The Red Sox outfield, as a group, has been among the worst in baseball at the plate. The collective struggles of Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava have played a large part in the struggles of the Red Sox. The bunch currently sits dead last in all of baseball in batting average at .211, 29th in baseball in on-base percentage and slugging percentage at .290 and .332 respectively, and 29th in WAR at -0.9.
A little under a week ago, manager John Farrell said that a shakeup in the outfield could be near, if nothing was set in stone.
"There’s ongoing discussion, not just today but there has been for some time. We’re trying to get the best read we can on our guys here," Farrell said. "That doesn’t suggest there’s any change imminent."
According to a report from Rob Bradford of WEEI, the Red Sox are exploring options in the outfield trade market, with an emphasis on center field help to take pressure off of Bradley. Andre Eithier, whose name was floated by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe as a possible target, has not drawn interest from the Red Sox.
Here are a few players the Red Sox could target in the trade market.
Emilio Bonifacio, Chicago Cubs
Bonifacio has been very good to start the year and his versatility to play any position sans first base, catcher and pitcher is a big plus. At the plate, Bonifacio has hit .282/.325/.367 with 12 RBIs, ten doubles, three triples and eleven stolen bases. Bonifacio is making just $2.6 million and is a free agent after the season. The 29-year-old provides a solid defensive option at multiple position while presenting a decent bat, particularly when compared to some of Boston's current options.
Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh Pirates
With top prospect Gregory Polanco nearly ready to go, the Pirates will soon have a surplus of good, young outfielders. With Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte locked up, it appears as if Tabata is the odd man out. The Pirates are currently using Tabata in a right field platoon with Travis Snider. Tabata is only 25-years-old and is owed just $11.5 million through 2016. He's currently hitting just .270/.299/.324 with ten RBIs, four doubles and a triple in 45 games played so far this season, however, meaning much of his value is wrapped up in the possibility of a return to 2013 form.
Seth Smith, San Diego Padres
Smith is a free-agent after the season and is part of a platoon for the Padres. The 31-year-old has been strong offensively this season, hitting .315/.413/.568 in 45 games with six homers, 20 RBIs, 13 doubles and three triples. Smith might not require a large return if teams are wary of his history, and could provide a solid option for the outfield.
Alex Rios, Texas Rangers
With the Rangers' season in the tank following a hurricane of injuries, most recently Prince Fielder, the squad will likely look to trade off some of their more valuable assets to gain a return. Rios has been one of the better outfielders in baseball this year, hitting .322/.354/.477 with three homers, 29 RBI, 9 stolen bases, twelve doubles and five triples. Rios has been one of the better all-around outfielders in baseball this year, and the 33-year-old is signed through the end of the season with a team option for 2015.
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp is now three years removed from posting one of the best seasons in recent memory for an outfielder when he hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs, 33 doubles and four triples with a 8.2 WAR in 2011. Injuries have taken their toll, preventing him from approaching those heights since. Kemp played in only 73 games in 2013 and has hit .264/.327/.453 with five homers, 13 RBIs and 13 doubles in 42 games this season. The biggest red flag on Kemp is his contract. The outfielder is signed through the 2019 season and is owed $107 million past the 2014 season, when he is owed a total of $21 million. In order for any deal to get done, the Dodgers would need to eat a portion of the salary left on the deal. How much money the Dodgers are willing to eat will ultimately determine what kind of return they could expect for Kemp.