The Boston Red Sox have reportedly engaged in "preliminary conversations" with the Chicago Cubs about first baseman Anthony Rizzo ahead of the 2021 MLB trade deadline on Friday.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday the league-wide level of interest in Rizzo is "not so robust" as compared to some of the Cubs' other trade candidates, but Boston is one of the clubs looking for a potential upgrade at first in the coming days.
The Red Sox own the best record in the American League at 62-39, 1.5 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays (60-40) in the AL East. They've enjoyed that success despite little production from their first basemen.
Bobby Dalbec, Danny Santana and Michael Chavis are among those who have spent time at the position, and Boston first basemen have posted a combined .244 on-base percentage, which is 30 points worse than any other MLB team has received from first base, per FanGraphs.
Rizzo has compiled a .346 OBP with 13 home runs across 90 games for the Cubs in 2021. He owns a career .370 OBP.
The 31-year-old Florida native is in the final season of a seven-year, $41 million contract. With his impending trip into free agency, the Cubs' struggles ahead of a possible deadline fire sale and the limited number of teams that seek upgrades at first base, Boston may be able to land him for a bargain price.
Rizzo's career accolades include four Gold Glove Awards and three All-Star selections. He'd upgrade first base for an otherwise strong Boston offense that ranks third in runs scored behind the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I have no idea what's going to happen," Rizzo told reporters Sunday. "It's been almost four years now since all this talk has been out there. I don't think really much has changed in that four years. But this could be it, yeah. And whenever that happens, we'll face that when it happens."
The Red Sox should have enough talent in their prospect pool to get a deal done. Although Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked their system No. 21 overall after the 2021 draft, they had six prospects rated in his first or second tiers who could be of interest to Chicago, though Boston likely won't move any of its top prospects for a rental.
The trade makes sense on paper, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the sides come to an agreement before the deadline.