Red Sox Analysis

While Red Sox stand pat, AL competitors load up at deadline

Boston's path to the postseason just got even tougher.

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The 2023 MLB trade deadline has passed, and there isn't much to discuss in Boston.

After trading Kiké Hernández to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor-league pitchers and acquiring reliever Mauricio Llovera from the San Francisco Giants last week, the Red Sox mostly stayed quiet on Tuesday. Their only move before the 6 p.m. ET deadline was acquiring infielder Luis Urias -- who's spent most of the year in Triple-A -- from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Meanwhile, the clubs competing with them for a playoff spot loaded up for the final two months of the regular season.

All three of the American League teams currently holding wild-card spots added talent for a postseason push. The Tampa Bay Rays added former Cleveland Guardians starter Aaron Civale, who boasts a 2.34 ERA in 13 outings this season. The Houston Astros brought back reigning Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in a deal with the New York Mets. The Toronto Blue Jays acquired reliever Jordan Hicks and shortstop Paul DeJong in separate trades with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Los Angeles Angels, only a half-game behind Boston in the AL wild-card standings, went all-in. After shutting down the Shohei Ohtani trade rumors, they bolstered their pitching staff by acquiring starter Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox. They also improved their offense with the additions of sluggers C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk via the Colorado Rockies.

The AL West-leading Texas Rangers landed two of the top starting pitchers on the trade market: three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (from the Mets) and Jordan Montgomery (St. Louis Cardinals). The AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles avoided a dismal deadline of their own with the addition of starter Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to the deadline, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom emphasized that adding pitching was a priority. More specifically, a back-end rotation piece and a right-handed reliever were on the Red Sox' radar. They landed the latter in Llovera, but neither of those deals moved the needle for those who were hoping for a big splash.

Not only did Boston pass on trading for an impact player, it wasn't even linked to any notable big leaguers in trade rumors. Almost all of the chatter surrounding the Red Sox involved selling either James Paxton, Alex Verdugo, or Adam Duvall. All three of those players remain with the club.

Speaking to reporters after the deadline, Bloom called the Red Sox "underdogs for a playoff spot" and said they are "ready to roll with this group." Those statements suggest the club is content with Trevor Story, Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, and Tanner Houck serving as "trade deadline additions" when they return from the injured list.

Those reinforcements should give Boston a boost, but not adding at least one difference-maker to the pitching staff is a head-scratcher. The lack of a noteworthy addition could be the difference between squeaking into the postseason and watching from home in October.

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