Moves That Could Make Red Sox Competitive in 2020by Jordan Leandre September 21, 2019 1 comment
Before the conclusion of Friday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox were eliminated from playoff contention –– becoming the 10th team since 2001 to miss the playoffs in the year following a World Series title.
But as their friends from Foxborough will tell you, it’s never too early to begin looking to next season.
The Red Sox jump-started their blueprint towards the 2020 season when they relieved Dave Dombrowski as President of Baseball Operations on Sept. 9, and have indicated that they’ll be willing to listen to offers on 2018 MVP and 2021 Free Agent-to-be Mookie Betts.
Many are already writing off the 2020 season as a non-competitive season where Boston will look to sell-off pieces to rebuild their 22nd-ranked farm system in baseball. With that in mind, the Red Sox can rebuild their farm system while also being right there amongst the baseball elites next season with a couple of simple moves.
1. Mookie Betts to Atlanta
Braves get: OF Mookie Betts
Red Sox get: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, OF Cristian Pache, C William Contreras, and a PTBNL or cash
The saga that has been Mookie Betts’ contract negotiations continues to reach new lows on Betts’ front. Not that the 26-year-old outfielder is in the wrong for saying things like the heroes’ welcome for David Ortiz and Carl Yastrzemski “doesn’t sway me… You can be remembered in that same fashion even if you put on a couple different jerseys.”
It’s just sounding more and more unlikely that no. 50 is willing to accept an extension regardless of the cost, and if someone is that adamant about not being committed to you long-term, it might be time to move on while you can still get something for him.
The Braves have a top-five farm system in baseball, on top of a young pitching staff at the MLB level. A guy like Foltynewicz, who was an All-Star in 2018, would be a perfect MLB return for Betts considering he has two more years of arbitration eligibility –– which would take you right into the end of the Price contract.
2. Trading for bullpen help
Reds get: INF Marco Hernandez, SS C.J. Chatham, and a PTBNL
Red Sox get: LHP Amir Garrett
This may appear to be an overpayment, but you have to sweeten the pot a little bit to convince a team to part with an up-and-coming lefty flamethrower. But Amir Garrett is just the kind of guy this Red Sox team is missing in their bullpen since Joe Kelly departed for Chavez Ravine.
A no-nonsense kind of guy who can be used as a hybrid reliever. Fastball sitting in the upper-90s and an “I’ve got your back” attitude. Remember the massive brawl between the Pirates and the Reds during the summer?
Yes, it seems kind of like a bruised ego reaction by Garrett. His team is getting pummeled, and he did little to provide resistance. But the fact of the matter is he will defend his guys’ back if he feels they’re being disrespected.
Oh, and he’s a guy with charisma and energy –– which is always fun to have in your bullpen.
Kyle Schwarber was NOT thrilled with Amir Garrett's strikeout celebration.
Garrett's reaction… 😂pic.twitter.com/v36zRpmgML
— The Ledge (@TheLedgeSports) September 19, 2019
On the flip side, the Reds rank 23rd in team batting fWAR (10.1), on top of having the 10th-worst slugging percentage (.389) and weighted on-base average (.295) out of the second base position. Marco Hernandez provides a little bit more stability out there than what they’ve been getting out of Jose Peraza in 2019.
3. Provide veteran depth for the young regulars
ex: Trading for 2B Joe Panik and re-signing 1B Mitch Moreland.
The Red Sox are in an interesting position heading into next year. Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec both appear to be MLB-ready offensively –– but until they prove it, they’re still going to have question marks around their names. Providing them with a veteran insurance policy, or just someone who can help them get through the ebbs and flows of a 162-game season at the MLB level is huge.
Joe Panik comes to mind because, despite a down year-and-a-half with San Francisco, he showed in New York that he can still swing the bat at a decent clip. On top of that, he knows what it’s like to be in a legit pennant race, and even has a World Series ring to his credit from 2014.
As far as Mitch Moreland is concerned: His injuries over the past couple seasons are a major cause for concern. He probably can’t play every day anymore, but the beauty of the 2020 Red Sox is they have so many versatile guys. Moreland playing can give just about anybody a day off if need be.
Plus Red Sox fans have grown accustomed to what he can do in pinch-hitting scenarios.