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Red Sox have pieces to play with

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 1, 2012 01:44 PM

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TORONTO Ben Cherington said 10 days ago that he didn't see Adrian Gonzalez playing right field as a long-term solution for the Red Sox.

Ten days later, he's pretty much the regular right fielder. With Cody Ross coming back before the end of this month (or at least so it seems) followed by Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox are going to have some roster issues very soon.

Demoting Will Middlebrooks, who is hitting .316/.343/.579, wouldn't seem to make much sense.

That brings us to the idea, once again, of trading Kevin Youkilis.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported that the Sox intend to trade Youkilis. Our Nick Cafardo has reported that the Giants, Diamondbacks and Dodgers are keeping an eye on the infielder. You can add the Rangers and maybe the Phillies to that list.

Here's my question: Does it stop with Youkilis?

The Red Sox are carrying three lefthanders in the bullpen and have several qualified arms (Mark Melancon, Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa) waiting for a chance at Pawtucket. One of those lefties could increase the scope of the trade.

Maybe there's an outfielder who could get thrown into the mix. Or backup catcher Kelly Shoppach.

The point is that the trade on the horizon may not be Youkilis for Prospect A and Prospect B. It could be Youkilis and other pieces for an established No. 3 starter. Or something else.

And while there is little chance it happens this summer, especially because he's hurt, don't the Red Sox have to at least consider trading Ellsbury before he becomes a free agent and dances to the tune played by Scott Boras?

That's a topic for another day, probably after the season. For now, prepare yourself for the Sox to be active on the trade market. At this point, it's not if, it's when.

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