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The Red Sox should be looking at package deals

Given the state of their farm system and their multiple needs, this would be the ideal route

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

We’ve talked a whole lot over the last month or so about the Red Sox plans heading into the trade deadline. By now, we know what they have to deal and we know what they could possibly be targeting. For a team as good as Boston is — and they have the best record in baseball at the moment — there are some legitimate holes. The rotation could use another back-end arm with Eduardo Rodriguez on the shelf. The bullpen could use a late-inning presence to help out Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel. Getting some help at second base and catcher certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, either. Addressing all of these needs is not necessary — like I said, this team is really good as-is — but the American League is crazy competitive at the top and Dave Dombrowski and company need to put in the work to improve the team as much as possible.

Unfortunately, in order to improve the roster now you need to have enticing future pieces. It’s not that the Red Sox don’t have any prospects that other teams would want. Saying that would be patently false. However, they don’t have a ton of depth and they have a tough balancing act of using some prospects to improve the team now while also trying to build up said depth in the farm system. Additionally, they likely don’t have the kind of depth to go to multiple teams over the next couple of weeks and dangle different prospects in front of different front offices to address different holes in different deals. I just said different a whole bunch of times.

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

Anyway, there is a way around this, though it’s easier said than done. Dombrowski should be looking to try and acquire a package of players from one team rather than approaching multiple teams to address one need at a time. The logic here is that they can avoid having to potentially throw in an extra prospect in three separate deals to get a trade done, but can rather concentrate on making things work with just one team. This could end up costing a little more in high-end talent, but the Red Sox don’t really have much high-end talent that you worry about dealing, and they aren’t really being connected to the types of players who would really drain the farm.

The other side of this, of course, is that the other theoretical team would have to agree to this kind of deal. This is the most challenging part, because while this scenario is more favorable to a team like the Red Sox, the sellers would prefer to sell their pieces separately. It’s a battle of wills, really, but we’ve said that Dombrowski has to be creative to get as much done as possible before the deadline, and this is one of the ways to do that.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that pretty much every potential seller has a theoretical package in which Boston would be interested. Note that I’m not saying all of these packages are super realistic nor am I going to pretend I know exactly what any of these packages would cost in terms of prospects. That said, here is a look at some combination of players sellers could offer to the Red Sox.

Trade Packages

Team Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4
Team Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4
Rays Nate Eovaldi, SP Wilson Ramos, C Sergio Romo, RP
Blue Jays J.A. Happ, SP Yangercis Solarte, IF Seung-hwan Oh, RP
Twins Fernando Rodney, RP Brian Dozier, 2B Jake Odorizzi, SP
Tigers Michael Fulmer, SP Shane Greene, RP Jose Iglesias, IF
Rangers Cole Hamels, SP Keone Kela, RP Jurickson Profar, IF
Marlins Kyle Barraclough, RP Derek Dietrich, IF Dan Straily, SP
Mets Jeurys Familia, RP Asdrubal Cabrera, IF Zack Wheeler, SP Devin Mesoraco, C
Reds Raisel Iglesias, RP Matt Harvey, SP Scooter Gennett, IF
Padres Brad Hand, RP Kirby Yates, RP Tyson Ross, SP

There are a few things to point out here. For one thing, not every seller is included, and that doesn’t mean they aren’t potential trade partners. The Orioles, for example, are not listed here but the Red Sox are known to be interested in Zach Britton to boost their bullpen. It’s just that Baltimore doesn’t really have any other realistic targets for Boston’s other problem areas. The White Sox present a similar issue, as they could offer Joakim Soria but the best other potential piece would be James Shields. The former Ray has been better this year than in other recent seasons, but I’ll still pass on that one.

Looking at the teams that are on the list, the Mets are the best match as they have a potential target for every positional need. Granted, some are more realistic than others — I don’t anticipate a move for a stater with multiple years of control like Wheeler, though it’s not impossible — but there’s a scenario in which any of the names above could come to Boston. Really, the most realistic package in my mind is Familia and Cabrera, which would certainly boost this roster. Other packages I’m intrigued by are the ones that could be offered by the Rays and the Marlins, though as I’ve said I’m not as high on Barraclough as many others are.

Ultimately, I have no idea what the Red Sox are going to do, because I am neither from the future nor a part of the decision-making process. One thing I am sure of is that Dombrowski is not going to leave any stone unturned. We know he’s casting a wide net in his search for relief pitching, and trading in win-now moves is kind of his sweep spot. This is why he was brought in, and he knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t need advice from me. That said, I’m going to give him a little. If you can, try to work out some sort of package deal with one of these sellers to kill multiple birds with a single stone.