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Tackling the trade deadline: Boston Red Sox

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Over the next few days, I’m going to look at the needs of some contenders as we approach the July 31 trade deadline.

Boston Red Sox
First-half record: 55-35
Standings: Leading Yankees by 1 game, Rays by 6 games in AL East

Needs

Starting pitcher: The Red Sox thought they were set with a rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but three of their five starters are on the DL and no one in Boston wants to see Lackey start a postseason game.  The Red Sox should be able to win the AL East or at least the wild card with what they have now, but it’d sure be nice to have additional options for October.

Right field: Free-agent-to-be J.D. Drew appears to be half-retired already.  He’s hitting .229/.329/.317 with just 10 extra-base hits and 21 RBI in 18 at-bats for the season.  On the plus side, the Red Sox do have an internal replacement available: Josh Reddick, who has been subbing in for an injured Carl Crawford in left, is hitting .393/.429/.672 in 70 at-bats.  He already has as many extra-base hits as Drew.  Still, he is unproven and the Red Sox might bypass him if the right opportunity comes along.

Bullpen: Bobby Jenks was supposed to be Boston’s third shutdown reliever alongside Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard, but he’s served two DL stints and amassed a 6.32 ERA in 19 appearances.  The Red Sox will be shopping for a seventh-inning guy, preferably a left-hander.

Target

Matt Garza (RHP Cubs): Garza has never fulfilled his promise, but the Red Sox know him well: he’s 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 career starts against Boston.  He was also largely responsible for knocking the Red Sox out of the 2008 playoffs when he went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA for the Rays in the ALCS.

Proposed deal

Garza for 3B Will Middlebrooks, RHP Kyle Weiland, LHP Felix Doubront and C Tim Federowicz

For the Cubs to move Garza, they’re going to want to make up for most of what they lost in getting him from the Rays over the winter.  This deal doesn’t net them any elite prospects, but Middlebrooks is currently a better hope at third base than the Cubs’ former first-rounder Josh Vitters and both Weiland and Doubront are ready for extended opportunities to show what they can do in the majors.

The Red Sox could instead part with their top pitching prospect, Anthony Ranaudo, in place of Middlebrooks and one of the two arms.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.

Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.

While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.