The Red Sox are asking the Indians about helping to plug a few holes in Boston's roster
On Tuesday, Jon Heyman reported that the Indians might be willing to trade, among others, Justin Masterson and Shin-Soo Choo. The Red Sox, who need help in the outfield and the rotation (also among other things) seemed like a great match for Cleveland, who would be in the process of rebuilding should they move these pieces. Boston has the prospects and the flexibility to take on the cost of the Indians players that Cleveland might move, and the Indians could use the helping hand in building their future.
This might be more than speculation already, as FOX Sports' Jon Morosi is reporting that the Red Sox indeed have interest in Choo and Masterson:
It's not clear how advanced the talks are, but the fit is obvious: The Red Sox have the ability to take on payroll after unloading roughly $250 million in contracts three months ago, and the Indians are willing to listen to offers for virtually every player on their roster.
Morosi says it isn't clear how advanced the talks are, but, if they were that far along, there would likely be at least some word of what Boston was offering, or what Cleveland was requesting in exchange. There isn't, so we're left to speculate. Choo has one year of team control left, and will be a free agent heading into 2014. The Red Sox aren't likely to trade their better prospects for a single season, so either the price will be lowered, or Boston will also attempt to negotiation an extension with Choo.
Choo might not be the most power-heavy outfielder around, but in the past, he's been a strong defender, and has the kind of patience the Boston lineup needs now that it's missing some of it's more significant contributors from the past. Nothing is ever easy, though, and Choo is a Scott Boras client: that takes the chances of an extension prior to the end of 2013 down a notch, but it also depends on how much it will take to satisfy both Choo and Boras.
We're getting ahead of ourselves, of course: the Red Sox would need to acquire him before they could negotiate. If Choo is acquired, expect to see some of the prospects you've come to love sent packing, but, given his lack of team control remaining, likely not one of the top five or six in the system. Think along the value lines of players in between Garin Cecchini and Brandon Jacobs on the prospect depth chart.
As for Masterson, his prospect cost might not be high, given that he's only had the one very good year with Cleveland, while the rest were a bit disappointing. Boston might not have the room in their rotation for a question mark as big as Masterson, but maybe exchanging Felix Doubront and his extra years of team control as part of a Masterson/Choo swap would make a lot of sense for both parties. It could also help to bring the prospect cost down as well, but then again, as a pitcher who has already been to the majors, maybe Doubront is more valuable than someone who is three years or more away from the bigs.
Boston does have plenty to offer in the way of prospects, at least, so it all comes down to what it is the Indians require. More on that if/when it comes out.