We’re only a week away from July and we’ve been starting to turn our attention to the trade season. Things are going to change in the five weeks between now and the trade deadline, of course, but teams are showing more and more of a willingness to make early moves if the opportunity presents itself. We’ve looked at potential targets are area of needs, but for the next couple of days we’ll take a broader view of the situation. Today, we’ll look at the rebuilding teams in the American League and see where they and the Red Sox could potentially match up in a trade. The definition of “rebuilding” here is going to be pretty subjective, so if I don’t mention a team you think should be here be sure to let me know.
Targets: Zach Britton, Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens
This is going to be an important trade deadline for Baltimore as it is clearly time for that organization to hit the restart button and move in a different direction. Machado is their biggest chip, but while there has been some speculation about a connection between him and Boston I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. The rest of the names are more realistic. Jones seemed like someone they could keep simply because he is the face of their franchise and those things can outweigh trade value, but reports indicate they could look to deal him. If Boston decides they want a starting outfielder (I don’t expect that, but it’s not impossible) Jones could be a nice fit as a rental. Britton, Brach, O’Day and Givens could all step in as late-inning relievers and give the team a boost. Britton would be the best fit given that he throws from the left side and has elite upside. Of course, his recent injury history makes him a risk as well.
Tampa Bay Rays
Targets: Wilson Ramos, Carlos Gomez, Sergio Romo
I don’t foresee a trade coming together between these two teams, but the Rays do have a few pieces that could be of interest to Boston. If the Red Sox catchers continue to struggle — Christian Vazquez has been pretty good of late, for what it’s worth — Ramos would be an impact bat for the position. Gomez would essentially be a lesser version of Jones, and Romo would be another late-inning righty out of the bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays
Targets: Steve Pearce
The Blue Jays are kind of in a weird spot. I don’t think they are going to go in a full rebuild — they have enough talent in the mid-20s that they may feel they can retool this winter — but some bit pieces could be on the move. Pearce would be a great fit for the Red Sox as a right-handed bat who crushes lefties and can fill in in the outfield as well as first base.
Chicago White Sox
Targets: Joakim Sora
The White Sox are one of the clearest rebuilding teams in all of baseball, but they are at the point where much of their roster is young. They are just waiting for the talent to catch up to the potential. They do have one potential target, though, and Soria may be the most likely reliever for the Red Sox to acquire on the market. He is Chicago’s closer, and while he’s probably not good enough for that role on most teams he’s been an effective late-inning reliever in this league for a long time now.
Kansas City Royals
Targets: Mike Moustakas, Whit Merrifield
Kelvin Herrera was the Royal who made the most sense for the Red Sox, but he was sent to the Nationals last week. Moustakas is someone I have been asked about a bunch the last couple of weeks, but I don’t see them getting someone to play over Rafael Devers every day. If they do go in that direction, though, Moustakas would be a good rental. Merrifield, meanwhile, is a good fit on the Red Sox roster as a right-handed bat who is good enough to play every day and can play both second base and the outfield. The issue would be a matter of cost, as he is under control through 2022 despite playing in his age-29 season.
Targets: Shane Greene
The Tigers are playing better than most anyone expected this year, but they are still almost certain to be sellers at the deadline. They have some intriguing pieces with Michael Fulmer being the best, but it’s hard to see the Red Sox trading for rotation help. Greene is Detroit’s closer right now and would fit well with Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes in the late innings ahead of Craig Kimbrel.
Targets: Adrian Beltre, Keone Kela, Jake Diekman, Alex Claudio
Beltre is perhaps my favorite trade target of this entire summer, but that’s almost entirely because of his 2010 season. I would love to re-live that. It could also make sense to replace Devers with Beltre if it came down to it, as the latter could serve as a mentor late in the year as well as an upgrade on the field. Beltre has a tremendous reputation as a veteran teammate. I wouldn’t bet on this happening though. I wouldn’t bet on Kela either, though he has huge upside in the late innings. Diekman and Claudio are the most realistic here as a couple of intriguing left-handed relief options.
Targets: Jed Lowrie, Mark Canha, Khris Davis, Jonathan Lucroy, Blake Treinen, Yusmeiro Petit
The Athletics might be the most intriguing potential trade partner in all of baseball, though they may also not be looking at a hard sell. Still, if they do go in that direction, they have a ton of pieces. Lowrie would fit as a second base and third base option. The Red Sox have already been linked to Canha. Davis is a huge power bat from the right side. Lucroy is a solid catching option, though I’m not sure the upgrade matches the name value. Treinen is a sick late-inning reliever and would immediately be Boston’s second-best reliever. Petit has long been a personal favorite of mine as a multi-inning reliever with late-inning talent.