MLB Trade Scenarios: 12 Potential Deals the Red Sox Will Consider in July
The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and it’s still yet to be determined whether the Boston Red Sox will be buyers or sellers. There are several scenarios depending on how Boston plays before July 31.
Boston sits in a tie for last place in the American League East at the unofficial mid-way point of the season and has several injured players scheduled to return shortly thereafter. Their health and early performance will be huge factor in deciding what to do with those who have replaced them.
The focus of the Red Sox is still in question and that question should be answered on August 1. Will they decide to go young and deal some of the veterans or acquire someone to give them a shot at a playoff spot and keep the prospects in the minors?
No matter where the Red Sox are at the trade deadline, here are some scenarios that could cross general manager Ben Cherington’s desk.
Boston Acquires Matt Garza
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Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza is arguably the third best arm on the market as the trade deadline approaches.
Boston has shown interest in Garza this year, scouting one of his recent games, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi. What’s the asking price for Garza’s services for a season and a half? It will probably take “two young, controllable players with big upside,” according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Garza has been decent in his second season with the Cubs, but his ERA is a full run higher than it was in 2011. One question that Boston doesn’t need to consider is how he’ll pitch in the AL East, because he pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2008 through 2010.
It seems that Chicago is definitely willing to part ways with Garza and there’s a solid chance he ends up with Boston.
Boston Acquires Ryan Dempster
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Along with Garza, the Cubs are also shopping Ryan Dempster and are willing to pay a chunk of his remaining salary, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
As Heyman writes, the Cubs don’t care about money—they just want to rack up prospects in order to complete rebuild. He won’t bring in the type of prospects that Garza will, but he’s worth a solid prospect or two.
Dempster has been linked to the Red Sox through parts of the season and Boston would be interested in acquiring him, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Dempster has pitched very well this season for the Cubs and has a 1.99 ERA through 86 innings. He’s spent a little time on the disabled list, but that should steer Boston away from trying to acquire him.
Boston Acquires Wandy Rodriguez
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I recently wrote why the Red Sox must make a deal for Rodriguez. He’s been a consistently good pitcher for a terrible team over the course of his career and deserves a shot with a contender.
The issue with Rodriguez is that some question whether he will be able to succeed in the AL, writes Rosenthal. It’s worth the risk for Boston in my opinion. He’s under contract for the next couple of seasons and hasn’t had an ERA near 4.00 in five years.
Rodriguez gives his team the chance to win nearly every time he takes the mound. He just needs a team that can score often enough for him to secure those wins.
Boston Acquires Brett Myers
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As mentioned in the Wandy Rodriguez slide, nearly everyone on the Astros is available and that includes Brett Myers, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
In a way, Myers is kind of like Daniel Bard. He was a starter for the first five years of his career before becoming the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. The next season, he was a starter again. He’s flip-flopped between starter and reliever recently, but currently closes for the Astros.
The Boston bullpen has been good for most of the season, but they could use another solid arm for their regular rotation. They might get Andrew Bailey back and hopefully Bard figures things out in the minors, but adding a veteran reliever wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Myers is under contract through this season and there’s a vesting option for 2013. I don’t see Houston asking for too much from a club interested in Myers, but he is owed $11 million this year so they might be hesitant to pay a good chuck on that.
Boston Acquires Zack Greinke
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Is there any team out there not interested in getting their hands on Zack Greinke? Because the Milwaukee Brewers might not be able to re-sign him after this season, they might decide to trade him instead, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Greinke is having another great season with the Brewers this year, going 9-3 in 19 starts with a 3.32 ERA in 111 innings. He averages nine strikeouts and just 2.1 walks per nine innings. The former Cy Young award winner is definitely a hot commodity and will most likely take a lot to pry from the hands of Milwaukee.
It hasn’t been confirmed what the Brewers are asking for Greinke, but I speculate that at least three good prospects would have to be headed to Milwaukee. As I mentioned, he will become a free agent after this season so the team that acquires him has to be confident that he’d sign a long-term deal.
Boston Acquires Cole Hamels
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Cole Hamels is in a similar boat to Greinke. He’ll become a free agent after this season and is unsure whether he’ll sign a contract extension with the Philadelphia Phillies or not.
Hamels could be available, according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, but the Phillies aren’t ready to trade him yet. Knobler writes that they have four teams in mind that could be trade partners, but will ask a lot in return for Hamels. As I mentioned in the Greinke slide, it could take around three very good prospects to acquire Hamels.
Bleacher Report’s Tom Fitzgerald recently wrote why Boston should go after Hamels, and I completely agree with him. As he writes, Hamels would immediately be the ace that the Red Sox have missed all season long. In order to make a push for the playoff and potentially make a run at a World Series, they need an ace.
