The non-waiver trade deadline comes on Friday, so be prepared for five days of rumors and quite likely at least some minor deals by the last-place Red Sox.
They should be active, whether it’s selling or buying. A poorly constructed roster needs some changes. At 44-55, the Red Sox are again in a position of getting ready for next season and that means culling the roster of older players who will be free agents after the season.
The Sox do not have as much to offer as they did last season, but there are a few players who will generate interest. Here is an assessment of the players on the 40-man roster and what their trade value is at the moment:
Best trade chip
Koji Uehara: The reliable closer has $12.5 million left on a two-year deal that extends through 2016, so the Red Sox might have to pick some of that up to improve the return. Whether it’s as a set-up man or closer, Uehara would instantly improve a contending team and there is interest in him.
If the Sox think they will contend next season, they’ll probably keep Uehara.
Lesser trade chips
Joe Kelly: Kelly has a 5.03 ERA in 25 starts for the Red Sox since being obtained from the Cardinals a year ago. He should be in the bullpen. Maybe some other team thinks so.
Mike Napoli: He has $6.22 million left on his contract and the Sox would have to pick up the bulk of that to make a trade. He could help a team as a DH or first baseman. His recent hot streak — 10 of 25 in his last seven games with five extra-base hits and five RBIs — has come at the right time.
Shane Victorino: He would bring a good glove, some lingering offensive skills, and plenty of energy to a contender along with 60 games of playoff experience and two rings. Again, the Red Sox would have to eat much of the $4.97 million he has left on his deal.
Craig Breslow: The lefty has been traded twice before. Poor results the last two seasons have squashed any trade value he once had.
Alejandro De Aza: He has struggled since the All-Star break (4 for 24) but some team out there might want to improve its outfield depth.
Tommy Layne: Lefty specialist has pitched better in July after a rough June.
Justin Masterson: His performance has improved since going to the bullpen and maybe the righthander could return a low-level prospect. But any deal would likely hinge on the Red Sox picking up the remaining $3.64 million on his contract.
Daniel Nava: Once a valuable bench player for the Sox, he has little role now. A contender could use him in an outfield platoon, perhaps.
Alexi Ogando: A one-year, $1.5 million deal paid off in the first half of the season. Ogando has been hit hard of late but could still have a decent month left in him.
Worth keeping unless the deal is right
Ryan Hanigan: He’s signed through 2016 and the Red Sox will need an experienced catcher one way or another.
Brock Holt: The ever-versatile backup could certainly help a contending team. But the Red Sox value what he brings.
Wade Miley: He’s a No. 4 or No. 5 starter on a good team. He has an economical contract and the Red Sox could do worse.
Junichi Tazawa: The righthander has the stuff to be a closer assuming the Red Sox don’t continue to wear him out this season. But set-up men are fungible assets, so deal away.
Do them a favor with a trade
Jackie Bradley Jr.: The gifted center fielder needs to play for a team that will give him a chance. That team is not the Red Sox. Bradley should be playing every day with the team in last place, but instead he has 30 at-bats this season.
Deven Marrero: The shortstop is blocked by Xander Bogaerts and his excellent defensive skills at shortstop would be wasted in a utility role. He should get a chance to start somewhere.
Off-limits legacy players
David Ortiz: Big Papi told the Globe a few weeks ago that he would not waive his 10-5 rights to approve a trade, not that the Sox would want to deal him. He’ll hit his 500th homer for the Sox.
Dustin Pedroia: He’s on the DL now, so his trade value is a moot point. But the Sox would never trade their de facto captain and marketing centerpiece.
Young standouts unlikely to get traded
Mookie Betts: He’s a young, inexpensive, multi-skilled player who plays a premier defensive position. You should probably keep guys like that.
Xander Bogaerts: The Red Sox have had a rotating cast of shortstops since they traded Nomar Garciaparra in 2004. Leave Bogaerts where he is, especially now that he’s one of the best hitters in the league.
Brian Johnson: The former first-round pick has shown promise and the Sox need to retain what little pitching depth they have.
Eduardo Rodriguez: The lefty has looked like an ace on several occasions but also has given up six or more earned runs three times in 11 starts. Still, there is plenty to work with.
Blake Swihart: Not quite sold on whether he should catch, but the Sox should find out.
Tough — maybe impossible — contracts to move
Rusney Castillo: It’s clear the Red Sox made a serious mistake signing Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal. He’s a 28-year-old Triple A player not good enough to be on the roster of a last-place team in the majors.
Rick Porcello: He’s not as bad as he has looked but not nearly good enough to merit a four-year, $82.5 million extension.
Hanley Ramirez: At 31, he is best suited to be a DH. The market for DHs signed for four years and $88 million is non-existent.
Pablo Sandoval: His slugging percentage has declined four years in a row and his defense has fallen even more precipitously. The Red Sox needed to obtain a third baseman last winter but Panda was an overreach at $95 million.
Too injured to trade
Clay Buchholz: Were he healthy, the advice here would have been to trade Buchholz ahead of the team’s option decision – the Sox hold a $13 million option for 2016 – and get a nice return. It’s too late now.
Christian Vazquez: The Red Sox really missed his presence behind the plate this season.
Brandon Workman: A bullpen star in the 2013 postseason, his career has gone off track since. Like Vazquez, he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Make an offer
Jonathan Aro: The righthander had a brief call-up and was hit hard.
Matt Barnes: The former first-round pick has not been able to make it as a reliever. The window on his trade value is closing.
Bryce Brentz: Injuries have again interrupted his season in Triple A. The former first-round pick has fallen off the radar.
Garin Cecchini: Great example of how the Red Sox hold onto prospects too long. Once considered a blue-chipper, Cecchini has hit .244 in two years of Triple A.
Sean Coyle: A third-round pick who was signed to a $1.3 million bonus, Coyle hasn’t hit for Pawtucket when healthy.
Edwin Escobar: Lefty was acquired in the Jake Peavy deal a year ago and hasn’t done much.
Heath Hembree: Righty acquired in the Peavy deal has pitched well in Triple A but not the majors.
Noe Ramirez: Righthanded reliever has good career numbers in the minors. Should get a long look the rest of the season.
Robbie Ross Jr.: A long reliever, Ross at least has a role. But not much trade value.
Travis Shaw: If Napoli gets traded, he could get a chance at first base.
Steven Wright: The knuckleballer is going though one of the worst stretches of his career.