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Tom Verducci on MFB: Red Sox ‘have to be in at least a partial selling mode’

07.14.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the state of the Red Sox, Jon Lester‘€™s impending free agency and trade rumors surrounding Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

In an interview with The Boston Globe published Sunday, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said that the organization has yet to determine if Boston — sitting at 43-52 and 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East — has accepted the role of “buyer”€ or “€œseller”€ this season, a stance that Verducci said he agrees with.

“€œI think right now, they’ve got to sort of be both,”€ Verducci said. “In other words, you have to lay the groundwork for some deals, you have to see what you can get for somebody, whether it’€™s a Jake Peavy, maybe a Stephen Drew, even a [Koji] Uehara. … But I do think they have to be in at least a partial selling mode and see what they can get for these players.”

Another week has gone by with no news of any progress regarding a new contract for Lester. Verducci said that while Lester — who has posted career-best numbers with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP this season — could be a trade chip, the Red Sox should go all out to retain the southpaw.

“€œI’€™d do everything I can to re-sign this guy. … I think you give it your best shot. … It’€™s hard for me to imagine the Red Sox going forward without Jon Lester,”€ Verducci said. “€œThe durability that he brings is just irreplaceable. Yeah, you look in the farm system, there’€™s a ton of arms that you really like, but some of those guys are 2-3 years away from the potential of being Jon Lester, and Clay [Buchholz] just has not proven he’€™s a 200-inning guy, 33-start guy year after year. … The minute you lose a pitcher like that, you’€™re trying to replace a pitcher like that, and that’€™s not easily done.”

One possible avenue for the Red Sox to improve their AL-worst offense could be through a trade with Miami to acquire Stanton, who has established himself as one of the league’€™s premier sluggers over the past few seasons, posting a line of .295/.395/.538 with 21 home runs this year.

While the Red Sox obviously would be thrilled to add a batter of Stanton’€™s pedigree to their lineup, Verducci said the Marlins are not taking offers for the 24-year-old All-Star.

“A lot of teams would love to get him, but right now, he’€™s not available,” Verducci said. “That’€™s what the Marlins are saying. They certainly think that they still have a shot. … They’€™re not that far away, even if it’€™s not this year. I don’€™t see a situation where they have to move Giancarlo Stanton. They’€™re just trying to get that fan base back there to believe again. … I can’€™t see them at moving Giancarlo Stanton this month, and actually, I don’€™t even seem them moving him this winter.”

One potential player that could be made expendable if Boston accepts a “œseller”€ mentality is closer Koji Uehara, whom Verducci said could be the final piece needed for multiple championship-contending teams.

“€œI think [the Red Sox] can get a pretty good prospect. … Renting Koji for a couple months, you’€™re not going to get a top-of-the-rotation player, a middle-of-the-order bat, but you may get somebody low in the minor leagues that’€™s going to help you in a couple of years,” Verducci said. “I would definitely listen. As much as I love him, as the Red Sox love him, I think that’€™s a deal I would make if I’€™m the Red Sox.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: giancarlo stanton, Jon Lester, Koji Uehara, Tom Verducci
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