BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox have already passed the mid-way point of the 2013 season and find themselves atop the AL East.

While they’re the first AL team to 50 wins, the Red Sox are far from perfect. With the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaching, it wouldn’t hurt for Boston to look into improving the back end of their rotation and bullpen — including a closer.

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The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Monday to break down what the Red Sox could do at the deadline. While he thinks pitching is always key, he thinks the Sox may have some options in-house before making trades.

“The bullpen is kind of a tricky spot, because I’ve talked to a lot of people with the Red Sox said they’ll take the next few weeks to determine whether they can get Andrew Bailey straight, whether they have a guy in their bullpen that can handle the ninth if Bailey can’t,” said Lauber. “If they can find a guy, whether it’s (Junichi) Tazawa or (Koji) Uehara, they’d like to find an in-house solution first before going outside.”

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“Their track record on trying to find closers has not been good the last few years,” said Lauber. “I don’t know that there’s a real confidence level that they can go out and trade for one.”

“The only guy out of the group [of available closers] that they know and trust would be Jonathan Papelbon. The question is do you want to commit to the rest of that contract?” questioned Lauber. “You’d be paying for the back of that contract at this point, and you knew he was going to be good last year and this year, where the Red Sox had pause the first time around re-signing him was ‘is he going to be good the next year or the year after that?'”

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“They’ll make pause before they go an try to make a move, even though [Papelbon is] the one closer out there that they know and trust,” said Lauber. “Everybody else falls into that Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey category. The Red Sox were confident in both of them and they both, for various reasons, have been disasters.”

Lauber also touched on the left side of the Red Sox’ infield, and the impact of manager John Farrell, who he called the biggest acquisition of the offseason:


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