One week to go before the trading deadline, and the Red Sox hold a 1 1/2 game edge on the Yankees, and in the broader Wild Card perspective, the Sox are up a game on the Twins and two games on the surging Athletics.
Billy Beane sold off two of the Big Three, has mediocre offense, and yet has come roaring back on the arms of Danny Haren and Rich Harden, with some Barry Zito thrown in for good measure.
The O's get addition by subtraction with Sidney Ponson moving back to the NL in exchange for Phil Nevin.
The Sox continue to lead the AL in runs scored, on base percentage, and OPS. Conversely, they are 11th in ERA (4.82), and 11th in opponents OPS. Worse still they are dead last in relievers OPS (.810).
So, what does the roster/rotation look like coming into the stretch. I'm going to presume one major deal, probably involving getting more relief.
C - Varitek Mirabelli
1B Millar Olerud (Petagine?)
2B Graffanino Cora
3B Youkilis Mueller
U Bellhorn (DL)
P Miller or Arroyo
RP Bradford Halama
RP Foulke (DL)
RP Rookie Callup (Papelbon/Lester/DelCarmen)
Players in Bold Red possible trade
The question for Theo Epstein is what type of trades constitute 'signal' versus 'noise' that creates only change for change sake. Additionally, if the club wishes to keep salary discipline (that's a joke), then they cannot trade away premium minor league talent (Ramirez, Papelbon, Lester, DelCarmen, Sanchez) that can become the core of the team with contained salaries.
Anibal Sanchez lowered his ERA last night in AA to 1.23 and has 22 strikeouts in 13 plus Portland innings. I'm only pleading that Lester's skipped start doesn't mean he's trade bait.