Nine different shortstops in eight seasons. 

That is the harsh reality of the Boston Red Sox since the beginning of Theo Epstein’s tenure as general manager of the team. Nomar Garciaparra, Pokey Reese, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Nick Green and Marco Scutaro all the starting shortstop at one point in time in those eight seasons.

For the right pieces, the Red Sox may be able to trade for the franchise shortstop Epstein has been after since the departure of Garciaparra in 2003.

The recent financial quagmire of the New York Mets and majority owner Fred Wilpon, Jose Reyes has become very available with the team unlikely to be able to keep him beyond this season. Reyes’ contract is up at the end of the season, and in all likelihood he will be looking for a long-term deal in the area of the seven-year, $142 million deal Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox this past offseason. 

With the Mets in such a financial bind, Reyes may come at somewhat of a discounted price. Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez are proof that trading prospects for proven veterans works, so why not do it again with Reyes? Both Beckett and Schilling were major keys in championship runs for the Red Sox, and Reyes could prove to be the same by filling the ever empty hole at shortstop.

Despite trading three top prospects in the deal that brought Gonzalez to Boston, the Red Sox still have plenty of talent in the farm system to include in a trade for Reyes. One player who would almost certainly need to be included in a deal is outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Kalish, considered by many as the top prospect in the Red Sox system, is seen as the right fielder of the future when J.D. Drew’s contract expires. He has become expendable with the emergence of Josh Reddick who seems to have finally figured it out and is ready to produce at the major league level.

Top shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias would become expendable as well because Reyes, just 28, would become your starting shortstop for the foreseeable future. The Red Sox could then package a mid-level prospect such as Double-A pitcher Stolmy Pimentel or Triple-A pitcher Kyle Weiland to complete the deal.

The Red Sox certainly have the personnel in their farm system to complete a deal, yet many would question the financial logistics of committing to another $100 million long-term deal having handed out $142 million to Carl Crawford and $154 million to Gonzalez this past offseason. 

This is a legitimate concern, but the Red Sox have some money coming off the books at season’s end that would ease the financial burden of a potential Reyes extension. 

One contract that is coming off the books after the season is that of J.D. Drew. Drew’s departure will take $14 million off the payroll. It is widely believed that Jonathan Papelbon is in his last season with team as well. If he walks at the end of the season, the Red Sox would have $12 million more coming off the payroll. With Reyes’ arrival, the likelihood of the team picking up Marco Scutaro’s option for 2012 is slim, which clears another $5 million or so off the payroll.

With a few smaller contracts expiring, it would appear that the Red Sox would have the financial flexibility to complete an extension for Reyes if a deal is done. 

When the opportunity to deal for a player of Reyes’ caliber presents itself, you jump at it, especially when you have the resources that are at the fingertips of Epstein. 

Think about it Theo. This could be your chance to finally get the shortstop you have longed for. 

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