It's been a disappointing first half of the season for the defending World Series champions.

The Boston Red Sox are currently 34-39 after 73 games of play and they are in fourth place in the American League East. The Red Sox have been below average from both sides of play, so much help is needed. As good as David Ortiz is, he's 38 years old and retirement is right around the corner.

So how do the Red Sox retool? The trade market sounds like a good place to start, and here are a few key MLB players that Boston could target this summer: 

Alex Gordon

After 73 games, the team ranks No. 23 overall in runs scored and No. 25 in home runs hit. Pretty surprising for a Red Sox squad. There could be a chance that Alex Gordon could be coming to Beantown. Why? Gordon is a consistent player with good fielding and base running skills. Red Sox vice president of player personnel drafted him when he was the general manager in Kansas City.

Josh Hamilton

Another option the Red Sox might want to consider is Josh Hamilton. Hamilton has had off-field issues and he will bring with him a very big payroll. But who cares? There's no salary cap in Major League Baseball. Hamilton hasn't been adapting to the Anaheim Angels very well, but he might fit in with the Red Sox organization. Again, with Ortiz retiring soon, a big bat will be needed.

Seth Smith

If the Red Sox want to save money and deal outside of the American League, then outfielder Seth Smith could be their man. Bringing in the left-handed hitter could make things interesting for the team going forward. Smith is having an underrated season with the San Diego Padres.

Jeff Samardzija

The Red Sox rank No. 13 overall in team ERA and No. 21 in opponent batting average. Their defense isn't terrible, but it's not the dominant defense we're used to seeing. Of course the big name on possible market is right handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Red Sox will definitely throw in a bid for Samardzija not just because of his talents, but so the New York Yankees don't get him. Samardzija is pitching a 2.60 ERA this season, but with the lack of Chicago Cubs offensive run support, they are just 2-6 in his 15 starts.

David Price

There's a small possibility that the Red Sox could make a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher David Price. For whatever the reason, Price just hasn't been himself this season. Maybe a change of scenery would be a good thing. The Red Sox could offer Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, and money. We've seen AL East teams do business before.

The trade deadline is July 31, so it will be interesting to see who the Red Sox deal away and who they bring in.

For up-to-date sports news, scores, and more, follow Latin Post Sports on Twitter