John AxfordPerhaps it’s just due diligence. Perhaps it’s more. It’s that time of the year, folks.

The Red Sox could use help in their bullpen, and The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that Boston is “looking everywhere for relief.” It appears that “everywhere” includes Milwaukee, where a few relievers might be available.

According to’s Danny Knobler, the Red Sox are among the teams with scouts in Milwaukee this week. They’re reportedly joined by the Dodgers, Tigers and Orioles, who could all stand to use pitching help as well. It’s unclear who exactly the Red Sox — or any of the other teams, for that matter — are scouting, but Knobler reports that the Brewers are more than willing to discuss relievers Francisco Rodriguez, John Axford and Mike Gonzalez.

Rodriguez, better known as K-Rod, was once a perennial All-Star closer. He still owns the single-season record for saves with 62, which he accomplished as a member of the Angels in 2008. The four-time All-Star is no longer the dominant closer he once was, but he is having a solid season for the Brewers. The 31-year-old has a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings over 22 appearances.

Axford also has a history of succeeding in the closer’s role, although last season was a disastrous one for the 30-year-old right-hander. He is 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 37 1/3 innings over 43 appearances this season.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, is pitching for his sixth major league team. The 35-year-old lefty has a 3.19 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 31 innings over 45 appearances with the Brewers this season.

Again, this all needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as perhaps the Red Sox are scouting someone else entirely. When it comes to this time of year, though, we’re often left to piece together a puzzle to figure out whether or not certain rumors have legs.

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Photo via Flickr/Steve Paluch