Leandre: Red Sox in Need of a Yankees-Type Deadline
Photo credit: Boston Herald
In need of a little extra reliability in the lineup, rotation, and bullpen, the Boston Red Sox are in need of a pretty active trade deadline as buyers.
The Red Sox have been named as a top offense in baseball for their resurrection of power that came with the signing of J.D. Martinez this February. However, over the course of the last 11 games, their offense is only plating three and a half runs per game, including two games where they failed to score; and within this recent stretch, some glaring issues within their lineup have resurfaced.
Amongst these issues has been the struggle of Jackie Bradley Jr., who had a string of success in the end of May and into early June, however has hit another dry spell these past six games, posting just a .143 average in that span.
Thankfully, Rafael Devers has caught fire recently, which has helped quiet the noise surrounding the struggles of Bradley, but there’s really no hiding it when you look at the team from a statistical standpoint.
When looking at the needs of this team from a lineup standpoint, it’s easy to detect that they need to acquire another outfield bat, preferably right-handed, to be a fourth outfielder and hopefully provide a bit of power off of the bench; much like Chris Young had been in 2016, and was at times in 2017.
As far as the rotation is concerned, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez have recently solidified out of the back-end of the starting pitching staff, but their track records don’t necessarily indicate that they will be able to keep this up for the entire season. Even though they have potential backup plans like Hector Velasquez, Brian Johnson, Jalen Beeks, and potentially Drew Pomeranz when he comes off the DL, the Sox are in real need of a veteran pitcher, with postseason experience, who can come in and be a reliable source of innings, whether as a starter or a reliever.
Maybe this veteran can come in and steal a spot in the playoff rotation, like Doug Fister was able to do last season, albeit he wasn’t the greatest in his brief stint in Beantown.
Moving on to the bullpen, the Red Sox stay searching for answers. Starting with the eighth inning, where they have used Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Heath Hembree to fill in the hole left by Carson Smith, who has been out since May 14th with a right shoulder subluxation.
Tyler Thornburg appears to be on the verge of making his first appearance in a regular season game with the Red Sox, who traded for the right-hander back in December of 2016, but the timetable still sits at the end of the month.
The Sox need something starting now, that can last them until the season is over.
Yes, the Red Sox are in a pretty good spot. They’re 49-24, sitting just percentage points above the Yankees for first in the AL East, but when looking at the roster on paper, aside from the top two in the rotation, and the top four or five in the lineup, the Red Sox simply aren’t that scary of a team. In other words, they’re not put together to win the World Series, like the Yankees, Astros, and Indians are.
They need to make some moves, acquire someone at each of the three positions mentioned above, maybe even multiple relievers. Because as much as I love Matt Barnes, I see him as more of a sixth inning guy who can use his past history as a starter to go multiple innings when needed to. I do NOT see him being a potential eighth inning guy.
They need to do what the Yankees did last season when they acquired Sonny Gray, Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson last July; which was in just two separate trades.
The Red Sox need to pick a team that’s absolutely tanking, and make them worse by picking off talented players in order to revamp their big league roster. A team like the Kansas City Royals (22-49) or the Baltimore Orioles (20-50).
Potential trade targets from Kansas City include:
- Jorge Soler – RHH OF – .265/.354/.466, 9 HR, 28 RBI
Soler would make for a fantastic power option off of the bench, who can also fill in as a corner outfielder on days that Alex Cora needs to rest a guy.
- Kelvin Herrera – RHP – 27 G, 14 Sv, 1.05 ERA in 25.2 IP
Need I go on? On top of being a full-blown lunatic, which you need to be to handle late-and-close situations, Herrera is a dominant pitcher in the game today, and will be a hot commodity this July for teams looking to bolster their bullpen.
- Mike Moustakas – LHH 3B – .262/.319/.476, 13 HR, 46 RBI
Moustakas was a guy on the Red Sox radar last year at this time, before the Sox ultimately traded for Eduardo Nunez and called up Rafael Devers. With both guys back and underperforming, albeit Devers has been hot lately, Moustakas has resurfaced as a potential candidate to be traded here yet again. He provides a reliable glove, as well as power bat that could be a lethal weapon if Devers can’t keep up the hot pace.
Potential trade Targets from the Baltimore Orioles include:
- Manny Machado – RHH INF – .310/.377/.567, 18 HR, 57 RBI
This will raise some eyebrows for sure, as the cost to rent Machado, which is essentially what Dave Dombrowski would be doing, is through the roof. With the cost both to acquire, and then to keep him, being so high, this is more of a pipe dream. But the talent is there and, if the price is right, it would be foolish for Dombrowski to not pull the trigger on this trade.
- Mark Trumbo – RHH OF/DH – .261/.320/.420, 4 HR, 13 RBI
Trumbo, like Moustakas before, is another guy who has been on the Red Sox radar during Dombrowski’s tenure here. Following the 2016 season, where he led all of baseball with 47 home runs, the Sox decided not to sign the then 30-year-old. Ultimately leading to him resigning with the Orioles. However, he hasn’t played much this year, just 37 games. But when he’s out there, he’s as lethal a force offensively as you can get. He can DH, play right, as well as first, making him a pretty good candidate to platoon with Mitch Moreland vs. LHP.
- Zach Britton – LHP – 0.00 ERA in three appearances since coming off the DL
Zach Britton is just a year and a half removed from being considered a Cy Young candidate as closer for the Baltimore Orioles. He finished the year with a 0.54 ERA and fourth in voting for the Cy. However, an injury-plagued 2017 and 2018, combined with his pending free agency, has teams mulling on whether or not this 30-year-old is worth the asking price; let me tell you, he is worth every ounce of it. If Baltimore is, as they should be, dealing him, the Red Sox should put the fact it’s a division rival aside and trade for this guy. They don’t come much better than him.
- Brad Brach – RHP – 28 G, 3.58 ERA in 27.2 IP, 10 Sv
Brach has only pitch one full season in which his ERA has been above three and a half, making him a pretty reliable arm. To counter that, Matt Barnes is currently on pace for his first season like that, and Heath Hembree has once. Both, however, are trending in the wrong direction. If the Red Sox whiff on Herrera and Britton, Brad Brach would be an excellent plan-B, as he can pitch late in games, as well as close when Craig Kimbrel is unavailable. It’s all about bridging the game from your starters to your closer; and right now, the Red Sox don’t have a very good group of constructors.
They HAVE to make a move, and they will most likely do so. The only questions remain are “Who?” and “When?” I’ve listed a handful of candidates, but a lot will transpire in the coming weeks. Now it’s time to put our faith, as a Nation, in Dombrowski to get the job done.