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2018 MLB Trade Deadline: Are the Boston Red Sox going to be buyers or sellers?

With them being a virtual lock for the postseason, the Red Sox have no doubts as to what they are doing as the deadline approaches.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.

Boston Red Sox: 72-33, 1st in the AL East

For the Red Sox, life is pretty good right now.

They have the best record in baseball, leading by 5 12 games over both the rival Yankees and the defending World Series champion Astros. They have the best offense in baseball, led by J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi. They have arguably the best staff and bullpen combination of any team in the game.

While there is a lot of excitement in Boston, the Red Sox know they have to be buyers at the deadline. They have to maintain their lead over the Yankees, who they face 10 more times over the next two months. They also have to prepare for the postseason journey that they will likely take in October, which could possibly include another series with the Yankees and/or the Astros.

What moves have they made so far?

Boston began buying on June 28 by acquiring first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays and cash considerations in exchange for minor leaguer Santiago Espinal.

However, the biggest move they made this summer was adding starter Nathan Eovaldi after striking a deal for him with the Rays last Wednesday. The move was big because it came a day after the Yankees traded for All-Star closer Zach Britton. More importantly, it beefed up the back of Boston’s rotation, which was already having an excellent season with the way Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson had been pitching, for the end of the regular season. Plus, Eovaldi could be an impact arm out of the bullpen in the postseason.

Who (else) could they buy?

After getting a pretty effective starter in Eovaldi, Red Sox could try to take the lead in their arms race against the Yankees by adding an impact reliever or two.

Recently, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Red Sox were one of four teams that talked to the Reds about acquiring either Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, David Hernandez and Jared Hughes. While Morosi’s one Cincinnati source said that the Reds do not plan on dealing Garrett, the Red Sox would benefit greatly from having either Iglesias, Hernandez or Hughes because they are pitching really well and are all under team control. Iglesias is the best one from the bunch, as he is a proven closer and is not a free agent until after 2021. However, acquiring any of the Reds’ relievers would probably require the Red Sox to give up some of their more elite prospects.

The Red Sox have also “checked in” on a few of the Angels’ relievers, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. The Angels have some quality relievers in Blake Parker, Justin Anderson, Jose Alvarez and Cam Bedrosian, who are all under contract as well and could be beneficial to the Red Sox if they can get one of them.

The Red Sox have also tried making a deal with the Marlins for controllable setup man Drew Steckenride. But, Morosi said that in the preliminary trade talks, the Marlins said trading Michael Chavis or Jay Groome alone would not be enough to land Steckenride.

Predictions

The Red Sox will be able to land a reliever before the 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. Who they will get is unknown, as they — like many contenders — have a ton of bullpen targets.

By adding a reliever, the Red Sox will be able to hold off the Yankees for the AL East crown and secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason by finishing with the best record in baseball. But, the Red Sox have World Series expectations and they hope that these deals will allow them to get back to the Fall Classic and win it all for the first time since 2013.