MLB Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox: Top 5 Trade Assets

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Boston Red Sox Top 5 Trade Assets

Rick Osentoski- USA Today Sports

In their wildest dreams, the Boston Red Sox could not have imagined they would be in first place with the July 31 trade deadline approaching. The 2012 season was a complete disaster, and even though they made a few moves, a bulk of the roster returned for 2013. However, a change in chemistry has had a huge effect on the Red Sox clubhouse, and they currently have the best record in the American League.

Therefore, their approach to the trade deadline is dramatically different than it could have been. Before the season, there was discussion about the possibility of trading Jacoby Ellsbury at the deadline since he was set to become a free agent at the end of the year. Now, there is no chance they’d make a deal that would jeopardize their chance to make a deep run in October.

The Red Sox now are likely to add pieces to a team that is only a player or two away from being a legitimate contender to win it all. They obviously need to address the closer role, seeing as everyone they have tried there has failed to some degree. They might need to find a third baseman with the current struggles of Will Middlebrooks. And they could use another arm for their starting rotation with Clay Buchholz remaining a question mark thanks to a neck injury.

The question becomes, how much are the Red Sox willing to sacrifice their future in order to win now? They have great depth in their minor league system, particularly in pitching. Could the Sox give up a young arm or two to grab a big name player at the deadline? That remains to be seen.

But here’s a look at the top five trade assets the Red Sox have heading into the trade deadline.

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Allen Webster

Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports

Webster hasn’t performed particularly well in his brief stint in the majors, but you can’t ignore his stuff. The 23 year-old right hander has a blazing fastball, and good enough complimentary pitches to be a top of the rotation pitcher for the future. Teams might be willing to trade a veteran starting pitcher in order to grab Webster and his tremendous potential.

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Will Middlebrooks

Joy R. Absalon USA-TODAY Sports

With the emergence of Jose Iglesias, Middlebrooks might be expendable at the trade deadline. His offensive struggles earned him a recent demotion, and if Iglesias keeps hitting like he is, Middlebrooks is unlikely to earn his spot back. With Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox appear to have two young studs on the left side of the infield, making Middlebrooks a potential trade chip in the following month.

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Felix Doubront

Mark L. Baer- USA Today Sports

If the Red Sox acquire a starting pitcher at the deadline, they will need to open up a spot in the rotation, meaning Doubront could be on his way out. The young left hander has shown flashes of brilliance as a starter for the Red Sox over the last two years, but hasn’t done it consistently. He’s still young, however, and hard-throwing lefties are a rare commodity.

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Matt Barnes

Denny Medley- USA Today Sports

The 23 year-old right hander was a first-round pick two years ago and has steadily worked his way through the minors. He has a plus fastball ranging between 94-96 mph, and a sharp breaking curveball. Like most young pitchers, he’s struggled with control, but that will come with time. It’s possible the Red Sox wouldn’t be willing to part with Barnes, but they might for the right price.

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Xander Bogaerts

Kim Klement- USA Today Sports

Finally, the guy everyone has heard so much about, Xander Bogaerts. He has displayed a skill set that will make him a star at shortstop in the major leagues. The 6-foot-3 20 year-old can do it all, especially at the plate. He’s shown great power and generates tremendous bat speed in the box. He’s a rare talent who has been compared favorably with Hanley Ramirez.

Odds are he is completely untouchable at the trade deadline, but Iglesias could play shortstop in the future, so if a mega trade is offered, they might consider pulling the trigger.