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Red Sox trade targets: Jon Jay

Is Jon Jay a better fit for Boston's outfield needs than Wil Myers would be?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are a potential landing spot for San Diego outfielder Jon Jay according to Nick Cafardo, who names Jay a "popular trade target" and also mentions the Royals and Blue Jays as potential trade partners for the Padres.

It's no secret that the Red Sox could use a left-handed bat for left field. Brock Holt's recovery from his concussion has been slow, and the Sox' attempt to throw Swihart into the position on a moment's notice ended with disaster. That's left them with Chris Young, and while Young has been doing an excellent job, there will always be questions of whether or not he can actually handle a starting role given his splits and just how many right-handed pitchers there are out there.

To that end, we've seen plenty of names thrown around as possible additions, with Wil Myers one of the more recent additions. How does Jay stack up?

Well, to start with, he actually is left-handed, so we can go ahead and check that bit off of our list. Unless we're talking about a guy with pretty remarkable and well-established reverse splits, there's not much reason for the Red Sox to even consider a right-handed hitter given Young's presence.

As for how good Jay actually is? Well, he's probably not going to blow anyone away. It's not clear whether or not he still has it in him to produce those .370+ OBPs he was managing in years gone by, but he has recovered nicely from a dismal 2015, hitting .296.,345/.407 with the Padres, good for a solidly above-average 110 wRC+. He doesn't bring much power to the table, but the Sox aren't necessarily in need of a star so much as a solid complementary piece to go with Young.

Some will point out that Jay doesn't exactly look like that piece this year, as he's hitting .354/.420/.443 against lefties and .275/.312/.397 against righties. But don't look at those numbers. Platoon splits take much, much longer than half a season to stabilize. To give much credence to this would be flipping two or three heads in a row and declaring your coin imbalanced, or even a double-headed coin. Maybe it's true, but three flips certainly shouldn't even be enough to raise your suspicions. The same is true here.

Looking at a more significant sample size, Jay's splits are...well, not terribly extreme. He hits just slightly better against righties than lefties, meaning the Red Sox aren't getting a monster platoon bat here. But they would be getting a very solid option. .288/.353/.394 in his career against opposite-handed pitching is more than respectable, and the Red Sox would be glad to have it. For what it's worth, while his defense also takes major swings, that too is an area which takes a long time to stabilize, and it seems more accurate than anything to say he's simply...not special out there. That's fine. The Red Sox don't need special for left field in Fenway. Just competent.

Of course, it all inevitably comes down to price. But here, there's probably not too much to worry about. Jay is no superstar, just a solid role player. He's under contract for only the rest of the year, and then set to hit free agency for the first time. Given that we're talking about the Padres here, They may well never even consider giving him a qualifying offer, either, which would leave them very much in must-trade territory, lest they get nothing out of him.

If other teams are on the lookout, then he'll certainly not be dirt cheap. But he's the sort of player the Red Sox can land without dropping any of their big names on the deal. If that turns out to be the case, that makes Jay a pretty interesting option. He's not exciting or flashy, but he gets the job done, and should do so at a reasonable price. I won't call him the perfect fit given that he doesn't really crush RHP, but few players will while failing to put themselves into superstar territory. That's just the nature of the long end of the platoon split. If Jon Jay is no superstar, he'd be a strong pickup for a Red Sox team that's more looking to tweak its lineup than overhaul it.