The Boston Red Sox could still be in the market to make trades, even though the Major League Baseball trade deadline passed on July 31. The team's recent hot streak, especially when paired with the struggles of the American League East Division leaders, the New York Yankees, might make it more likely that the Red Sox look for deals.
Players can be traded at any time. But after July 31, they must first pass through waivers. It is common for teams to pass almost the entire roster through waivers in the early days of August. If another team makes a claim, the Red Sox could choose to pull the player back and keep them for the rest of the season, try to work out a trade with the claiming team, or just let the player go to whoever claimed them.
Given their roles, their contracts, or both, the Red Sox could still look to trade a number of players before post-season rosters are set on August 31.
Boston reportedly talked to other teams about Beckett already, judging his value and looking to move him to a contender in need of a starter. The remaining $30 million owed to him will likely prevent any team from claiming him, and he will clear waivers. If he recovers quickly from the back spasms that plagued him in his last start, he could still wind up somewhere else before the season ends.
Both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach could be dealt, depending on the value of what other teams might offer. The Red Sox have a replacement ready for either in Ryan Lavarnway, who made an impact during his September call up last season. Ideally, Saltalamacchia would go. He would bring back the biggest return, is the weaker of the current catchers defensively, and is about to get more expensive than Boston should be paying.
Perhaps some team will have an injury to an infielder, and be looking for a fill-in with a veteran's presence and postseason experience. The emergence of Pedro Ciriaco for the Red Sox makes Punto expendable, and Boston would probably be happy to be out from under the extra year still to go on Punto's contract.
Assuming he bounces back from a nagging turf toe injury, Aviles is also expendable. Punto, Ciriaco and Jose Iglesias could cover shortstop if a team comes calling for a versatile middle infielder who has shown some power.
The Red Sox should be prudent sellers at this point. The team does not need to be overhauled - at least until the offseason - and is still technically in the hunt for a wild card playoff berth. But if trading parts that can be replaced internally means a chance to improve the team for the long run, general manager Ben Cherington should be willing to make a deal.
Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan. Follow him on twitter @RickBlaineCT.