Sports

If Red Sox go the trade route, what can they get?

Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard (6) reacts after striking out during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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If the Phillies continue to sink in the NL East, they may be willing to assume most of the $60 million owed to Ryan Howard to move him in a trade.

This text originally appeared as part of Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column that ran May 24.

The Athletics could provide the trade-deadline goodie bag if their current play continues. Along with the Red Sox, Pirates, Padres, and Marlins, the A’s are one of the more disappointing teams in baseball.

In fact, two special assistants to general managers we spoke to see the A’s, Phillies, Brewers, Rockies, and Reds as providing contenders with the most attractive players closer to the deadline.

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The prize off the A’s roster would be lefthander Scott Kazmir, who could enhance the rotation of any of a number of contenders. Among those who would be interested are the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rays, and Giants.

Scott Kazmir has made nine starts for Oakland this year and is 2-3 with a 3.09 ERA.  (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

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Scott Kazmir has made nine starts for Oakland this year and is 2-3 with a 3.09 ERA.

Kazmir makes $13 million and is a free agent at the end of the season, a cheaper alternative to Cole Hamels. But there are many more possible targets, including Sean Doolittle, Tyler Clippard, Stephen Vogt, Josh Reddick, Billy Butler, and Coco Crisp (if healthy).

Former Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick is batting .312 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs for Oakland.: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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Former Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick is batting .312 with 7 home runs and 30 RBIs for Oakland.

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Reddick could be a sought-after lefthanded bat, and he is also a very good outfielder. Vogt is having an excellent offensive year and rakes against righthanders (1.064 OPS). Butler would provide a strong righthanded bat, and while primarily a DH, he also can play first.

May 14, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) hits a solo-homer against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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Shane Victorino’s expiring contract and solid play could make him a good trade candidate, but his inability to stay healthy is a cause for concern.

Of course, underachieving teams such as the Red Sox and Pirates could also be in sell mode by the deadline if they don’t pick it up. The Sox have the expiring contracts of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino that could be moved, not to mention Allen Craig, who has been banished to Pawtucket.

The Pirates could probably draw interest on A.J. Burnett.

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) drivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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Pirates starter A.J. Burnett is 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA. Pittsburgh has won five in a row, though, so the Pirates may hold on to him.

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The Blue Jays have a terrific offense but aren’t pitching well enough. If they don’t pursue Hamels and can’t stop the bleeding, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey would be out there for anyone needing middle- to back-of-the-rotation starters.

Others players who may be available:

The Phillies are 10 games below .500, but closer Jonathan Papelbon has performed well with 11 saves in 18 appeareances. He has 23 strikeouts and four walks in 18 innings. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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The Phillies are 10 games below .500, but closer Jonathan Papelbon has performed well with 11 saves in 18 appearances. He has 23 strikeouts and 4 walks in 18 innings.

Phillies — Jonathan Papelbon, Aaron Harang, Ben Revere (already linked to the Angels), Chase Utley (who would have to relinquish his 10-5 rights), and Ryan Howard (the Phillies have said they will assume most of the $60 million remaining on his contract; the big first baseman appears to have regained his power and is on pace to hit 40 home runs).

Brewers — Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Broxton, and Francisco Rodriguez.

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 14: Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after being called for a balk and allowing a run to score in the third inning of the game against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park on May 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto (3-4, 3.03) will receive a lot of interest in the offseason when he becomes a free agent. But he did miss his last start with a sore elbow.

Reds — Johnny Cueto (attractive free agent-to-be with only a $10 million price tag this season), Mike Leake, Jay Bruce, Burke Badenhop, Marlon Byrd, Jason Marquis (horrible season so far), and Aroldis Chapman (a long shot to be dealt, but a nice haul of prospects could get him).

epa04737751 Miami Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren winds up for a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of their MLB game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, USA, 07 May 2015. EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO

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Dan Haren is 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA in nine starts for the Marlins.

Marlins — Steve Cishek, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Mike Dunn, and Martin Prado.

Braves — Johnny Gomes, A.J Pierzynski, and Jason Grilli.

Rockies — Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Jorge De La Rosa, Rafael Betancourt, John Axford, Boone Logan, Kyle Kendrick, and Justin Morneau.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.
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