Most likely AL prospects to be traded

Ryan Lavarnway has been on fire for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Scott Rovak/US Presswire

As the rumor mill churns leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the talk is almost always centered on the big names. But while the focus may be on Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell, Mike Adams and other top trade targets, the minor league prospects heading the other way are almost always what make those deals happen.

So let's think about real teams, real contenders and what kind of prospects they might be dangling out there in an attempt to get that extra piece, or maybe even one of the big prizes, while reviewing what they are looking for based on recent discussions with several team executives.

In this piece, we'll break down the American League contenders, identifying a player who could be a big chip and a potential hidden extra player for each team. The National League contenders are addressed here.

Boston Red Sox

What they need: The Red Sox would like starting pitching, but they don't want to take on future salaries, so someone like Hiroki Kuroda could be an attractive target. There was some thought that they might enter the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes due to J.D. Drew's awful year, but Josh Reddick has quickly become the internal answer.