As the trade deadline approaches, the Red Sox may be dealing from a position of strength in what is an area of need for many teams.
Veteran lefthanders Craig Breslow and Matt Thornton are on the roster. Breslow, who is signed through 2014, is one of the primary set-up men at this point.
Thornton has appeared in six games for the Sox since being acquired from the White Sox. Opponents are hitting .368 against him with a .429 OBP. Lefties are 4 for 10. It's not much to go on, but nevertheless.
Meanwhile, rookie lefty Drake Britton has been quite impressive in five relief outings. Over six scoreless innings he has allowed two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Britton has thrown strikes and attacked hitters, earning praise from manager John Farrell.
(That said, Britton had his bacon saved on Monday when Shane Victorino pulled a two-run homer by Luke Scott back over the bullpen wall in right).
Finally, lefty Franklin Morales started a rehab assignment with Triple A Pawtucket on Monday and struck out all three batters he faced. Morales has not pitched since June 22 because a strained pectoral muscle near his shoulder. Once he’s ready, Morales could be an important member of the bullpen. He has been that before, after all.
Sometime soon, the Red Sox could have four lefty relievers. The easy decision would be to option Britton down until Sept. 1. But perhaps there is an opportunity to deal from a position of strength.
The Red Sox could deal one of their surplus lefties [Thornton?] and obtain a righthanded reliever. Perhaps with a prospect included, it could be a pretty decent righthanded reliever.
Meanwhile, there is this: Jose Contreras has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings in three appearances for Pawtucket. He has not allowed a hit while walking three and striking out eight. The Bronze Titan — the nickname once bestowed on Contreras by Fidel Castro — could be on his way pretty soon.