Alex Cora believes a good week could change the trade deadline.

Big-market teams within two games of a playoff spot don’t usually talk about selling pieces at the trade deadline, but the Red Sox’s recent string of terrible games has done just that.

They entered Monday’s series with the Cleveland Guardians on a five-game losing streak in the midst of a streak in which they have gone 3-13 over their last 16 games.

They haven’t lost more than five in a row since a nine-game losing streak during the 2020 season, when the Sox finished in last place.

Manager Alex Cora acknowledged that his team’s “terrible” brand of baseball has been a concern in recent weeks, but if the Sox can win three of four against the Cleveland Cavaliers this week, “Friday’s narrative is more than today’s.” will be different.”

“You have to keep playing regardless, that’s the most important thing,” Cora said. “We’re not playing good baseball. We talked about it last year when we went through a stretch (like this), and we’re not doing it anymore, playing defense.

“Either fly balls or double plays or ground balls or throwing on the bases, it’s probably like eight, nine games of errors and it started before the big series against Tampa and New York. I don’t think we’ve done that. Also played well in Chicago. That Friday, we walked 11 guys.

The Red Sox have committed 56 errors this season, 11th-worst in baseball.

In July alone, they have committed 19 errors, two more than any other team.

That happens when guys are playing out of position, which has become a desperate calling card of this team over the past two years.

Franchi Cordero, an outfielder by trade, has struggled at first base, while Jaren Doran, drafted as a second baseman, has messed it up in center field. Jeter Downs, a shortstop who has played second and third base, hasn’t been able to make many routine plays.

“But in the end, you sit down today and you’re like, ‘We’re right there,'” Cora said. “We start playing well, we get hot, and it’s not about getting hot, it’s about playing well. You start playing good baseball, we’ll be fine. We’re very talented. We know we have guys coming off the injured list and they’re going to contribute.

“But, at the same time, the people who are here, we have to do a better job.”

Draft Pick Compensation Update

There was some major news in Major League Baseball on Monday that could affect how the Red Sox handle the trade deadline.

MLB and the MLB Players Union were unable to reach an agreement on an international draft system that would change the way foreign players are signed. Monday was the deadline to reach an agreement.

As a bargaining chip, MLB said it would not end the qualifying offer system without agreeing to the MLBPA’s international draft, meaning the qualifying offer system would continue.

The Red Sox have three guys who will likely receive a qualifying offer, a one-year contract based on the average salary of the top 125 players in the game.

Xander Bogaerts, assuming he opts out of his team-friendly deal, JD Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi are receiver candidates. If they turn him down, the Sox will be rewarded with a draft pick after the fourth round if the player signs with another team in free agency.

It’s a small bonus, but worth it considering the Sox will consider a trade deadline selloff that would rid them of foundation players.

Don’t forget, Mookie Betts was a fifth round draft pick.

Arroyo, Hill nears rehab assignment.

The Red Sox could send a pair of injured players, Christian Arroyo and Rich Hill, on rehab assignments this week.

Arroyo has been out with a strained left groin since July 8, the night he lost a ball in the lights while playing right field in what appeared to be a terrible defensive streak by the Red Sox.

They could certainly use him as they have Jeter Downs and Yulmer Sanchez in the infield while Trevor Story and Rafael Devers are both on the injured list. Both Downs and Sanchez have spent most of the season at Triple-A Worcester.

Hill, who injured his left knee on July 1, will likely go on a rehab assignment Wednesday and could return in time for the Sox series at Houston on Monday, Cora said.

JD Martinez (back spasms) remained out of the lineup and hasn’t appeared since going 0-for-2 in the All-Star Game last Tuesday.

“He’s feeling better, just not there yet,” Cora said. “He’s available. Just a little tight. We’ll see. In an emergency or a big beat, maybe.

Rob Refsnyder started as the designated hitter and batted second.

Josh Winckowski (COVID-19) is scheduled to return Tuesday and start on the mound against the Guardians.

The Sox could return Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation) from the injured list soon. He threw a simulated game Monday afternoon, though Cora said he looked sluggish at first and struggled to get his breaking ball to his glove.

“I don’t want to say limited, but he’s careful about it,” Cora said. “I think overall, he was really good.”

Story, who suffered a hand injury in Tampa two weeks ago and hasn’t played since, took batting practice for the first time Monday, a “good sign,” Cora said.

USA Baseball announced that Story will participate in the World Baseball Classic next winter, the first time the WBC has been played since 2017.