Hall of Fame baseball reporter and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show and talked about trade deadline news involving the Red Sox.
Gammons said it seems likely that the Red Sox will focus on starting pitching, although the price for Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez appears to be too high. But with Andrew Miller struggling, the Sox might be forced to be more aggressive on the trade market.
"They're not going to get Ubaldo Jimenez; they're not getting a front-line guy," Gammons said. "I was told that Andrew probably will start one more time. And if he'll go back to throwing the ball the way he did earlier in the season -- just letting it go. It's very clear that when he starts thinking about throwing strikes, he reverts to his Florida nightmare and slows his arm action down. After that, they can see. They can put him in the bullpen for the rest of the year or whatever, and take him to spring training at the age of 26. But yeah, I think that there's no question [they go after a starting pitcher].
"Even when they were struggling a little bit on the road, I had one Red Sox official say to me -- I said, 'Are you sold on Josh Reddick in right field?' And he said, 'I don't lose any sleep over right field. I do occasionally lose sleep over pitching.' And I think that's exactly where they'll go."
Gammons said Dodgers righty Hiroki Kuroda remains a possibility, although there are questions about how he would hold up in the American League East.
"I don't believe the Red Sox will give up anything really good to get him," he said. "Maybe they trade [minor league catcher Tim] Federowicz, the way [Ryan] Lavarnway has moved up. But again, he's going to catch in the big leagues for a pretty good amount of time. Do you give those guys up? They had the best backup catcher in baseball in [David] Ross and let him go. He's been invaluable to the Braves."
As for rumors that the Red Sox are in the hunt for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, Gammons said the veteran slugger is a possibility but not a priority.
Said Gammons: "When you're the best offensive team in baseball and you are struggling, you are concerned about whether [Clay] Buchholz is going to come back and you are a little worried about Andrew Miller, is it wise to prioritize getting Carlos Beltran? Now, he would be a terrific addition, there's no question."
Gammons said the Giants make the most sense for Beltran and that the Indians, despite offering to pay the rest of Beltran's salary, appear to be out of the running because Beltran wants a team with a better shot at a title.
Assuming Beltran doesn't end up in Boston, the Sox still might make a move for an outfielder.
"This is going to be tax-free weekend at Walmart for right-handed-hitting outfielders, relief pitchers and utility players. So, there will be a lot of guys available," Gammons said. "I always thought that the most logical guy for the Red Sox is Reed Johnson from the Cubs. Because they will not even discuss trading Jeff Baker, they won't discuss trading Marlon Byrd.
"So, Reed Johnson is probably the most logical. He's hitting .356 against left-handers. His OPS is over .900 against lefties. He's a pretty good player. He plays really hard. He would be a good addition to platoon with Reddick, or fill in."
As for help in the infield, Gammons said: "I don't know whether you take a shot with [Rafael] Furcal for the rest of the season or somebody like that. But I don't think there are that many good middle-infield position players out there."
Touching on the apparent blown call in the 19th inning of Tuesday night's game that gave the Braves a victory over the Pirates, Gammons said umpire Jerry Meals' controversial decision may help lead to expanded use of instant replay.
"I think it may. I think it probably will," Gammons said. "Bud Selig is trying to weigh it in every way. … I think fans want it so badly. And I think there's a credibility issue, that they've said, 'Let's get these calls right.' This isn't the '50s, this is 2011, it will be 2012 next year. I think in the end they'll figure out a way to do it with the umpires and make it work right."