MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz on Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons

Martin FennContributor IIIAugust 20, 2020

Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts takes a lead during the third inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

There is no hiding the fact the Boston Red Sox are no longer perennial contenders in the American League.

All the concerns about the pitching staff prior to the start of the year were amplified when Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery, and the Mookie Betts trade deprived the franchise of one of its best and brightest stars.

Indeed, Boston's staff has struggled at a historic rate, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez also out for the year due to a heart condition related to his bout with COVID-19.

Additionally, stars like J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers have scuttled out of the gate, while Andrew Benintendi is hitting below the Mendoza Line. 

The result has been a 7-18 record, and that includes a win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Boston's struggles would seem to suggest it will be a major seller at the deadline. Guys like Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley Jr. are on expiring contracts, and Martinez can opt out of his contract at the end of the year, if he so chooses. 

The Red Sox have 25th-best farm in baseball, per MLB.com, and new team president Chaim Bloom and Co. need to start adding young assets as they build for the future.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggested now might be the best time to trade star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The X-Man is coming off a career year and signed a lucrative extension ahead of the 2019 season.

But Rosenthal noted Bogaerts will gain a full no-trade clause once he reaches his seventh year of big league service, meaning it could be now or never. Bogaerts would also likely net the Red Sox the biggest haul of any player on the roster, if they could find a suitor to make the financials work.

However, Rosenthal also reported people in Boston's organization feel Bogaerts is "extremely important" to the franchise moving forward, and it would seem Bloom agrees.

While Bloom said he is unwilling to deem any one player "safe," he also suggested the Red Sox want Bogaerts (and Devers) on their roster for the long haul (h/t Ian Browne of MLB.com):

"Those guys are core players for us and they're incredibly important to our future, just as they've been important here for a while. As I said earlier, I think philosophically I don't like to think in terms of absolute no's, but those guys are key players for us and we're very hopeful they're going to be part of our next championship group."

To Bloom's point, Bogaerts is still young. He will only be 28 years old in October, meaning he still has a sizable chunk of his baseball prime remaining.

Perhaps Bloom also feels the Red Sox could be just a pitcher or two away from contending. Sale will be back in the mix next year, and Rodriguez will also hopefully be healthy enough to pitch.

Things seem bleak for the Red Sox at present, but Bloom seems optimistic the Red Sox can build around the likes of Bogaerts and Devers as they hope to be more competitive in the near future.


Andrelton Simmons Close to Returning   

Matt York/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels are another team struggling out of the gates, thanks mostly to pitching woes. 

Despite the heroics of Mike Trout and production from unheralded players like Brian Goodwin and infielder David Fletcher, the Angels are just a half-game above the AL West cellar with an 8-17 record.

But the Halos might get a boost from the impending return of shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been on the injured list since July 28 because of an ankle injury.

Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reported Simmons joined the team in San Francisco and also worked out prior to Wednesday's game against the Giants, and it seems the former Gold Glove winner could be back on the field within the next day or two.

The 30-year-old was struggling to start the season, notching just three hits in 16 at-bats. But perhaps Simmons can infuse some more production in L.A.'s lineup.

Simmons was also hampered by injuries in 2019, resulting in just 103 games and a .673 OPS. But he can be productive when healthy, posting a career-high .754 OPS and 75 RBI in 2018.

Of course, Simmons also provides exceptional defense. He ranked second among shortstops with 16 outs above average (OAA) in 2019, per Baseball Savant

Simmons might have been a potential trade candidate if healthy, given he is on an expiring contract. Instead, the Angels will hope he can help them be more respectable as the season rolls along.


All stats obtained via Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.