BOSTON (CBS) — With less than three weeks until the MLB trade deadline, it appears like the Red Sox are ready to start focusing on the future.
The release of catcher A.J. Pierzynski was just the first of what could be a busy few weeks for GM Ben Cherington, with plenty of veteran players on the roster who aren’t part of the long-term plan. In ridding themselves of Pierzynski, Boston has opened the door for 23-year-old prospect Christian Vazquez to get three months of big league ball under his belt this season, while learning under veteran backstop David Ross.
So who else could be dealt ahead of July 31? Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News joined The Adam Jones Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub Thursday night, and said there is one guy on the Red Sox who could fetch a very solid prospect for Boston.
“To me [Koji Uehara] is probably the most valuable reliever on the trade market,” said Fagan. “Anyone who trades for him isn’t looking for anything more than this year; they’re looking for the 30-40 innings they’ll get out of him the rest of the year. When you look for that short of a window, he is the guy. He is the best reliever out there; a guy who has done it in pressure situations and not just been OK, he’s been great.”
While the celebratory high fives that follow a Uehara save haven’t been as prevalent at Fenway this season, Boston’s 39-year-old closer still has 18 saves under his belt to go with his 5-2 record and 57 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched.
Fagan said there are a slew of teams out there that will be looking to bolster their bullpen for the postseason, and Uehara would be a perfect fit.
“You look a a team like the Giants, who have had Sergio Romo fall apart over the last month and a half, there are lots of teams that could use a guy they trust in the eighth or ninth inning,” said Fagan. “You’re not talking about getting an organization’s top two or three prospects, but a guy who is in their top 10-15. If you find the right situation, a team that is desperate to add to the bullpen, he could fetch a nice prospect.”
Fagan thinks the biggest name to move at the deadline will be Rays starter David Price.
Listen to the full interview below: