Our Boston Red Sox are 51-26 and one game back from the Yankees as of June 22. We have the most wins in the MLB and first place is well within our grasp. Everything sounds like it is going swimmingly, right? I wouldn’t say so. After dropping two games to the Twins and the Mariners each on the road, there is room for concern. The Red Sox pitching has been good, not stellar, and our offense (before the last two games) was struggling. Here’s why they need to act now:

Trade Season May Be Now

Per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, “As … trade season picks up, the Red Sox have an eye on adding a reliever and a right-handed bat, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said.” Drellich makes a great point in saying that trade season is starting to pick up. We have already seen a couple noteworthy trades happen, with Kelvin Herrera going to the Nationals and Alex Colome and Denard Span (noted Red Sox destroyer) now Mariners.

These trades are noteworthy because they initiate the theme of this trading season: late inning relievers. With the Astros, possibly the Indians, and our Red Sox looking for relief help, these teams will be opening up their prospect-wallets and paying up for the available relievers. Some of the relievers expected to be available are Brad Hand of the Padres, Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach of the Orioles, and Blake Treinen of the A’s among others. As you can see, the elite options are not plentiful, and it’s crucial to act before the other teams.

The Early Trade Pays Off

According to history, trades in early July and late June tend to pay off. Last season, the Cubs traded for former White Sox starter Jose Quintana on July 13, and this caught the MLB world off guard. At the time of the Quintana trade, the Cubs were 5 1/2 games back from the first place Brewers. The Cubs ended up winning the NL Central, and advanced to the NLCS, where the Dodgers defeated them in five games. That is a drastic improvement for the Cubs, and just imagine what that would for the Red Sox.

Rewind to the 2016 season. On July 14, 17 days before the 2016 trade deadline, our Boston Red Sox traded for former Padres starter Drew Pomeranz. At this point in the season, they were two games back from the Orioles, who were in first place. This was just the boost they needed, as they had a big void in that rotation, for we did not have Chris Sale yet. Sure, the Red Sox were swept in the ALDS that year by the Astros, but again, improvement.

A Trade Idea for the Red Sox

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

One idea for a trade is with Andrew Benintendi’s hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds. They are at a pitiful 30-45 record, which is good for last place in the NL Central. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston said they are looking for a reliever and a right-handed bat. The Reds have closer Raisel Iglesias and infielder Eugenio Suarez, who would be great fits.

Iglesias, so far this season, has a 2.30 ERA in 31 1/3 innings pitched with 12 saves. He is 28, so he is in the midst of prime, and is known for his sinker, which would be great weapon for situations with runners on base. Suarez is primarily a third baseman, but can move over to shortstop or second. This would help give Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts days off.

Eugenio Suarez would also help immensely against left-handed pitching. The Red Sox have a weak .685 OPS against left-handed pitching this season, which is 8th worst in the MLB. Suarez has been stellar against left-handed pitching, hitting .357/.486/.679/1.164 against them. This would be a huge boost to the lineup.

The package going to the Reds would be a bit pricey, and I recommend they offer them catcher Blake Swihart, pitcher Bryan Mata (Red Sox No. 4 prospect)*, first baseman Sam Travis (Red Sox No. 5 prospect)*, and shortstop CJ Chatham (Red Sox No. 10 prospect)*.

Happy trading!

*All prospect rankings come from http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2018?list=bos