Potential Red Sox-Nationals Trade: Boston Exploiting a Weaker Team

Anthony EmersonAnalyst IJuly 8, 2009

ATLANTA - JUNE 26:  J.D. Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 26, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I know some of you won't agree with this trade. Nationals fans and Red Sox fans alike will probably not like this trade.

But baseball isn't about making moves that people like—it's about winning. And I believe that this trade will make both the Nationals and Red Sox better.

So imagine you're in your living room, watching SportsCenter when Scott Van Pelt says something like:

"This just into SportsCenter; The Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals have pulled off a trade with the Red Sox sending JD Drew and John Smoltz to the Nats for Josh Willingham and prospects Derek Norris and Mike Vento."

Now let that sink in for a minute.

The Boston Red Sox just dealt the dysfunctional JD Drew and the not-able-to-pitch-anymore John Smoltz to the Nats for slow-footed outfielder Josh Willingham and a couple of prospects.

Let's look over the trade for each team:


Washington Nationals

The Nats get stud power-hitting outfielder JD Drew, who, despite needing a game off every week for phantom injuries, can still hit 20 to 30 home runs with a .270 average. The Nationals also get John Smoltz in sort of a player-coach role, coaching the young pitchers on Washington's roster.

However, Drew skips town after his contract (which is still being paid by Boston) is up. Smoltz retires after his half-season with Washington, but stays on as the Nationals' new pitching coach, and eventually Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis become the best one-two pitching punch in the NL under Smoltz's stewardship.


Boston Red Sox 

The Red Sox get good power-hitting outfielder Josh Willingham, who is virtually JD Drew with half the attitude. Willingham hits about 15 to 25 home runs, with about a .260-.280 average. 

The Sox also get good minor league hitters Mike Vento and Derek Norris. Norris and Vento are good hitters who should be the future of the Red Sox at the plate. Norris is a better power hitter and a better hitter for average who, along with No. 1 Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson, will become the Red Sox's version of Murderers Row.


So the apparent winner of the trade is the Red Sox, despite Smoltz's teachings to the Nats' pitching staff. If this trade were to go down, the Red Sox probably would be the winners.