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Red Sox have big trade decisions to make soon

The Red Sox may consider dealing closer Koji Uehara before the end of July.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Red Sox may consider dealing closer Koji Uehara before the end of July.

HOUSTON — The Red Sox will trade Jake Peavy at some point but aren’t likely to get a big return unless they expand the deal to include other players.

Peavy is an expensive player in the final year of his contract who has had some physical issues this season. If the Red Sox trade him, it would be more to gain a roster spot for Brandon Workman.

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But Peavy has pitched well in his last two starts and says he feels better now physically then he has all season. Put him back in the National League and he’ll be able to handle lineups there. The Cardinals make a lot of sense for him.

The real trade value for the Red Sox could come from their bullpen. In Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop and maybe even Craig Breslow, the Red Sox have pitchers that could truly help contenders.

RELATED | Dan Shaughnessy: Larry Lucchino upset with Red Sox’ ‘dreadful first half’

Uehara will be a free agent after the season and turns 40 in April. Bringing him back would likely require a substantial raise from the $4.25 million base salary he’s making this season.

Does Uehara have more value to the team on the trade market or coming back next season? It’s an interesting question. Banking on closers to be consistent is usually not sound baseball or financial policy.

Miller, who becomes a free agent after this season, could be the next closer. Or he could have good trade value now.

A few other notes and observations on the Sox:

* It’s a Boston tradition to rip players on their way out of town, but the trendy A.J. Pierzynski narrative is a little out of whack.

Yes, Pierzynski is a grouchy old catcher. But he’s gone because he didn’t hit and that magnified his many deficiencies behind the plate. If Pierzynski had hit .275 with 14 home runs in the first three months, he’d still be a member of the team regardless of his disposition.

Are the Red Sox really so fragile that one guy ruined everything? Not buying that.

Don’t blame Pierzynski for being Pierzynski. Blame the Red Sox for signing him in the first place and misjudging what he had left. Everybody in baseball knows what kind of person Pierzynski is. The Red Sox gambled and lost, and that’s not the player’s fault.

* That brings us to Stephen Drew, who is hitting .128 with a .418 OPS through 26 games. Pierzynski was designated for assignment because the Red Sox knew he wasn’t going to be around in 2015 and they had somebody to replace him. How long before that becomes the case with Drew?

Wouldn’t the Red Sox be a better team with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Brock Holt at third base and Mookie Betts playing every day in right field? Just a hunch: Bogaerts starts to hit the day he goes back to shortstop and doesn’t stop.

* Anthony Ranaudo (9-4, 2.66) and Steven Wright (4-1, 2.04) have been terrific in the Pawtucket rotation. Trading a reliever or two would allow the Red Sox to break in Ranaudo via the bullpen much like they did Workman last season. Wright has 12 walks and 48 strikeouts in 53 innings. He also deserves a look.

* Good luck finding a big outfield bat in the free agent class this winter unless you care to roll the dice on Nelson Cruz succeeding on Flintstones chewables. The Red Sox are going to have to use some of their prospects to improve the lineup, whether it’s now or during the winter. With David Ortiz getting older and Dustin Pedroia’s slugging percentage declining, a middle-of-the-order bat has to be found somehow.

* The Red Sox are 41-51 after 92 games. The 2012 team was 47-45. The 2012 team was actually 53-51 on July 31 then did a deep dive from there, going 16-42. That makes what is going on now look like a trip to the beach. Can the Red Sox finish .500 the rest of the way?

* Name the one Red Sox player who has played every inning of every game since May 17. Not Dustin Pedroia, it’s Brock Holt.

* Through Thursday, Jackie Bradley Jr. leads all center fielders in UZR, UZR/150 and assists and is second (by one run) in runs saved to Leonys Martin of Texas. It’s fair to suggest, as colleague Chad Finn did, that Bradley is the best defensive center fielder the Red Sox have ever had. It actually might not even be close. Here’s the thing: He’s going to get better as he plays more and really learns the hitters and the parks.

* Finally, if you have kids and a dog, the whole bunch can come to Fenway on the cheap on Sunday to see a game and then “Field of Dreams.”

The annual Futures at Fenway game is at 3:30 p.m. with Lowell playing Mahoning Valley. Once the game gets over, the movie starts. Tickets are $15 ($20 with a dog) and the concession prices will be cheaper, too. Go to RedSox.com for ticket info.

Related coverage:

Dan Shaughnessy: Larry Lucchino upset with Red Sox’ ‘dreadful first half’

Dan Shaughnessy: Train wreck season taking its toll on John Farrell

Christopher L. Gasper: Time for Red Sox to plan for next year

On baseball: How long will Red Sox stick together now?

Analysis: Seven reasons Red Sox should get Jon Lester deal done

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.
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