In the spirit of making bold predictions, something I am not ashamed to do especially given the anonymity these forums provide, here is my glimpse into the future of that is in store around the July 31 trade deadline.
The Sox will not acquire a starting pitcher. Not anyone we think of as one, anyway.
The Sox will trade Brandon Workman (and possibly Keury de la Cruz) to the Cubs for Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva is not the sexy name fans might want to see, but he is a versatile pitcher capable of getting hitters out. He has experience in middle relief roles, starting roles and even in the AL East. He is also under contract for next season (at $5mill). Workman is an Epstein draftee who could end up as a victim of a 40-man roster crunch. The inclusion of de la Cruz also helps with potential 40-man roster issues in December.
There are two possibilities for a second trade for 2013, and Sox fans will not like either of them. The more likely one is that the Sox will trade a very minor player (Cody Kukuk? ) to the Dodgres for Juan Uribe and his entire salary. The other, grander possibility is that the Sox make a fairly big splash in acquiring Trevor Plouffe from Minnesota for a fairly comparable haul that would probably include 2 from Brentz, Marrero, and Alamanzar. Uribe is FA after 2013, is having a good season, and is a better defender. Plouffe is controlled through 2018, plays about anywhere, but couldn’t catch a cold if he was naked in Norway. The much cooler possibility for 3B would be dealing Stephen Drew for David Freese. The Cards get a better hitter than Kozma at SS, could move Matt Carpenter to 3B, and bring up top prospect Kolten Wong for 2B. It won’ t happen. Freese, lackluster as he has been this year, is controlled for longer than Drew, and Drew is not exactly making himself marketable by being on the DL.
In a future implications move, the Sox will trade Will Middlebrooks to the Angels for Hank Conger. Both Middlebrooks and Conger are former highly-regarded prospects who have proved very little in limited opportunities. Each fills a positional need for the other team in the near future. With Iannetta signed through 2015, and top 3B prospect Kaleb Cowart struggling in AA ball, the Angels need to look beyond Alberto Callaspo at 3B, and do so cheaply. The Sox are loaded at 3b, but their catcher situation after Saltalamacchia is unclear, with potential candidates including Lavarnway, Butler, and Vazquez. There are pluses and minues to each, and usually more minuses. Vazquez is probably the best option, but he is also an AA guy right now. Lavarnway appears to be a backup at best. Butler clearly is, and is a potential DFA candidate this December. Conger is not exactly a sure thing, but at least gives another potential candidate to throw into the mix, and one with a very significant upside. This deal could also wait until December, so don’t hold your breath.