The Kansas City Royals just made the kind of trade the Red Sox need to.
The Royals dealt center fielder Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez and lefty prospect Ryan Verdugo.
Cabrera has a career year in 2011, hitting .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers, 87 RBI and 102 runs scored. But Sanchez, who turns 29 later this month, is a lefty with good stuff (career 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings) who needs further refining of his control.
With the talent in their farm system, the Royals traded from a surplus and got a lefty starter in return. Sanchez has warts, but if the Red Sox made this deal, he's their No. 4 starter. Right now their No. 4 starter is .... um ....
There's a similar deal out there to be made for the Red Sox, particularly if they're willing to part with Kevin Youkilis, who has one year and $12 million left on his deal with a club option for 2013.
Team officials have said they have no intention to deal Youkilis. But why would they say otherwise? That would only hurt their leverage.
Whether it's Youkilis, Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick or one of their prominent prospects, the Red Sox may need to find a starter via trade because the free agent market is so thin. The Royals made the first move and in many ways, it could be a blueprint.