NEW YORK -- Two days before Tuesday’s trading deadline, all appeared quiet on the Red Sox front. They had a scout in Miami to watch Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson, who walked six against the Padres on Sunday afternoon, which did little to enhance his trade value.
Johnson, Matt Garza of the Cubs and James Shields of the Rays appear the best potential starters available in a deal, but it would appear that the Sox are not prepared to surrender the quality of prospects required to acquire Johnson, and Garza has a triceps issue that will prevent him from making another start before the deadline.
Johnson also has a history of past shoulder problems, and the last thing the Sox would seem to need is another high-priced veteran with health issues.
Manager Bobby Valentine, asked about the Sox's intentions before the deadline, said, "I think that this organization is in it to win it all the time. I don't think ownership and the front office is thinking anything other than, 'We've got a shot.'"
That would seem to rule out the Sox trading such players as Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach or Matt Albers, who would all potentially have value to a contender. Ben Cherington already has ruled out trading pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
One major league executive insisted Sunday night that the Red Sox are looking for a buyer for Beckett, who is scheduled to face Detroit ace Justin Verlander on Tuesday night in Fenway Park.
"They're trying to dump him,'' the executive said, "but I don't think anyone would touch him without a big discount.''
As a 10/5 player -- 10 years in the big leagues, at least five with the same team -- Beckett has the right to veto any deal.
The Sox also are shopping outfielder Ryan Sweeney, the source said.
Last week, Valentine said he saw no “gaping holes” in the Sox roster. Asked Sunday if he still felt that way, he cracked, "I think we need a better press corps. Probably help the mental state of our group. Other than that I don’t see any gaping holes.’’ Ben Cherington was working on it, he joked. At least we think it was a joke.