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Why (and why not) each prospect could be traded

You gotta give something up to get something. So who will the Red Sox give up?

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We know the Red Sox are going to make some sort of move before this month’s trade deadline. Or, at least, we think we know. It would be pretty shocking if they decided to stand pat, at least given what we know now. In fact, just last week it was reported that the team was looking to acquire starting pitching help and would prefer to get it done sooner than later. We’ve already looked at potential rotation targets, but to get them the Red Sox obviously have to give something up. With that in mind, let’s take a look at all of the team’s top 30 prospects (excluding those drafted this year as they are not eligible to be traded) according to Sox Prospects. We’ll group them by position, give a sentence or two on why each will be traded and why each will not be dealt. Then, we’ll pick the most likely from each positional group to be traded. I suppose by we I mean me, but sound off in the comments where you disagree.

First Base

Triston Casas

Why he’ll be traded: Casas is the top prospect in the organization and would certainly bring the most back by himself in a trade. If the Red Sox want something close to an elite piece, they’d have to give up Casas.

Why he won’t be traded: Casas is the top prospect in the organization, and the Red Sox aren’t in a position to be trading someone like him.

Josh Ockimey

Why he’ll be traded: Ockimey is a platoon player through and through, and the Red Sox may see Michael Chavis as their future first baseman while not feeling he needs to be platooned.

Why he won’t be traded: Chavis can still be an everyday player while bouncing between first and second with Ockimey getting a good number of starts against righties. He’s about as close to ready as anyone not on the 40-man.

Most Likely to be dealt: Ockimey

Casas is certainly not untouchable — no one in this farm system is truly untouchable — but I don’t see the Red Sox trading him unless it’s an offer they can’t refuse. I don’t anticipate that kind of offer coming their way.


C.J. Chatham

Why he’ll be traded: Chatham is getting close to major-league ready, and while his ceiling isn’t huge he could be a second-division starter at shortstop. If teams see him that way, he’s more valuable to them because the Red Sox already have their starting shortstop.

Why he won’t be traded: Infield depth is always important, as we’ve seen over the last few years. Even if he isn’t a starter Chatham can provide legitimate value as a bench piece with a solid glove up the middle.

C.J. Chatham
Courtesy of Kelly O’Connor;

Ryan Fitzgerald

Why he’ll be traded: He’s the third-ranked prospect in the organization at his position, with one high-upside guy behind him and one close-to-ready player in front of him.

Why he won’t be traded: There’s not a ton of value here and he’s probably a finishing touch on a trade rather than a focal point. He’s a fun story that would be cool to hang on to.

Antoni Flores

Why he’ll be traded: Flores has as much upside as anyone in this system and for a rebuilding team that can afford to wait for big rewards, he is a great target whose value should only grow over the next couple years.

Why he won’t be traded: Dombrowski is more known for trading his prospects close to the height of their value, which is not where Flores is at this point. At least we hope he’s not.

Most Likely to be dealt: Chatham

Third Base

Bobby Dalbec

Why he’ll be traded: He has a ton of value right now, at least relative to the system. He’s swinging a good bat, is close to major-league ready and has a big carrying tool. He’s also blocked at third by Rafael Devers and potentially blocked by Chavis across the diamond.

Why he won’t be traded: There’s not clear-cut plan for his future, but DH could be open next year for Chavis, who could also move over to second to make room for Dalbec. It’s not hard to make room for his bat if you’re motivated.

Danny Diaz

Why he’ll be traded: This is the most log-jammed position in the Red Sox farm system, and even moreso with Cameron Cannon being drafted. Diaz has upside, but he’s also fallen a bit behind other guys at this position, at least based on level in the organization.

Why he won’t be traded: The team made a relatively substantial investment in signing him and his value isn’t quite high enough to justify giving up now.

Brandon Howlett

Why he’ll be traded: He was a relatively late draft pick who gained a ton of helium last year in his professional debut and is turning it on again. This could theoretically be the time to capitalize.

Why he won’t be traded: Howlett has shown big-time talent throughout his short career, and even with the slow start this year it’s explained by being less than a year removed from high school in full-season ball.

Nicholas Northcut

Why he’ll be traded: Northcut was a highly-touted prospect coming out of the draft who still has some of that shine on him. It’s not too hard to envision his value only dropping from here.

Why he won’t be traded: He is a very talented prospect who could develop into one of the organization’s top bats.

Most likely to be dealt: Diaz (I’ve gone back-and-forth between him and Northcut a million times)


Nick Decker

Why he’ll be traded: Theoretically, the Red Sox have zero use for corner outfielders in their organization with Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi hopefully around for the long-haul.

Why he won’t be traded: You don’t make decisions on low-minors guys based on the major-league roster, and Decker should only grow his value in the next couple years.

Jarren Duran

Why he’ll be traded: Duran has rocketed up prospect lists both in the organizaton and league-wide, and there’s probably no better example of potentially trading a guy at peak value. If you like Jackie Bradley Jr. as the long-term center field option, now is the time to trade Duran.

Why he won’t be traded: Bradley may not be the long-term answer in center field, Duran has legitimate tools that should make him a major leaguer and times perfectly to eventually take over for Bradley.

Gilberto Jimenez

Why he’ll be traded: Jimenez is off to a huge start this year after breaking out in a big way last year. Peak value and all that.

Why he won’t be traded: There is plenty of room for value to grow even with his great performance so far, particularly as he’s still learning the art of switch-hitting. He’s also gotten great grades on his makeup, which is generally the type of player teams want to keep around.

