It's reportedly become "increasingly realistic" the Boston Red Sox will be seller ahead of the 2022 MLB trade deadline on Aug. 2 after having fallen to fourth place in the AL East.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday rival executives expect Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will be "open for business" with J.D. Martinez, Enrique "Kike" Hernandez and Nathan Eovaldi leading the notable names who could be placed on the trade block.
Even if Boston proceeds with a fire sale, Xander Bogaerts isn't among those who will likely be moved despite having a player option in his six-year, $120 million contract that could make him a free agent at season's end, per Passan.
The Red Sox have tumbled down the standings in recent weeks amid a cold stretch that includes a 2-8 record over their past 10 games. The skid was lowlighted by a 28-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Boston's record stands at 49-48, and it's three games behind the Seattle Mariners (52-45) for the final wild-card spot in a crowded AL playoff race.
If the front office decides contention isn't possible, it could take advantage of a trade market lacking sellers with high-impact assets.
Martinez, a longtime outfielder who's exclusively played designated hitter for the Red Sox this season, would immediately become one of the best players available. He's posted a .302/.368/.481 slash line with nine home runs in 81 appearances in 2022.
The 34-year-old slugger, who's coming off his fifth All-Star appearance, told WEEI's Rob Bradford the situation is "very weird" leading up to the deadline. He named Bogaerts, Eovaldi and Christian Vazquez as players in similar uncertain situations.
"For me, this is the fourth team I've been on and if you get traded that means you're going to be on a contending team, and if you don't get traded that means you are on a contending team," Martinez said. "It's a win-win."
Hernandez, 30, is on the IL with a hip injury, but once healthy he could provide a value as a utility player for a contender, similar to what he did with the Los Angeles Dodgers in recent years. He's played every position other than catcher in the big leagues.
Eovaldi, 32, has endured an up-and-down 2022 season en route to a 4.30 ERA, but his 79 strikeouts in 75.1 innings showcase some upside for interested teams.
All told, it's possible the Red Sox get hot over the next week and the front office decides to keep the group together to make a postseason push.
It sounds like a sell-off is becoming more probable with each passing loss, though.