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Inbox: Will Red Sox fortify 1B, 'pen at Deadline?

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

I don't understand why the Sox aren't trying for a first baseman. Mitch Moreland is struggling right now and really hurting the team. How about Alonso from the A's?
-- @CMatchuk70

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is looking to improve the lineup every way he can, and if a potential acquisition happens to play first base, I don't think that would preclude a deal from happening. I agree that Yonder Alonso would look good in a Red Sox uniform, and A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is always looking to make deals this time of year. As for Moreland, he played on a broken big left toe for more than a month, and it likely led to his offensive dropoff as well as some bad mechanics that are still causing him to slump. He could still heat up again.

I don't understand why the Sox aren't trying for a first baseman. Mitch Moreland is struggling right now and really hurting the team. How about Alonso from the A's?
-- @CMatchuk70

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is looking to improve the lineup every way he can, and if a potential acquisition happens to play first base, I don't think that would preclude a deal from happening. I agree that Yonder Alonso would look good in a Red Sox uniform, and A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is always looking to make deals this time of year. As for Moreland, he played on a broken big left toe for more than a month, and it likely led to his offensive dropoff as well as some bad mechanics that are still causing him to slump. He could still heat up again.

Any chance we would go after Alonso or Lucas Duda and release Moreland or use him as a reserve? Maybe a Duda and Addison Reed combo?
-- @RyanBohara

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I'd be surprised if the Red Sox released Moreland. His defense makes him an important asset to have, particularly if the team gets to the postseason. Alsonso and Duda are two bats on the radar, for sure. The Duda-Reed combo could fill two needs with one trade.

Please tell me Dave Dombrowski isn't done looking for a power bat.
-- @BDanz310

Dombrowski will be exploring every potential option between now and Monday at 4 p.m. ET. That includes power bats and setup men. The only area the Red Sox aren't looking to add to right now is the starting rotation. They feel that is the strength of the club, and the goal would be to make other areas of the team as strong.

Video: WSH@ARI: Doolittle K's Marte to earn the save

What are the potential eighth-inning-upgrade options? I like the guys we have, but I think we need another piece.
-- @mikeisverynice

Quite a few relievers have already been traded, including David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Maurer. But there are still some pitchers who could be on the move, and the Red Sox have taken a lot of looks at Tigers righty Justin Wilson in recent weeks. Mets righty Addison Reed is another talented pitcher who is available.

Video: BOS@TEX: Kelly fans Odor to escape a jam in the 8th

When and if Carson Smith and Joe Kelly come back, who is demoted from bullpen?
-- @tristanleon16

Those hypotheticals are always hard because of the things that can happen in between, but I'll do my best. Brandon Workman still has Minor League options, so he could be sent down to create one opening. Doug Fister is a nice luxury to have right now as a long reliever, but Boston could decide that roster spot would be more valuable for a setup man.

Would you take back the Travis Shaw trade?
-- @kalebariley

With hindsight being 20-20, yes, I'd take back the trade -- and Dombrowski probably would, too. But at the time the trade was made, I don't recall anyone criticizing it. Shaw seemed like a streak hitter, and he didn't produce much in the second half of last season at all. Thornburg looked like the eighth-inning guy the Red Sox needed, but then he got hurt. These trades are made in the moment, and Dombrowski and his staff did they best they could with the information they had at the time, and they felt the trade would help the team. Obviously, it backfired.

Video: BOS@LAA: Bogaerts makes a great stop and throw

Do you think the hit [right] hand in Tampa Bay on July 6 has had a serious effect on Xander Bogaerts? He is struggling to hit lately.
-- @stephenfreeman

It would probably be a stretch to say there isn't a connection. Before getting hit, Bogaerts had a slash line of .308/.361/.455. Since that night, his line is .137/.214/.176. With Eduardo Nunez on board, you wonder if Boston will take advantage of the opportunity to get Bogaerts some extra rest and rehab for his hand with a mini-shutdown.

Could they use Nunez every day by basically having him be super-utility man and spelling guys instead of taking Devers' spot?
-- @theLifeofRiley9

Manager John Farrell will outline his plan for Nunez prior to Friday night's game against the Royals. But I think your scenario makes perfect sense. Nunez has tremendous value as someone who can play four positions. If Devers does stay on the roster, it means that he is going to continue to play regularly against right-handed pitching. At his age, and at this stage of his development, he won't be on the Major League roster as a backup.

Video: MIN@BOS: Travis catches errant throw, makes great tag

If first base is such a problem, why isn't Sam Travis getting a look? He played well in a limited role.
-- @BrantleyMichael

Usually what the Red Sox do in these situations is size up their roster once the non-waiver Trade Deadline passes. If they aren't able to get the upgrade they need in a trade, promoting Travis and having him play more regularly could certainly be a scenario that plays out. Part of this will depend on if Moreland can get back on track.

What's the latest on Smith?
-- @SportsTweet89

The right-hander might finally be turning that final corner to be cleared to go on a Minor League rehab assignment. Smith's recent throwing sessions have gone well. In an ideal world, Smith will throw another bullpen session or two, face hitters once or twice, and then pitch in some Minor League games. Given how long he's been out, I think mid-August is a fair estimate for his return to Boston.

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

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