Boston Red Sox Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Trade Chatter
The July 31 trade deadline is now just eight days away, and rumors surrounding the Boston Red Sox are popping up left and right.
Despite a recent hot streak that's seen the Red Sox win eight of their past 10 games, Boston still finds itself 8.5 games out of first place in the AL East. Baseball Prospectus gives the Sox just a 5.8 percent chance at making the playoffs, and they'll need to dominate against division opponents to make up significant ground.
Boston's recent resurgence has some wondering if the Sox should look to be buyers instead of sellers at the deadline, while others argue that the Sox should simply stand pat and let the chips fall where they may.
But regardless of which path they choose, one thing is certain: We're going to hear all sorts of crazy rumors over the next eight days.
With that in mind, let's play a quick round of Fact or Fiction with some of the latest gossip the Internet has to offer when it comes to the Sox and July 31.
FICTION: The Red Sox Can/Will Trade for Giancarlo Stanton
Let's get the biggest fish out of the way immediately: Giancarlo Stanton is not coming to the Red Sox at the deadline.
It's true that Boston might have the pieces needed to get a deal done, but they'd be completely gutting their organizational depth in the process.
Perhaps a package centered around Xander Bogaerts would get the Marlins to pick up the phone. But the oft-mentioned pipe dream of Mookie Betts, Will Middlebrooks and Allen Webster (or some variation thereof) isn't going to get Miami to budge. And it shouldn’t—Stanton is a once-in-a-generation talent.
It's clear that the Red Sox, along with many other teams, covet Stanton, and perhaps they'll make a big push for him if he does reach free agency after the 2016 season. But until then, the constant clamoring from fans and media members alike for a Stanton trade is likely more fanciful than realistic.
FICTION: The Red Sox Need to Solve Their Prospect Logjams
Will Middlebrooks. Garin Cecchini. Deven Marrero. Henry Owens. Allen Webster. Anthony Ranaudo. Matt Barnes.
With Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt and Rubby De La Rosa all firmly entrenched in the majors, how will the Red Sox find playing time for all of these players in 2015 and beyond?
This "rumor" stems from questions I get in the comments section all the time, and when you take Boston's roster at face value, it does indeed seem like they face a glut on the left side of the infield and toward the back of the rotation.
But once you factor in prospect attrition, positional versatility and the age-old adage, "you can never have too much pitching," it becomes apparent that the Sox shouldn't feel the need to move any of their talented youngsters next week.
When it comes to the third base/shortstop conundrum, the Sox are perhaps not as strong moving forward as they seem. Bogaerts is struggling now, but few are truly worried about him, and he's already shown the ability to dominate at the MLB level.
Beyond him, though, the Sox may be looking more at quantity than quality.
We've seen more evidence that suggests Middlebrooks is not an everyday player than we've seen suggesting otherwise. Cecchini has solid upside but is playing poorly in Triple-A. Marrero has little upside, even though he's performing quite well in Pawtucket. And while Holt is lighting the world on fire right now, he's probably not going to be a .330 hitter for the rest of his career.
It's probable that at least two of these players will pan out, but it's not like the Red Sox are sitting on three or four All-Star third basemen.
And when it comes to the rotation, we've already seen signs that Barnes may be better off in the bullpen, and there's a non-zero chance that one of Webster or Workman will join him there in due time. Ranaudo and Johnson profile as a back-end starters at best, and only Owens is truly considered to have upside as a No. 2-3 starter.
The Red Sox won't have Jake Peavy heading into next year, and Jon Lester is a free agent. That could leave John Lackey and Clay Buchholz as the only two established starters in Boston in 2015, and given Buchholz's injury history, that means the Sox could use all the MiLB talent they can get, even if Lester is re-signed.
If the perfect deal comes up, I'm fine with the Sox trading in some of their prospect chips for an established major leaguer. But they shouldn't feel the need to solve a logjam that doesn't exist, which is an important distinction to make.
FACT: The Red Sox Will Trade Jonny Gomes and/or Mike Carp
The Red Sox are already struggling to provide everyday playing time for Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew, Holt and Bogaerts. If they don't make a massive push in the coming days, they should do all they can to ensure that younger players see as much time as possible for the remainder of 2014.
That likely means jettisoning off some spare parts regardless of the return, and Gomes and Carp are two prime candidates.
Gomes plays pretty much exclusively against left-handers for the Red Sox now, which is how it should be. He's hitting .317/.417/.462 against southpaws this year and just .152/.238/.261 against same-side pitching, numbers which are largely in line with his career norms.
Yes, he's a good clubhouse presence, and yes, he's a timely hitter, but that doesn't mean he should see playing time over the likes of Bradley, Holt or even Mookie Betts.
As ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweeted on July 14, the Royals have some interest in Gomes, and it wouldn't be surprising if other contenders do at a minimal cost:
Carp, meanwhile, has already seen his playing time all but completely evaporate and deserves a shot at more regular playing time somewhere else. Unless the Sox are convinced Mike Napoli still isn't truly healthy, there's nowhere for Carp to play right now—he shouldn't be allowed within 10 feet of an outfielder's glove—and things don’t figure to change moving forward.
Perhaps a team in need of a left-handed pinch-hitter or a platoon bat at first base would have interest in Carp. If they do, it's time to let him try and find playing time elsewhere.
FICTION: The Red Sox Will Trade Koji Uehara
The idea that the Red Sox would trade Uehara stems from the notions that relievers are largely fungible commodities and that closers bring back disproportionate value in midseason trades.
That may be true, but according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Boston is intent on keeping Koji anyway:
Koji Uehara in great demand but Red Sox would like to hold on to him— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 20, 2014
On the one hand, this makes little sense. Uheara is 39 years old, has a history of arm trouble and would fetch a significant return in a trade. He's a pending free agent, and if the Sox aren't going anywhere in 2014, there aren't many logistical reasons to bring Uehara along for the ride.
One would assume, however, that the Sox will hold on to Uehara in an effort to extend him and ensure that the ninth inning isn't a problem in 2015, either. Boston doesn’t need to undergo a complete rebuild; they simply need to retool for next year, and the Sox brass likely want Uehara to be a part of that future.
This is probably my least comfortable prediction, but I believe the Red Sox will hold on to Uehara at the deadline. I'm less convinced about Andrew Miller, however, who Peter Gammons recently claimed was the source of the most trade inquiries for the Red Sox.
FACT: The Red Sox Will Trade Jake Peavy
Last but not least, we address the most common rumor we've seen pop up over the past several weeks: Peavy very well may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the Red Sox.
The right-hander has been linked to the Cardinals, via ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, the Braves, via Pete Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe), and speculation about him joining the Giants has been thrown around from USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale. Indeed, Peavy to the Cardinals seems like the most inevitable deal this side of Chase Headley going to the New York Yankees.
On Tuesday, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman revealed that the Cards are indeed still monitoring Peavy and that the teams have been considering a deal for weeks. He also mentions that Boston has been holding off a bit thanks to their recent resurgence.
However, even if Boston keeps winning they can afford to deal Peavy without skipping a beat. Workman is unlikely to be any worse than Peavy's been this season, even if the veteran right-hander has been a bit better of late. And with the likes of Ranaudo, Webster and Owens right behind Workman in the line for MLB starts, the Sox still have plenty of depth, too.
The odds are that the Sox will hold on to Peavy until someone dangles at least a mildly interesting bench player or prospect, but once someone bites Peavy will be out the door. His contributions to the 2014 championship team should not be forgotten, but he's an extraneous piece moving forward.