Marcus Wilson

Why he’ll be traded: Wilson is kind of stuck in the middle between the Duran-tier and the Jimenez/Decker-tier in terms of level and proximity to the majors. He’s hit well this year in Salem and could have a little value to earn a profit talent-wise from the Blake Swihart trade.

Why he won’t be traded: Wilson has shown real tools since getting sent down to Salem and the team clearly liked something about him to take him back from Arizona.

Most Likely to be dealt: Decker

Starting Pitcher

Brayan Bello

Why he’ll be traded: Bello broke out in the DSL last year, albeit a little older than the typical DSL rookie, and has shown flashes this year. This could be the time to strike while the projection outweighs the performances.

Why he won’t be traded: He’s been bad more often than not this year and teams will view him as a buy-low.

Kutter Crawford

Why he’ll be traded: Crawford is probably destined for the bullpen, but he’s still starting and performing well enough that rebuilding teams could still view him as worthy for a shot to stay in the rotation. That view could change by this time next year.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox could still view him as a potential starter, and even if the potential is small they are not in a position to give away potential rotation pieces from their own organization.

Kyle Hart

Why he’ll be traded: Hart is sort of a poor man’s version of Jalen Beeks from last year as a guy who could help a rebuilding team in the back of the rotation for cheap and long-term in exchange for a more established, but also more expensive and more short-term option.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox can use as much starting pitching depth as possible, and Hart is in Triple-A which means he could help in the majors if things get shaky enough.

Darwinzon Hernandez

Why he’ll be traded: Hernandez is viewed as a future reliever by most, though the Red Sox still insist they’re going to develop him as a starter after this year. If he is really going to start, a rebuilding team is the place to get that chance.

Why he won’t be traded: The command issues are very real, but Hernandez can be a weapon as soon as this month in the major-league bullpen. He also fills the left-handed reliever role the team has been lacking for years.

Tanner Houck

Why he’ll be traded: See Hernandez, Darwinzon

Why he won’t be traded: See Hernandez, Darwinzon. Minus the lefty part.

Jason Groome

Why he’ll be traded: If any prospect could benefit from a change of scenery, it’s Groome. He’s still young and the potential from his draft days are theoretically still there, somewhere.

Why he won’t be traded: Kind of risky trading for a pitcher coming off Tommy John who has barely pitched as a pro three years after his draft, no?

Bryan Mata

Why he’ll be traded: Mata is clearly the team’s best starting pitching prospect (assuming Hernandez and Houck are relievers, at least), but there are health issues and reliever questions as well. This could be the best chance to maximize his value.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox are desperate for a homegrown starter. Mata is probably the best chance.

Alex Scherff

Why he’ll be traded: The Red Sox were excited about Scherff after drafting him, but haven’t been able to get the most out of him. Another team could see themselves as better fit and see him as a solid buy-low.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox probably still see a whole lot of potential and don’t want to buy-low on a guy they think could rocket up the rankings with a few tweaks.

Alex Scherff
Kelly O’Connor;

Chase Shugart

Why he’ll be traded: He’s talented enough to be extremely intriguing to other teams but hasn’t established himself to the extent that he’d be a centerpiece to a deal. Those guys are always targets in trades.

Why he won’t be traded: Shugart hasn’t really gotten a chance to build his value to the point where the Red Sox would want to trade him.

Denyi Reyes

Why he’ll be traded: Reyes has had professional success but the scouting reports don’t back it up. A team who sees value in his minor-league stats could jump on him at a relatively cheap price.

Why he won’t be traded: Reyes has been mostly disappointing this year and would require the other team to keep him on their 40-man.

Thad Ward

Why he’ll be traded: Ward is the pitcher version of Duran. There’s a lot to like about him on the mound, but if you gotta sell prospects you sell high, right?

Why he won’t be traded: Like I said, they gotta hold their potential starters wherever possible.

Most likely to be dealt: Scherff

Relief Pitchers

Durbin Feltman

Why he’ll be traded: The potential for back-end talent is still very much present for Feltman, but the Red Sox need help now. This would be in the mold of the Addison Reed trade a couple years ago.

Why he won’t be traded: Feltman has been a bit better over the last month or so and could still be a potential help this year while being a big part of the bullpen’s future.

Travis Lakins

Why he’ll be traded: Lakins hasn’t really had the type of season most of us have expected, and a team that sees him as a future set-up man with a few tweaks would gladly take him as part of a deal for a present-day setup man.

Why he won’t be traded: Lakins is on the 40-man, has major-league experience and has shown real potential as a late-inning arm as recently as last year.

Joan Martinez

Why he’ll be traded: Martinez has been inconsistent throughout his career, but is having a stellar 2019. This could be a sell-high opportunity for Boston.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox could see some real changes in his game this year and view him as a potential quick mover in 2020.

Mike Shawaryn

Why he’ll be traded: Shawaryn is listed as a reliever here, but a team could see him as a potential starter or follower in an opener situation. The value for that is likely more than the middle reliever the Red Sox will use him as.

Why he won’t be traded: The Red Sox want to get the most out of this year’s roster, and Shawaryn provides legitimate major-league ready depth.

Josh Taylor

Why he’ll be traded: Taylor isn’t really a potential star reliever in the way Hernandez is, but he is a major-league ready lefty who can be cheap and effective help for a rebuilding team to be able to flip in a year or two.

Why he won’t be traded: Taylor is arguably one of the better relivers in the Red Sox bullpen right now.

Most likely to be dealt: Shawaryn