The Boston Red Sox need to take one look at the standings to determine what their stance should be ahead of the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
The Red Sox are 51-52 and at the bottom of the American League East entering Monday. Their playoff dream is dying fast, and they may end up with nothing to show for this season.
Boston is 3-7 in its last 10 games, and it has not won consecutive games since July 9 and 10, when it took down the New York Yankees.
It is time for the Red Sox to offload some of their impending free agents and try to recoup something out of a disappointing season—instead of waiting for a handful of contracts to expire in the offseason.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the "Red Sox are listening on veterans," and that includes JD Martinez, Christian Vazquez and Nathan Eovaldi, all of whom have expiring contracts. Xander Bogaerts has already been told he will not be traded.
Boston will not receive a massive haul in return for its players who are out of contract at the end of the 2022 season, but getting a few prospects in return could bolster the farm system and accelerate the timeline for younger players to join the big-league roster.
The Red Sox should take advantage of what is a weak trade market at the moment. Juan Soto is the big name on the rumor mill, but the Washington Nationals are rightfully asking for exorbitant packages in return for a player who is one of the best hitters in the game and has multiple years left on his contract.
Where Boston fits in the trade market is with the teams that either missed out on Soto or were never in the race for the Nationals outfielder in the first place. For example, the New York Mets could look to Boston for Martinez or Vazquez to improve their lineup as they try to lock up the National League East.
New York already made two moves for left-handed bats in Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin, and it can improve its right-handed depth by landing Martinez and Vazquez, both of whom have postseason experience.
Martinez's overall power is down compared to a year ago, He has nine home runs, but he hit 32 doubles and has a .354 on-base percentage. Vazquez carries some positional flexibility at catcher and first base. He is hitting .282 with eight home runs, 42 RBI and 20 doubles.
There are places on contending rosters for both Martinez and Vazquez, and the Red Sox could get a few young players in return for the two hitters to start building their new core for another set of playoff pushes in the future.
The potential departures of Martinez and Vazquez would allow the Red Sox to take a major-league look at Triston Cases, the team's No. 2 overall prospect, who is mashing at Triple-A Worcester.
Casas, Jeter Downs and whichever prospects come in return for the traded players could form a nice young core around Bogaerts and Rafael Devers to help the Red Sox rebuild a bit after the departures of a few players.
Nathan Eovaldi is Boston's most intriguing pitching target at the trade deadline. Eovaldi is 4-3 with a 4.43 ERA, 80 strikeouts and just 14 walks over 81.1 innings.
The starting pitcher market is scant to say the least. Once Frankie Montas is traded by the Oakland Athletics, there will be little quality left on the market. Boston could make Eovaldi available and get two decent prospects, or one major-league ready player, in return for his expiring contract.
Eovaldi's departure would open up a clear path for Brayan Bello to be in the Boston rotation and that would help the team further evaluate the talent of its No. 3 overall prospect for the final two months of the regular season.
Eovaldi would be able to slip into any rotation and be an upgrade because of his lengthy experience. He needs to cut down on the home run concession, of which he has 18, but that is one of the few concerns that are attached to him.
St. Louis, Philadelphia and a few other playoff contenders are in need of pitching help, and Eovaldi's availability would be a welcome sight since they likely can't afford Montas, who has been linked for weeks with the New York Yankees.
Boston could keep everyone and make one more run at the wild-card spots in the American League. The Red Sox are 3.5 games out, with three teams between them and the third wild-card position.
With free agency on the horizon for a few players and the season trending downward, the Red Sox should cut their losses and get something for Martinez, Vazquez and Eovaldi and allow some of their top prospects to get some much-needed playing time at the big-league level.