Raise you're hand if you thought the Red Sox would be 20 games above .500, first place in the American League East, own the best record in the American League and the second best in all of baseball. Now put it back down because there's absolutely no way you had any hope for the Red Sox after the under-whelming 2019 title defense campaign and the absolute joke of a team in last season's COVID shortened 60-game sprint.
However, this year's team has a completely different vibe to them. This is an extremely likable Red Sox team this year, and every time there seems to be a likable and watchable team on the field, you get the feeling that something special is about to happen this summer and late fall potentially. After getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the first weekend of the season, the Red Sox have been an extremely consistent and talented group despite the fact that this team doesn't have any huge superstar talent with the exceptions of Rafael Devers, Xander Boegarts and JD Martinez. However, the Red Sox are still making it known that the last two seasons were a fluke and that they are still legitimate World Series contenders. Being nicknamed the "Comeback kids" while the Red Sox have a MLB leading 26 come-from-behind victories in 2021.
Heading into 2021, you would think that the favorites in the American League would be the White Sox, Rays, Yankees, Astros, Athletics, Twins and even the Blue Jays would be the teams to beat. That has held true for four of those seven teams. The Blue Jays have been up and down, one good week, one bad week. The Twins have scuffled right out of the gate and haven't found their stride yet. The Yankees on the other hand have been extremely inconsistent. Right when you think that New York has figured it out, they run into a brick wall and takes them a while to figure it out, which they haven't yet has we have reached the halfway point in the schedule.
With that being said, despite all the success that the Red Sox have had to this point, they still have their fair share of inconsistencies that must be addressed at the trade deadline which is Friday, July 30th this season. The Sox could use some much needed assistance in the rotation. Yes Chris Sale is on the way back from Tommy John Surgery and could possibly start heading on a rehab assignment within the next week or two. Tanner Houck is rehabbing from an injury himself but has been in Worcester for the season so far so he is another "internal" option. However, it doesn't hurt to look outside the organization for some help.
Obviously a big name pitcher like Max Scherzer is going to cost you an arm and a leg, that is if Washington cools off and starts to fall again in the National league standings. But at the same time you don't want to see Chaim Bloom pull a complete 180 and sellout the farm system for a rental. Thankfully he's not Dave Dombrowski, but Bloom will have have to make a move that will benefit the big league club without giving up a huge prospect in the process. The rotation should be the biggest need for this team as Edgardo Rodriguez has been extremely inconsistent this season. Yes he is coming back from complications from his bout with COVID but doesn't mean he gets a free pass for his performance to this point. Garrett Richards has been up and down, has a couple good starts then a couple bad starts. Plus Richards has been full of excuses as well to this point. Whether it was the weather, the ball, or even the inability now to safely put on sunscreen. The guy always has something. Nick Pivetta, who hasn't been terrible but he also hasn't really been consistent either. He struggles to get out innings quickly but he does eat innings for this team to give the bullpen a little extra rest.
The top of the order has been a carousal this season and it has been one common theme, inconsistency. Kike Hernandez has shown flashes that he can be the leadoff hitter, and time which he can't. Right now he's showing that he can, but how long will that last for exactly? Michael Chavis who has been up and down between both Boston and Worcester, has struggled leading off. There have been other experiments tried by Alex Cora and it hasn't exactly worked out.
Let's not leave out the bullpen. Even though Red Sox relievers in the month of June had a combined 2.46 ERA, while Josh Taylor did not give up a single run in the entire month. This is a bullpen that has been heavily used throughout the last 30 days but have been able to not only keep the opposition at bay, but gives the Red Sox offense a chance to score some runs and comer back to win. However we can't rely on the bullpen to bail you every single time, especially when your starters fail to get through the sixth inning at the very least. It wouldn't be a bad idea to add an additional arm or two. The two internal options are obviously Houck who will most likely be in and out of the rotation and Sale who absolutely be on an innings limit and pitch count when he's eligible to come off the injury list. However, see what is out there for reliable bullpen arms so that way guys like Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino and Josh Taylor aren't pitching three times in a four or five day stretch.
It would be wise for the Red Sox to wait to make a deal between now and the beginning of the All-Star break so you can see where some teams would be like Atlanta, Philadelphia, both New York teams, Toronto and the list goes on. However, if a player comes available that would be huge piece for a playoff run, be wise and cautious but make the move to improve the team. Right now the Red Sox are on pace to win 100 games, if you want to keep it that way, make a deal that will benefit the club now and in future seasons.