Red Sox's Updated Trade Targets with 2021 MLB Deadline Approaching
The Boston Red Sox have built a three-game lead in the AL East standings thanks to a five-game winning streak that includes a sweep of the rival New York Yankees.
A year after finishing behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East cellar, they are bona fide contenders that will undoubtedly be looking to add some pieces to the puzzle ahead of the deadline.
The biggest addition of the summer could be the return of Chris Sale, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, but there are other items on the shopping list, namely:
- First baseman
- Versatile veteran
- Starting pitching depth
Ahead we've highlighted one potential trade target from each of those categories who could find his way on to the Red Sox roster in the coming weeks.
First Baseman: 1B C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies
On the year, Red Sox first basemen are hitting .210/.261/.388 for a .649 OPS that ranks 27th in the majors, ahead of only the Seattle Mariners (.638), Cleveland (.593) and the Yankees (.581).
Rookie slugger Bobby Dalbec has hit 10 home runs in 232 plate appearances, but he's hitting just .218 with a .267 on-base percentage and a 37.1 percent strikeout rate.
The 26-year-old still has a chance to be a long-term piece in Boston, but the club could use a short-term update for this year's postseason push.
Veteran C.J. Cron has been a consistent source of power throughout his career, and he is making good on a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies this season.
The 31-year-old is hitting .251/.350/.453 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI for a 112 OPS+, and the remainder of his $1 million salary would allow plenty of flexibility for additional moves.
The Rockies are not going anywhere in 2021, and turning a minor league signing into a prospect of any sort would be a solid move.
Versatile Veteran: IF/OF Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Red Sox are the team that made Brock Holt an All-Star and household name, and they are once again valuing defensive versatility as much as any team in baseball.
Enrique Hernandez, Danny Santana, Marwin Gonzalez and Michael Chavis have been lining up all over the field. The trouble is, outside of Hernandez, who has served as the team's primary leadoff hitter, no one from that group has produced much of anything offensively.
Adam Frazier is in the midst of a breakout season offensively, and while he's serving as his the Pittsburgh Pirates' primary second baseman, he has also seen regular time at the corner outfield spots in his career.
The 29-year-old is hitting .326/.395/.465 and he ranks among the NL leaders in hits (98, second), doubles (24, second), OPS+ (139, ninth).
He would likely see the bulk of his action in left field with the Red Sox but would also provide an alternative at second base when Hernandez is manning center field.
With another year of arbitration eligibility, a team-friendly $4.3 million salary and All-Star-caliber production, he won't come cheap. However, he would be a huge addition to an already potent Boston lineup.
Starting Pitching Depth: SP Tyler Anderson, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Red Sox have succeeded in spite of a starting rotation that ranks 21st in the majors with a 4.57 ERA and has been without a bona fide ace for much of the year.
Here's a look at the five pitchers who have started all but two games on the year:
- Nathan Eovaldi: 16 GS, 3.67 ERA, 2.63 FIP
- Nick Pivetta: 16 GS, 4.43 ERA, 4.32 FIP
- Garrett Richards: 16 GS, 4.96 ERA, 4.84 FIP
- Eduardo Rodriguez: 15 GS, 5.83 ERA, 3.57 FIP
- Martin Perez: 15 GS, 4.09 ERA, 4.33 FIP
The hope is that a healthy Chris Sale can fill the void at the top of the rotation, but if injury strikes in the interim, they are lacking in viable depth behind those five guys.
Tyler Anderson signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal to eat some innings on a young Pittsburgh Pirates staff, and he has posted a respectable 4.75 ERA and 4.52 FIP in 85.1 innings. The 31-year-old has allowed a maximum of three earned runs in 13 of his 15 starts, and he has a 3.63 ERA in those 13 appearances.
He would be an immediate upgrade over a struggling Richards, who has a 9.18 ERA, 2.34 WHIP and .390 batting average allowed in his past four starts.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Wednesday's games.