Boston Red Sox: 5 Outfield Trade Options for "Active" GM Theo Epstein
File this under “least surprising announcements by a Major League GM, ever”:
I’ll give you a moment to clean up the coffee you no doubt just spewed across your office or kitchen in pure, unadulterated shock.
Epstein believes that his team is far from an acceptable finished product, and although pretty much all baseball fans outside of the Boston-New York circle of perpetual competitiveness would disagree, it seems that the Red Sox will, once again, be potential buyers for some of the biggest names available at the trade deadline.
An outfielder, specifically a right fielder, certainly ranks high on the Sox wish list, directly behind a time machine that could be used to go back and undo the John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka contracts, their very own Dr. Frankenstein to bring J.D. Drew back to life, and a new set of hamstrings for Carl Crawford.
On that note, here are five players Boston could pursue to solidify their outfield…
5. David DeJesus
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David DeJesus would come to the Red Sox (relatively) cheap, and is capable of playing multiple outfield positions, which would create a nice rotation of flexible outfielders along with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford.
DeJesus is enjoying a career year in Oakland, but the A's have made it known that he could be available in exchange for a younger, major-league ready prospect. The Sox have several such prospects in their farm system, and could part ways with one of them in order to obtain a more established bat.
DeJesus has played the majority of his nine-year major league career in Kansas City, where wins were hard to come by, and the Athletics are no more competitive. He would likely welcome a trade to a competitive team like the Sox, who are currently favored to win the American League Pennant.
4. Jeff Baker
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Alright, so Jeff Baker isn’t exactly a prototypical outfielder. But he can play nearly every other position on the diamond, and has some experience in the outfield, so it’s not too much of a reach to project him going to Boston to fill in at several positions of need, including right field.
Jed Lowrie’s health has been a concern all year for the Red Sox, and Marco Scutaro has been…underwhelming in 2011. Baker has the infield experience to provide some much-needed positional flexibility and his bat is solid enough to warrant some starts in right if necessary.
Baker would also be considerably more affordable than some other potential trade options. He wouldn’t cost Boston a slew of top prospects or untold millions in future contracts. All things considered, Baker would be a nice addition to the Red Sox, and could help the team at several positions.
3. Melky Cabrera
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The Melk Man makes this list primarily for one reason: it would really piss off Yankee fans if he came up big in a postseason Yanks-Sox series.
Also, he’s a legitimate hitter who would become infinitely more dangerous upon being inserted into an already stacked Red Sox lineup.
Cabrera truly seems to be coming into his own this year, and is on pace for career-best numbers across the board despite playing in Kansas City with a lineup that, let’s be honest, may be filled with potential but isn’t exactly putting the fear of God into anybody.
The Royals would be wise to keep Cabrera. He’s a veteran and proven good guy to have in the clubhouse, especially on a team as young as the Royals.
That said, the Royals love young talent. In their current position, it is what they covet above all else. In fact somewhere, right now, a Royals fan is reading this and salivating at the thought of acquiring a Darnell McDonald, Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish. Well, maybe not Darnell McDonald so much.
All in all, trading a prospect or two for Cabrera could be an intriguing deal for both the Red Sox and the Royals.
2. Carlos Beltran
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Because why the hell not?
I mean, go big or go home, right? Beltran has been one of the most hotly pursued potential trade targets in baseball, as the Mets suffer through Fred Wilpon’s financial woes and the prospect of a rebuilding period if Beltran and Jose Reyes are shipped out of town.
It has been rumored that the Red Sox don’t want to spend the money it would take to acquire Beltran, to which I only have one response; the next time that money keeps Boston from making a major move will be the first time.
If the Red Sox decide that they really want Beltran, that they want to make the biggest splash possible in the trade deadline pool, money will not stop them.
Beltran has stated that he would prefer to play for a contender (more breaking news!), and Boston is one of the few teams with the combination of young talent, cash to burn and a desirable roster that would entice Beltran.
1. Michael Cuddyer
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The Minnesota Twins seem to be snake-bitten in 2011, having suffered through injuries to superstars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them become sellers at the deadline, and begin to focus on next season.
Cuddyer has been enjoying his best season as a pro this year, and was just selected as an all-star for the first time in 11 seasons. He is a solid hitter, good clubhouse guy, and would fit nicely anywhere in the Boston lineup.
Michael Cuddyer may not be the biggest or most glamorous name floating out there, but all things considered he may be the best option for the Red Sox. They wouldn’t have to sell the farm to get him, he’s clearly comfortable hitting in the American League, and would be a cheap, versatile, low maintenance addition to an already potent lineup.