Red Sox Roundtable

Before I went on vacation last week, I asked Matt from Fenway West and Rob from The Bottom Line to answer a question about whether or not the Boston Red Sox needed to do anything at the trade deadline.

Of course I asked the question before yesterday’s implosion by Hideki Okajima but reached out again to see if anyone needed to change their answers. That was not the case.

You can find their answers plus mine after the jump.

FW: The Red Sox need bullpen help. Oki and MDC are not the pitchers they once were and are unreliable. This road trip has shown how vulnerable the Sox pen is and how easily they can give away a game. Bard and Paps are solid but there is no reliable pitcher that Tito can go with when they need a breather or to pitch the seventh in a close game.

BL: I think this team need a bat, preferably in the OF.

Ellsbury, Pedroia and Martinez could all be back in early August, but until then, the offense is going to continue to sputter. And even when they comeback, it’s likely to take most of August for them to find their swings… and by then, the playoff race could be over.

If Theo could make a move for a guy like Jayson Werth, he could add some pop to the lineup and give them OF options for 2011. I know the Phillies will be asking for prospects the Sox aren’t likely to trade, but they’re down to Halladay, Hamels and Blanton in the rotation and Beyond Howard and Utley, the lineup is aging and struggling. We have lots of catching prospects that they may like, since they traded Lou Marson to Cleveland… and we have young guys like OF Josh Reddick, SP/RP Michael Bowden, SP Felix Doubront and even 1B Lars Anderson that I’d be willing to part with and that can help the Phillies right away.

They could also use a closer (see Brad Lidge) so dare I suggest that they trade Papelbon?

Guys like DeJesus and Hart would add depth in the OF, but I’d like to see them get a run producer.

If we’re focusing on 2010, I think they can get by at catcher with Cash, Tek and Martinez. I wouldn’t be against a trade for Chris Iannetta or John Buck, but I think they will cost us a better prospect than an RP would. If they go for bullpen help, I recently talked about guys like Octavio Dotel (PIT), Craig Breslow (OAK), Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle (COL) and Kerry Wood (CLE) at The Bottom Line. Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor in Toronto could all work as well.

Bottom Line: By not making a move already, Theo is telling us that he plans to ride the season out with the current group. We shouldn’t be surprised by this because, this holds true to the “bridge year” comment from the start of the season. If the Sox can’t close the gap in the AL East by July 31st, don’t expect Epstien to trade any prospects for a team he feels is out of contention.

But if the Sox make a run out west this week, it will look like he gave up on his team if Theo doesn’t make a move to strengthen the club for September.

SD: I honestly think the Red Sox need to make a few moves but nothing really too major.

I don’t really think there’s a need for a frontline starting pitcher. Although he was a bit rusty on Wednesday night, Clay Buchholz should regain his form that made him an All-Star and if Josh Beckett can find his as well, the Red Sox should be pretty set at starters.

Where they need the help the most with the pitching staff is in the bullpen. Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon have been the most reliable all season long. But they do need some sort of set up man to help keep Bard from being overused. Scott Atchison has been a great bonus helping out when needed but with the inconsistency of Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez. It’s too early to tell what Michael Bowden can bring to the table so if a reliever is available for the right price, Theo Epstein needs to pull a trigger.

Another big bat wouldn’t hurt but it would have to be an outfielder like the Phillies’ Jayson Werth or the Brewers’ Corey Hart.

We do have to remember that Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez should be returning soon as well and their offensive abilities will be a great bonus to the team as well.

Analysis: As you can see, we are all in agreement for the most part. That doesn’t surprise me because it’s obvious the glaring need is in the bullpen. While Rob thinks a bat is still a priority, I think that’s a second need. Of course with the problems of the bullpen will make the cost of acquiring a reliever a little higher than Theo Epstein might want to pay. But he may have to if he wants to see his 2010 Red Sox team in the playoffs this year.

Thanks to Matt and Rob for taking the time to answer the question.