With the recent injuries to Will Middlebrooks (hamstring) and Dustin Pedroia (thumb), it has become clear the Red Sox are woefully thin in the infield. Now that Pedroia is going on the DL, the infield depth will be stretched to the max.
The solution: trade Daniel Nava for that infield depth.
As difficult as it would be to part ways with Nava, the Red Sox are about to get very crowded in the outfield with the imminent return of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford.
When they return, Cody Ross should be the starting right fielder and Ryan Sweeney simply does not have Nava's value on the trade market.
Nava is the odd man out. He’s the odd man because he has played well and his value probably will not get much higher than it is right now.
Nava is batting .286, with three home runs and 26 RBI.
Brent Lillibrige and Nick Punto are fine utility men, but the Red Sox would suffer greatly if either one was called into action for any extended period of time. That is a distinct possibility if Pedroia is out longer than expected.
This is where the extra Red Sox outfielders come into play.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently listed Ty Wigginton, Mark DeRosa, Adam Kennedy, Brandon Inge, Casey McGehee, Jeff Baker and John McDonald as players the Red Sox could possibly go after in a trade. He noted Boston's extra outfielders as possible trade chips.
From the players on Cafardo’s list, McGehee could make the most sense.
McGehee is batting .249, with five home runs and 25 RBI this season. He can play first, second or third. In a pinch, he could play the outfield. It's his ability to play second that is particularly intriguing. He has played 179.2 innings at second in career and has a .980 fielding percentage.
He also seems to be heating up at the plate recently.
In June, McGehee hit .291, with five home runs and 16 RBI. Bill James projected McGehee to hit .274, with 11 homes runs and 63 RBI this season. (h/t fangraphs.com)
The Red Sox could use that kind of production from an infielder.
As for the Pirates, they have a need for a corner outfielder.
Although the Pirates have some organizational depth in the outfield, they recently sent 23-year-old outfielder Jose Tabata to the minors. Tabata was only hitting .230 at the time of the demotion.
The Pirates called up Gorkys Hernandez to take over Tabata’s role. In Triple-A, Hernandez could only muster a .268 AVG, and in 14 games with Pittsburgh, he is only batting .143.
Nava would be an upgrade for Pittsburgh and could be a natural fit in the Pirate’s outfield.
A Nava for McGehee deal would benefit both teams.
Nava has quickly become a fan favorite in Boston, but a huge wave of outfield star power is making its way toward Boston. His value his high, the Red Sox have needs and he just may be the player the Red Sox could trade to add some infield depth.