Carlos Gomez is Yoenis Cespedes, in a way. Gomez has a year and a half left on his current deal, he has an agent who goes after a lot of money (in this case, Scott Boras) and he's an electric player. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are firmly out of the playoff picture and need to begin looking towards the future; a rental player is not what the team needs at the trade deadline. If the Red Sox want to make an impactful trade this year with ramifications towards the future, trading for Gomez is one way to do just that.
Gomez isn't going to be cheap, but he's the type of game-changing all-around player that helps bring a team from the middle of the pack to the heart of a playoff race. Now, you might be talking at your computer something along the lines of, "Wow, this kid is dumb. The Red Sox already have a bazillion outfielders." Well, don't you worry because I'll try to alleviate those concerns by the end of this (incredibly hypothetical) situation that's about to unfold on the screen in front of you.
In the short term, the Brewers are in a very similar place as the Red Sox, sitting dead last in their division with 42 wins. They, however, organizationally are in a worse place with a lack of depth in the farm system -- they only have a couple of prospects recognized nationally, one of them just drafted this year -- an area where the Red Sox have no issues. The lack of organizational depth is precisely the reason why rumors have been swirling around Gomez, the asset for the Brewers who could bring back the most in a trade since Jonathan Lucroy is both struggling and seemingly unavailable this deadline.
Gomez is having a relative down year in Milwaukee, hitting .271/.338/.442 with two wins above replacement, but the 29-year-old has been among the most valuable players in the game the last couple of seasons, posting 3.0, 7.5 and 5.7 WAR in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. He's posting an 115 wRC+, which is down from his marks the last two seasons, but he's still an incredibly productive offensive player at a premium defensive position, where he remains among the best fielders in baseball. He's also hit .264/.409/.491 in July, so by year's end, maybe he'll look more like his usual self.
A player of Gomez's caliber who is under team control for another year at $9 million will garner a pretty hefty return, with a package centered around a top-20 prospect like Manuel Margot or Rafael Devers. While that's a high cost, Gomez immediately settles the middle of the lineup for the Red Sox for the next season and a half. The Brewers need a young player to build around, and Margot is someone who is probably a little under two years from being in the major leagues -- he might be ready just around the time Gomez will likely depart Milwaukee as a free agent.
Beyond just Margot, the Red Sox would need to entertain adding in someone who's more close to the major leagues, such as Jackie Bradley or Deven Marrero, who both could look like they're out of a spot in Boston. Bradley could fill in for Gomez right now, and maybe he'll find more success in the National League, or with a more permanent spot on a big-league roster. Marrero won't play shortstop so long as Jean Segura is on the Brewers, but that could be solved with a trade -- Milwaukee has been shopping Segura, too -- or Marrero could be utilized elsewhere on the diamond, such as second base, where the Brewers have had trouble finding an answer of late.
Another lower-level arm or hitter, along the lines of Teddy Stankiewicz or Mauricio Dubon, respectively, could fill out a solid package for someone of Gomez's caliber. Both are a ways off, but they have talent, and would act more as a flier. If the Brewers want something a little closer to the majors, the Sox also have a few potential big-league relievers sitting at Triple-A Pawtucket, akin to this past offseason when Alex Wilson went to the Tigers along with Cespedes.
Who can the Red Sox trade before the deadline?
Let's take stock of all of Boston's movable pieces to get a sense of their potential trade activity for the rest of July.
So, how would Gomez fit into this hypothetical picture? With Bradley off to Milwaukee (hypothetically), Gomez, Rusney Castillo, and Mookie Betts would be your Red Sox outfield, with Hanley Ramirez taking his highlight reel defense over to first base, a position where the Red Sox believe the current left fielder could make a transition. If it's Marrero instead of Bradley in Milwaukee, then Bradley gets his chance to earn a big-league job while Castillo sits in Triple-A a bit longer, and then it's one or the other for that gig in 2016. Where the three outfielders play, whomever they are, is not something we need to figure out ourselves at this junction: all four could line up in center, or play in Fenway's expansive right: regardless of the who and the where, the defense would be incredible.
Although Gomez isn't under team control beyond next season, the Red Sox still, despite the disaster 2015 has been, have a chance at a playoff spot in 2016 due to the young core in Betts and Xander Bogaerts, the flood of young talent moving up through the farm system, and the contracts coming off the books after 2015. Remember, too, that Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are unlikely to be done, and something closer to the pre-2015 expectations for both of them would change a lot for the Sox going forward. Plus, the Sox certainly have the money to retain Gomez, who won't hit free agency until he's 31 -- failing that, at least they'd get a first-round pick back for him, in addition to the year of production.
Gomez is not a savior by any means, but he's an incredibly talented player who would help push the Red Sox towards winning more baseball games in the near future. That's about all you can ask for when it comes to acquiring help through a trade.