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Here's what Red Sox need after bullish 1st half

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

Backed by a pair of superstar hitters (Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez) and an ace at the height of his powers (Chris Sale), the Red Sox are feeling pretty good about the stretch run.

After reeling off a 68-30 record before the break, Boston is eager to get back to work in pursuit of a third consecutive American League East crown.

Backed by a pair of superstar hitters (Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez) and an ace at the height of his powers (Chris Sale), the Red Sox are feeling pretty good about the stretch run.

After reeling off a 68-30 record before the break, Boston is eager to get back to work in pursuit of a third consecutive American League East crown.

But this season isn't about division titles. The Red Sox were bounced in the AL Division Series the past two years and are determined to make a deep postseason run this time around.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will try to make that possible with a couple of moves that could make a strong team even better. There are less than two weeks before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Current status: Buyer
The Red Sox have a strong and deep core and are all in on trying to win it all this season. Elite closer Craig Kimbrel is a free agent at the end of this season and Sale's contract is up after '19. That means that this could be Boston's strongest team for a few years, so there is pressure to capitalize on it. Dombrowski usually finds what he wants this time of year.

What they are seeking
The main need is obvious. The Red Sox need some help in front of Kimbrel in the bullpen. Joe Kelly has been spotty the past several weeks. Matt Barnes has been the most consistent setup man, but Boston doesn't want to run him into the ground. Right now, the bullpen is extremely right-handed. If Dombrowski can find a lefty, all the better.

What they have to offer
A couple of weeks ago, Dombrowski had more options he could put on the table. At that time, Christian Vazquez was healthy, so catcher Blake Swihart could have been used as trade bait. Now, the Sox would be more apt to keep Swihart to cover for Vazquez.

The depth of the starting rotation has also been compromised, as Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz are all on the disabled list. Sam Travis, who was once regarded as one of the most promising hitters in the farm system, could be trade bait. He is ranked No. 5 among the team's prospects by MLB Pipeline. Righty Bryan Mata, who just pitched in the Futures Game, is another player who could draw interest form teams.

Possible scenario
Now that the Orioles are all but out of contention, it's likely they will start moving forward in the process of unloading veteran players. Closer Zach Britton is a perfect fit for the Red Sox. He could take some of the load off Kimbrel down the stretch and he's also a lefty, which is exactly what the team needs. If Dombrowski winds up with a righty instead, don't be surprised to see him reel in Adam Ottavino from the Rockies. One thing which complicates that scenario is that Colorado is currently just two games out in the National League West, so it could become buyers instead of sellers.

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

Boston Red Sox