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Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross, and Craig Kimbrel.
By Alex Speier Globe Staff  July 31, 2015

Just because the Red Sox are out of contention doesn’t mean that they’re out of the trade market.
The team is exploring a wealth of options, according to multiple league sources, including the possibility of adding young pitchers who would help upgrade one of the worst staffs in the game. Still, the cost of asking a pitcher in the team’s target demographic — young and controllable with elite stuff — would be considerable. As one major league source familiar with today’s trade dynamics noted, “A bad deal is easy to make.”

Still, the need to upgrade compels the Red Sox to explore different possibilities, with three pitchers having been connected to the Sox most prominently today. A look at the trio:
RHP Tyson Ross, 28, San Diego Padres
Contract status: $5.25 million salary in 2015 as second-time arbitration-eligible; two remaining years of team control before free agent eligibility after the 2017 season
2015 performance: 22 starts, 127 ⅔ innings, 7-8, 3.38 ERA, 105 ERA+, 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings, 4.3 walks per nine innings
2013-15 performance: 23-30, 3.07 ERA, 112 ERA+, 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.6 walks per nine innings
Why the Red Sox would want him: A controllable starter who is in his prime and features some of the best stuff of any starter in the game. Ross has struck out 25.3 percent of the batters he’s faced this year, the 14th best strikeout rate in the game, ahead of pitchers like Jon Lester, Gerrit Cole, Carlos Martinez, and Felix Hernandez. He works in the low- to mid-90s with a four- and two-seam fastball, though he leans heavily on a wipeout slider. Moreover, his 62.9 percent groundball rate is the third-best in the majors, also helping to explain why he’s given up the fewest homers per nine innings (0.3) of any major league starter.
Why the Red Sox wouldn’t want him: Despite his stuff, his results have been mostly those of a mid-rotation starter rather than a front-of-the-rotation player, yet the Padres would almost surely want top-of-the-rotation return for a pitcher who remains in their control for two-plus years. While his ERA looks solid on the surface, it’s less impressive in the context of the pitcher’s paradise of PETCO Park. Meanwhile, his 11.3 percent walk rate …Read More