McAdam: Sox working on deals, but nothing close

McAdam: Sox working on deals, but nothing close
July 30, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Just over 24 hours remain before the non-waiver trade deadline arrives at Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern, and while the Red Sox continue to engage on multiple fronts, no deal is currently close.
     
Here's a look at the options and the likelihood of something getting done . . .
     
CLIFF LEE
Lee is, by far, the best starting pitcher available on the market, but as you might expect, the player cost is astronomical.
     
The Phillies have told teams that Lee could be had, but that comes with a major caveat: the Phils expect "multiple'' top prospects in return and aren't willing to eat any of the remaining money due Lee.
     
The Phils would want infielder Xander Bogaerts included in a trade for Lee, and for the Red Sox, that's a complete non-starter. It seems the Sox also are completely unwilling to give up at least two others in their cache of top prospects: outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and lefthander Henry Owens.
     
The Sox see Bogaerts as their top position player prospect and a foundation piece for the next decade or more.
     
Bradley has to be retained in the likely event that free agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury leaves this winter. Bradley would be a ready replacement for him in center field next year and they'll control him for the next six seasons.
     
The sky-high asking price on Lee might be somewhat easier to digest if the Phils were willing to take back some of the money due to him through the end of 2015. But they aren't.
     
Lee is due $25 million in both 2014 and 2015, and with slightly more than $8 million due him in pro-rated money for the remainder of this season, that's more than $58 million in salary.
     
In addition, there's an option on Lee for 2016, with a $12.5 million buyout, bringing the money owed Lee to about $71 million.
     
The Red Sox might be willing to take all the money. And, if they could find a way to exclude Bogaerts in a package of prospects, they might be willing to meet the Phils' asking price.
     
But to do both? That won't happen.
     
JAKE PEAVY
In terms of player cost, Peavy won't be as expensive as Lee. Then again, given his injury history, that's only logical.
     
But Peavy remains costly, with the White Sox looking to obtain at least as much -- if not more -- than the crosstown Cubs obtained for Matt Garza earlier this month.
     
Put in those terms, the Red Sox would be expected to give up a top nearly-ready position player (Bradley? Will Middlebrooks?) and an elite pitching prospect (Allen Webster? Brandon Workman?) plus at least one other lower-level prospect.
     
That's a lot to pay for someone with Peavy's sketchy injury history, especially when he's only made two starts since coming off the DL with a broken rib.
     
The Sox -- and a handful of other teams -- had hoped to get a look at Peavy once more in Cleveland Tuesday night, but Peavy was scratched from that assignment.
     
Two weeks ago, one major league talent evaluator predicted that a Peavy deal would go right down to the final hour on the July 31. That still seems to hold true, with teams waiting to see if the White Sox bring down their asking price.
     
BULLPEN HELP
The Red Sox have balked on Francisco Rodriguez and Jesse Crain, and both ended up going to division rivals (Baltimore and Tampa Bay, respectively). That should tell you what the Sox think about overpaying for relievers whose performance level is often impossible to project.
     
Unlike other teams who seem focused on rentals (players who are eligible for free agency after this season) the Red Sox would prefer players whom they can control past this year.
     
That's part of what has driven their interest in Kansas City's Luke Hochevar and San Diego's Luke Gregerson. Both would be under control through 2014.
     
Hochever has been far more effective since going to the bullpen, and the Royals, though they aren't having a fire sale, could justify moving him because his of his salary ($4.5 million).
     
Gregorson has been one of the more consistent set-up men in the National League in the last few years, though the Sox have to be a little careful since his numbers have been built pitching in the best pitcher's ballaprk (Petco Park) in either league.