Another benefit of acquiring Hamels is that he could sign a lengthy extension, giving Boston an ace for many years to come.
Boston Acquires Felix Hernandez
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I recently brought up an idea, originated by the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, that Boston should swap Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia for Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Many of those who commented on the piece strongly disagreed with the idea and 79.2 percent said they shouldn’t do the deal in a poll.
Just like Hamels, King Felix would become the immediate ace of the Boston staff. Hernandez, however, is under contract until 2015 and has a steep price tag for the next three seasons. He’ll make $18.5 million this season, $19.5 million next season and $20 million in 2014. That will likely mean that Seattle would ask for four big name prospects in exchange for him.
The Mariners could’ve gotten a ton for Felix, but it seems that teams will only get to pursue the big right-hander if he hits the free agent market after 2014.
Boston Trades Ryan Sweeney
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In the upcoming weeks the Red Sox will have a ton of outfielders to try and find playing time for. One of them who will likely be playing less regularly is Ryan Sweeney. He’s been filling in for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury in center field and has also played right field this season.
Sweeney has virtually no home run power, without one this season, but can hit right-handed pitching relatively well. As Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald writes, Cherington could deal Sweeney once Ellsbury comes back. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe confirms that plan via tweet.
A trade involving Sweeney would make a lot of sense. There really isn’t a spot for him once Ellsbury and Crawford return from rehab assignments.
Sweeney is more of a platoon player than a starting outfielder and doesn’t cost that much to keep on your payroll. He could draw some interest from teams needing a fourth outfielder down the stretch.
Boston Trades Mike Aviles
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Whether the Red Sox will make the playoffs or not is still up for debate, but John Tomase of the Boston Herald feels that it’s time to sell and let the kids play. One of the players that he thinks Boston should trade is shortstop Mike Aviles.
The Red Sox have a plethora of shortstops in their minor league system including Triple-A shortstop Jose Iglesias. Iglesias is a fantastic defender, but has always struggled at the plate. Working on his offense this season, he’s hitting .260/.305/.298 with five extra-base hits in 52 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
If Boston decides to go with their younger players, Iglesias should be on the first to get a shot. The good part about this idea is that Aviles’ trade value has skyrocketed this season. He’s hitting .260 with nine home runs, 22 doubles and 40 runs in 84 games this season.
Teams looking for a starting shortstop should look at Aviles. Boston would probably be willing to give him up for close to nothing.
Boston Trades Kelly Shoppach
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Kelly Shoppach has been a part of the best catching duo in baseball, being the regular backup for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He’s another player that John Tomase of the Boston Herald thinks could be dealt near the trade deadline.
Going with Tomase’s focus on playing young players, the point would be to give an opportunity to Ryan Lavarnway, who currently is playing for Triple-A Pawtucket. I recently looked at this situation and although it might be good to deal Shoppach, it isn’t a good idea to do it to call Lavarnway up.
Saltalamacchia is having too good of a season to take playing time away from him. By calling Lavarnway up, that would mean he would need regular time in order to fully develop into a major league hitter. It would create a similar logjam that we saw at third base earlier in the season.
Boston Trades Cody Ross
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The final player that John Tomase of the Boston Herald suggests Boston should trade involves Cody Ross. Ross has been a great pickup for the Red Sox this season, playing right field most of the time and also filling in for Carl Crawford in left field from time to time.
Along the same lines as Ryan Sweeney, there won’t be a lot of room for extra outfielders on the roster once Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury come back. If Cherington decides to go with the younger players, Ryan Kalish would probably stay on the roster over Ross. He might even decide to keep Sweeney over Ross, but I don’t think that’s a smart move.
The Red Sox don’t really have a solid right-handed hitting option in the outfield outside of Ross. Ellsbury, Crawford, Sweeney, Kalish and Scott Podsednik are all left-handed bats and Daniel Nava is a switch-hitter. If anything, Ross would be dealt to play Nava more often, but Ross has more powerful and could be more useful in the long-run.
Boston Trades Josh Beckett
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The potential trade of Josh Beckett would be an interesting one. It would clearly prove that the front office is tired of Beckett and wants to move in a different direction. Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti feels that it’s time to put him on the trading block, but the Red Sox aren’t considering trades for him at the moment, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
A move involving Beckett would be a little surprising in my opinion. Boston doesn’t have a lot of starting options immediately available in the minor leagues and unless they acquired another starter, the trade wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
I figure that Franklin Morales eventually goes back to the bullpen and trading Beckett would leave just four starting pitchers, not including Daisuke Matsuzaka. It’s understandable that he doesn’t fit in the long-term plans of the Red Sox, but they might be better off hanging to him for a little longer instead of trading him near the deadline.