Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is not exactly impressed with this year’s trade market:
I don’t think it’s the greatest crop in the world of available players. If you compare this year’s likely crop to last year’s, for example, there’s a big difference.
Thanks to the close division races throughout baseball, many expected sellers are now looking to make a playoff push, keeping their players off the market. The man everyone expected to be the top prize, Adrian Gonzalez, is currently on the NL West leading Padres—a division where the fourth place team is just four games out.
With fewer than half of the MLB’s teams in “sell” mode, all-star options like the kind the Red Sox picked up last year in Victor Martinez are scarce. But that doesn’t mean Epstein isn’t paying attention:
You’re not always out there to acquire an All Star-type. You can sometimes get a nice role player, who happens to be a nice fit for your club, which is a good thing because there aren’t too many All Star-type players out there right now.
Right now, role players are really what the Red Sox need. When healthy, the Red Sox’ starting lineup and rotation is pretty well set in stone. Instead, they have to be looking for a more reliable bench (as well as the current group has performed, it is rather rudely constructed) and, most importantly, a decent group of relief pitchers to back up the back end of the pen. And there’s no question Theo is searching for those missing pieces:
"We’re always active looking. It’s really the same position we’ve been every year," Epstein said. "Our job is to be as thorough as possible, find any possible fit to make us better."