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Evaluating the trade deadline moves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 31, 2011 10:15 PM

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CHICAGO We won't know how well the Red Sox did at the trade deadine until the season is over and the impact made by Erik Bedard and Mike Aviles can be fully examined.

But sitting here about six hours after the trade deadline, the Sox appear to have done well for themselves.

Let's look at the last two days in totality.

The Sox obtained Bedard and Aviles, a starting pitcher and an experienced infielder. They gave up infielder Yamaico Navarro and five minor league prospects: outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, catcher Tim Federowicz, righthander Stephen Fife, righthander Juan Rodriguez and righthander Kendal Volz.

None of those six players are projected to be major league standouts. Navarro and Federowicz could make the majors as backups. The rest are, at best, second-level prospects.

You'd take Ryan Lavarnway over Federowicz. Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish instead of Chiang. Alex Wilson is better than Fife and Rodriguez and Volz are Class A relievers. The Sox have a dozen similar arms.

Now let's look at the potential impact of Bedard and Aviles.

Bedard, once he shakes off the rustiness still left from his DL stint, should be a more effective starter than Andrew Miller. Given that Miller has a 5.36 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP, that is not exactly a monumental task. Bedard has experience in the AL East and when he was healthy in the spring, he was one of the best lefties in the league. If he's 75 percent that good, that's better than Miller.

Aviles is clearly a better utility player than Navarro was. He has more experience and better speed. If a injury were to occur, he would be a much safer everyday starter than Navarro.

So two spots on the 25-man roster are better today than they were yesterday. That's not an insignificant amount. The Red Sox are already the best team in the American League based on their record. Getting a little better is fine. They didn't need to get a lot better.

Greedy fans will complain that the Red Sox didn't land Hunter Pence and/or Ubaldo Jimenez. But the Red Sox have an aging roster and stripping three or four quality prospects away would have made little sense seven months after giving up three blue chippers for Adrian Gonzalez.

The goal is not to contend for the title in 2011, it's to contend for the title every year.

The market was not replete with great options this season but Epstein found a way to improve the team without giving up a lot. It's hard to argue with that.

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