|Find a place for this man
Great news for Sox fans: Toronto's free fall now has the Red Sox in first place! Not so great news for Sox fans: this team still has problems and the Yankees are surging. Everyone knows about Papi's struggles, but how about the rotation? Only Tim Wakefield has an ERA under 5.00, with Beckett (5.01), Lester (5.91) and Penny (5.96) all giving them less than everyone expected and Dice-K (10.32 in limited play) standing as a big question mark at the moment.
Unlike every other team with problems, however, the Sox seem to have some easy fixes available, all of which fit together nicely for the overall picture. Fixes like plugging in one of Clay Buchholz (3-0, 1.30 ERA, 49K in 48.1 IP) or Michael Bowden (2-2, 1.64 ERA) to the rotation and trading Brad Penny and a reliever for a corner infield bat that could provide some Papi insurance. If that's not enough -- or the target is big enough, like say, a Victor Martinez -- one of the young starters could be dangled as well.
Guys like Nick Johnson and Todd Helton are reportedly available now, and Matt Holliday is likely to come available soon. Maybe they aren't people for whom you give up a promising young arm -- especially Holliday, who will be a free agent after the year -- but something has to be done to (a) replace a David Ortiz who looks done; and (b) make room for one of the Pawtucket arms, and how much better would it be to make the deal from a position of relative strength -- in the catbird seat in baseball's toughest division -- than when times get more desperate as the season wears on?