The Red Sox are steadily approaching the trading deadline on August 31st and General Manager Chaim Bloom has some difficult decisions to make. The Red Sox have been reportedly “very active” according to The Athletic. What that means they will do is harder to gauge: will they sell just the veterans who do not seem to be a part of their future plans or are in contract years, or will they offload some of the players who have been speculated to be available like Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez? Bloom has shown before (to the great disappointment of Red Sox fans) he is not afraid of a blockbuster trade.
Trade Deadline Synopsis
The Red Sox are sitting pretty in dead last in the American League at 6-18. They are expected to be hardcore sellers. Soon, we could see players like Brandon Workman, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mitch Moreland, and Matt Barnes in other uniforms. The Red Sox may also choose to offload more recently acquired players such as Martín Pérez, who has endeared himself to Red Sox fans both on the field and on social media (check out his twitter handle, @MartinPerez54d) as one of their only good pitchers and dialoguing with fans on social media, as well as Kevin Pillar, who has been one of their most consistent offensive performers.
The Red Sox prospect pool greatly suffered under Dave Dombrowski, as he thrashed the farm system to acquire Craig Kimbrel, Chris Sale, and others. This led in part to the Mookie Betts trade, as well as his shelling out of massive contracts seemingly every offseason. Considering this won the World Series, it is hard to blame Dombrowski for anything. The Mookie Betts trade also partially replenished a depleted farm system by adding a top 100 prospect in Jeter Downs and a solid young catcher in Connor Wong. Alex Verdugo has also been a welcome addition and has been arguably the second best player for the Red Sox so far.
There has been speculation that the Red Sox could swap Verdugo for one or both of the disgraced Indians pitchers (Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac), but I believe this is as likely as the Red Sox winning out, especially because their trade value is remarkably less than it was two weeks ago and Verdugo was the centerpiece in a trade for a former MVP and a former Cy Young award winner. For those who do not know what happened with Clevinger, a Cy Young candidate, and Plesac, a solid mid-rotation piece even at his young age at 25, they broke Cleveland protocols by going out in Chicago with a large group of Plesac’s friends.
Workman’s breakout year last year netted him the closer role and serious trade chatter this trade deadline. Although Workman has been shaky this year, his trade value is still high. Teams requiring bullpen help include the Mets, Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, and Diamondbacks. Workman will be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season, so it is a good idea for the Red Sox to offload Workman to maximize on his value.
Sanchez is the Phillies #19 prospect and will be dangled as trade bait due to the pitchers ahead of him. The 23 year old left-hander has a 4.53 ERA in the minor leagues, but has serious potential, which the numbers do not back up. Workman should fetch less due to the fact that he will only be in a new uniform for a month. The 21 year old Lindow is a little further away from the big leagues than Sanchez, and the #26 overall prospect could develop into a quality starting pitcher.
The left handed hitting first baseman has a club option at the end of this year, but he can be dangled as trade bait for teams looking for a bench bat with power. Possible options include the White Sox, Twins, Diamondbacks, and Astros (who are now missing Yordan Alvarez). The Mississippi native is hitting .360 with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs, all of which lead the Red Sox.
Prediction: Mitch Moreland to Houston Astros for RHP Tyler Ivey
Moreland provides much needed bench relief for the Astros. Ivey, however, provides a future need for the Red Sox, and with Houston’s starting pitching set for the next 5 years with pitchers like José Urquidy, Framber Valdez, Brandon Bielak, and Lance McCullers Jr., so their #17 prospect will not be a huge loss for them. Ivey has an ERA of 3.60 in the minor leagues and was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft. Ivey started 11 games in AA Corpus Christi during the 2019 season.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie’s value comes down to one word: defense. His offense is the definition of streaky, sometimes hitting .450, while most of the time, hitting .200 or worse. If he gets hot, a team may look to pull the trigger on his hot streak, but while his average is sitting at .243, he does not have much value. Therefore, unless Bradley gets hot quickly, he will not be dealt because of his lack of value.
Prediction: Stays Put
Barnes has perhaps undergone the worst regression of any Red Sox pitcher, with his ERA dropping over 2 runs. Barnes is signed through 2022, so his value may be higher if he rebounds in the next week or so. However, he can be moved for some value due to the team control. I do not believe that Barnes will be dealt this year, but if the Red Sox continue to lose, he may be traded next year.
Prediction: Stays Put
Pérez has a club option for 2021, but he can be dealt for a brighter future. Teams that may want the lefty include the Yankees, Braves, Angels, White Sox, and Brewers. Perez has been far and away the Red Sox’s best starter this season with an ERA just over 4. The Venezuela native has value to a team who needs a dependable starter. The Atlanta Braves would be a perfect landing spot for Pérez
Prediction: Martin Perez to Atlanta Braves for RHP Jeremy Walker
Walker would be a great return for Martin Perez, a bargain bin signing who has panned out in every sense so far. Walker, the Braves’ #28 prospect, made his MLB debut last season and had a 1.93 ERA in those 6 games. He is strangely stuck behind many different pitchers in the Braves organization when it comes to MLB appearances. In Boston, that would not be the case. This is a win-win for both teams.
Pillar has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox, slashing well over .300 on the season so far. The outfielder is still only signed for the 2020 season, and, considering the Red Sox will not compete, it is beneficial to trade him away to gain any value out of him. The Phillies have been searching for a pure centerfielder for a while. But, the combination of Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery (a natural infielder) and Adam Haseley have not been getting it done so far. Quinn is slashing .261, but he brings very little power potential to the table. Kingery, who has morphed into a super-utilityman, is slumping hard, only hitting .111. Haseley was playing well before he got injured. Pillar makes a lot of sense for the Phillies.
Prediction: Kevin Pillar to Phillies for RHP Enyel de los Santos
De los Santos needs a change of scenery and the Phillies badly need a center fielder. This trade makes too much sense. The Dominican right hander has a major league ERA of 5.70 over 12 appearances. He was recently outrighted off of the 40 man roster.
The Red Sox DH’s slump may lead to his value shrinking, especially due to his large contract. There are very few teams who would need his services considering most outfield and designated hitter spots are full. Young teams who could use a veteran presence and have an abundance of prospects and money may look to swing a deal. The Blue Jays and Marlins may be able to use him, and the Nationals definitely have room for a player like Martinez.
Prediction: Stays Put
The Red Sox will not trade any players who could benefit their future. This includes the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers, and any prospects. Their trade talks probably also omit those who do not have any substantial value. Nevertheless, the Red Sox will definitely be active sellers.
Under Bloom, the Red Sox have made a conscientious shift towards cheaper baseball. Moves at the trade deadline will continue to cement that ideology that the Red Sox continue to work under.
Photo Credits: Elise Amendola – AP Photo