The Boston Red Sox won’t be unrecognizable when they return from their West Coast trip next Friday, but they sure better have a different look.

That’s what they need, at least, and it would make little sense to wait much longer to go get what they need – a third baseman and a reliever, and maybe even a nice, new shiny big bat.

The Red Sox have until 4 p.m. on July 31 before the trade deadline comes and goes. There’s really no sense waiting much longer to see if the asking price for an infielder of the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera of the Mets drops.

Winning games is more pressing now than waiting to win a trade for the sake of a lower asking price. Right now the Sox are playing games like a team that has a couple of parts missing. After beginning July winning 7 of 8, they have lost eight of their last 13. Their lead over Tampa Bay in the American League East was 21/2 games entering the weekend.

They’re not pulling away. They’re pulling even.

And they’re pulling for a trade, said Manager John Farrell.

“I think it’s always a plus (to make a trade),” Farrell said Thursday. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify, however you want to describe it, an area of need. There’s almost an injection of, maybe, that support or, further momentum that’s ‘OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”

If anticipation creates anxiety for one or two players at the bottom of the depth chart, that’s hardly an obstacle to overcome.

“(Players are) well in tune,” Farrell said. “Maybe some of them might be wondering ‘OK, am I out or am I (in),’ so there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10 to 14 days.

“But adding to, I think, is always a positive.”

Tuesday night’s trade that sent third baseman Todd Frazier from the White Sox to the Yankees injected a healthy dose of anxiety that should spur a move for a third baseman sooner than later. Given the known pool of available third basemen, a swift move should trump any temptation the Red Sox should have to see if a seller will drop an asking price.

That’s unlikely because the Sox are the only known team to be in the third baseman market. Again, that should motivate the Red Sox to strike now versus drag this out any longer.

Cabrera, who has only played third base in one major league game – 10 years ago – is now going to start taking grounders at third. The timing is hardly coincidental and not lost on anybody.

There’s no way the Mets could be asking for much in return for Cabrera, a veteran with a decent bat but a bat without power, as well as with defensive skills that have seen better days.

That’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but of the known pool of options the Red Sox are looking at – the list includes the David Freese and Josh Harrison of the Pirates, T.J. Rivera of the Mets, Eduardo Nunez of the Giants and Martin Prado of the Marlins – Cabrera and probably Freese could be had quickly and cheaply.

Harrison remains the best talent remaining but his price tag is probably too high. There is no reason for the Mets to trade Rivera, a 28-year-old rookie who blossomed this year, before dealing Cabrera.

On the reliever front, the Sox have plenty of company but again, striking quickly could be more advantageous than waiting around when the supply begins to dry up and sellers can stand pat on their asking price.

Pat Neshek of the Phillies, Justin Wilson of the Tigers, Addison Reed of the Mets – the list is well known, and on Thursday it shrunk by one when the Mariners snagged David Phelps from the Marlins.

Last July the Red Sox were two games back and the president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, moved far more quickly than he has this year.

On July 9, he traded for reliever Brad Ziegler and five days later got starter Drew Pomeranz.

On the trade deadline day he snagged reliever Fernando Abad. The day after the trade deadline, the Red Sox called up outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

This year, when July rolled around, the Sox were playing some of their best ball. They held a two-game lead and one week later it was at 41/2 games.

And the Red Sox have been subtracting from their big league roster, releasing Pablo Sandoval, and not adding to it.

The only shocking transaction that could occur between now and July 31 would be if Dombrowski did absolutely nothing. That’s not Dealin’ Dave’s style. And while he knows how to play the waiting game as well as any other executive in the game, there’s really not a ton of suspense left in this trading deadline season for the Red Sox.

Dombrowski’s not going to stand pat. And while he’s also going to be very hesitant about adding too big of a salary to the payroll, plus not trade away too good of a prospect from the team’s limited supply of good prospects, he has a mandate to win now.

As Farrell indicated, the clubhouse is waiting for reinforcements.

So is everyone else.

The Red Sox schedule shows nine games to play before July 31.

That’s way too many to start getting too picky at this point.