BOSTON (CBS) – Yes, your Boston Red Sox are one of the best teams in all of baseball. With a lineup deeper than the Atlantic, two aces that head the rotation and two bulls at the end of the bullpen, there’s a lot to like. But, with the trading deadline coming to a close this weekend, the Red Sox must make a deal.

Since the Red Sox are seemingly coasting to a seat at the playoff dinner table, this deal has to be made with an eye towards October. It’s not about getting a fifth starter, fifth outfielder or even a fifth bullpen arm. No, this is about finding your third starter for the postseason.

As Clay Buchholz continues to stall his return to the mound and visit back specialists, the need for a dependable third starter increases. No longer is it a foregone conclusion that Buchholz will be ready to give his usual effort, with lingering concerns in his own head about his back issues. The Red Sox simply cannot believe the slender right hander will be ready to quiet opposing lineups come the second season.


The Red Sox also can’t be confident with their current in house options. As much as Red Sox Nation loves what Tim Wakefield has done for the team when called upon over his incredibly long career, the facts are the facts. Wakefield has mostly looked mediocre, to put it nicely, over his last several starts and will turn 45 next week. John Lackey has pitched much better as of late, but are you confident he’ll be able to consistently get good postseason lineups out? And, don’t even get me started on Andrew Miller.

Photos: Red Sox Trade Targets?

When you move beyond the big league staff and look down on the farm, it doesn’t get much better. No way will the Red Sox take a chance with Kyle Weiland in the playoffs. Expected to be called upon, Felix Doubront showed up out of shape in spring training and still hasn’t caught up. And, even though Kevin Millwood has pitched pretty well in Pawtucket since signing, he’s still throwing in the 80’s and was 4-16 with an ERA over 5.00 last year in Baltimore.


This all leaves the Red Sox in a spot. Yes, Lester and Beckett, if they remain healthy, give you a chance to win any postseason series. That is exactly why we’re not talking about trading for an Ubaldo Jimenez here. The Sox need a dependable #3 guy in the rotation who can pitch effectively when it counts, against good teams.

Hiroki Kuroda from LA may elect to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Yankees or Red Sox. He’s an option. Aaron Harang, who by no means is a “star”, is pitching effectively for the Padres and could be a solid addition. Hey, San Diego already has half the Red Sox prospects anyway…might as well ship more to Theo’s ex-homeboy, Jed Hoyer, and continue the establishment of Red Sox West. And, there are always a number of guys who linger underneath the radar at the deadline who may become available at the last minute.

The Red Sox need to make sure they land some assurance, before time runs out.

Follow Nick Cattles on Twitter: @NickCattles


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