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Inbox: What will Red Sox do at Deadline?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from fans
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

What position and players do you believe the Red Sox will be able to acquire by the time the non-waiver Trade Deadline is over?
-- Larry P., Harrisburg, Pa.

Impact reliever -- preferably a lefty. Maybe even a second impact reliever -- righty or lefty. A right-handed bat off the bench. If you add those pieces, this team is looking pretty good for the stretch run.

What position and players do you believe the Red Sox will be able to acquire by the time the non-waiver Trade Deadline is over?
-- Larry P., Harrisburg, Pa.

Impact reliever -- preferably a lefty. Maybe even a second impact reliever -- righty or lefty. A right-handed bat off the bench. If you add those pieces, this team is looking pretty good for the stretch run.

I see that the Orioles have a couple of good relievers about to hit free agency. Who is the best fit for the Red Sox: Brad Brach or Zach Britton?
-- Jay K., Winthrop, Maine

Britton would be an outstanding fit because he's a lefty. If you look at the current bullpen, the best pitchers -- Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes -- are all right-handed. Brian Johnson is more of a long guy than a lefty setup man. Britton would give Boston another big weapon in the late innings.

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Don't you think Boston's top priority at the Trade Deadline should be to acquire a right-handed-hitting bat it's been missing since Hanley Ramirez left? The Sox are 10th in the American League in OPS vs. lefties.
-- Luigi S.

A right-handed bat off the bench will be something president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski looks for, but I'm not sure it is the top priority. A lefty reliever might be more important. In J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox have some righties who should do damage against lefties. Eduardo Nunez should also hit better than he has so far. Maybe Blake Swihart will get hot at some point.

Do you think the Sox should try to get another starter like the Rays' Chris Archer before the Deadline? Maybe move Drew Pomeranz to the 'pen or trade?
-- Bill M., Kissimmee, Fla.

I think Boston is in great shape in the starting rotation with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. If Steven Wright or Pomeranz can ably hold down the fifth spot, I really don't see the need to acquire another starter when the team has other more obvious needs.

Why would Red Sox leadership even consider trading Rafael Devers? Devers has proven to be trainable and coachable. He exudes a humbleness which fans love. He could be the next David Ortiz. Do you really want to blow that?
-- Kathleen C., Fayetteville, N.C.

It sounds like you are confusing possible rumors with actual facts. There have been no substantial reports that the Red Sox are trying to trade Devers. There have just been suggestions that if they wanted to acquire certain players, they'd have to part with Devers. I'm very skeptical that Boston would trade Devers unless the return was simply too great to pass up.

Thinking ahead, do you see a scenario where Kimbrel wants too much money and he becomes a free agent, and the Red Sox give Kelly the closer's job? It seems especially this year like Kelly has finally unlocked the secret to consistency, which he was lacking in the past.
-- Jim A.

There's one problem with what you suggest. Kelly is also a free agent. It's going to be an interesting offseason for Kimbrel and Kelly. I think the Red Sox would love to re-sign Kimbrel. If that's the case, Kelly could explore options to either close for another team or maybe even try to start again.

Why is Jackie Bradley Jr. still in the lineup?
-- Iner N., Endwell, N.Y.

Bradley remains an elite defender, despite the tough start he has had offensively. Boston has been either in first place or just a game or two behind all season. The Red Sox rank second in the Majors to the Yankees in OPS, and they're just a few points behind. I'm guessing Bradley's bat hasn't hurt the team as much as you think, considering where it ranks in the standings and in team offensive statistics.

Even after the unexpected DFA of Ramirez, it seems Swihart is still getting minimal playing time. Do you still see him as part of the Red Sox's future?
-- Chris, Fair Oaks, Calif.

It's hard to gauge a player's worth when he doesn't get regular at-bats. At some point, the Red Sox are either going to have to give Swihart a chance to play regularly or trade him. He is in a very tough situation. The roster will likely force Boston's hand at some point, perhaps even by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

If the rotation is firing on all cylinders, why not put Pomeranz in the 'pen when he comes back?
-- Marc P., Harland, Maine

It depends on if they think Pomeranz can help the bullpen. Manager Alex Cora thought that Wright was very valuable to the bullpen before he replaced Pomeranz in the rotation. The key is for Pomeranz to be a functioning member of the pitching staff -- be it as a starter or a reliever. He wasn't helping anyone by the way he was performing as a starter before he got injured. Perhaps a move to the bullpen -- at least in the short term -- would help Pomeranz regain some of his velocity.

At some point in the future when he starts to slow down, could Dustin Pedroia become an infield utility bench player like Brock Holt is and Jed Lowrie was?
-- David M., Sebastopol, Calif.

It is generally hard for players who have been stars to transition to a utility role. I'm not sure that would be enjoyable for Pedroia, and I'm also not sure how productive he would be in that type of role. It takes a special skill to be a Holt or an Nunez. I'm guessing Pedroia will play as long as he feels he can perform at a high level. The key right now is for him to get healthy.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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