.
Their focus remains on improving a struggling bullpen that has lost Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Miller to season-ending injuries. With many options being shopped on the trade market, they are expected to add a reliever or two in the next three weeks.
After ESPN's Buster Olney reported today that the Phillies are more likely to be buyers than sellers at the deadline, a reunion with ex-closer Jonathan Papelbon seems less likely for the Sox. With Papelbon's history in Boston and potential availability, many in recent weeks have speculated that he would be a great fit to return to Beantown.
The Miami Marlins are known to be shopping relievers Ryan Webb, Michael Dunn and Steve Cishek as part of their annual firesale, and the Sox would likely have interest in them for the right price. With Miller's recent injury, Boston will likely try to add a left-handed piece like Dunn to the relief corps. Cishek, the least likely of the trio to be moved in the next three weeks, is a Massachusetts native and avid Boston sports fan, so a homecoming for him may be something that the Sox would consider.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Red Sox are among the many teams who have been scouting Milwaukee Brewers' relievers John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Mike Gonzalez in recent days. While the price for Axford or K-Rod may be too high, Gonzalez is another left-hander who would fill in during Miller's absence. The Orioles, Tigers and Diamondbacks have all scouted Milwaukee's bullpen as well, but no serious talks have occurred to this point.
The White Sox, who are one of the most active selling teams on the trade market, have relievers to shop, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that the Red Sox are interested. According to a tweet from Cafardo, the Sox are looking at a trio of ChiSox relievers-- lefty Matt Thornton and righties Matt Lindstrom and Addison Reed. While the team's previously reported interest in Thornton does not come as a surprise, Reed's name has not been commonly mentioned in trade rumors yet this summer. The 24-year old is under club control through 2017, and the White Sox would likely require a large package of prospects in a deal for him. As Olney reported today, Chicago is looking for major-league ready or near-ready prospects in a deal, so names like Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa will likely be brought up in talks involving Reed.
At this point, it is considered likely that the Red Sox will add an arm to help the bullpen, which has been the Achilles' heel of the first-place team to this point. With so many relievers available on the market, Boston is hopeful that they will be able to make a solid addition at a price that they deem reasonable.