Transaction Envy

Because I'm a Red Sox fan, my primary focus during the offseason is the roster moves that impact Boston. Still, I'm a huge baseball fan who plays in multiple fantasy baseball leagues, so I'm compelled to keep an eye on transactions around the league as well. Sometimes another team makes a move, whether that's signing a free agent or making a trade, that makes me laugh. I tell myself that a huge mistake has just been made, and I'm thankful it wasn't Boston making that decision. Other times, I find myself wishing Boston had made a move that another team is finalizing, or question why the Red Sox weren't involved (or more aggressive) on that particular player.

This offseason is no exception, and with a flurry of moves taking place right before a seemingly inevitable lockout becomes official, it seems like a good time to take a look around and see what other moves the Red Sox could (or should) have pursued.

Jon Gray to the Rangers

Last night, news broke that the former Rockies starter was joining Marcus Semien in Arlington. The bottom feeders of the AL West in 2021 have been aggressive in free agency so far this winter, and while I'm glad the Sox aren't the ones who committed to Semien for 7 years, I can't help but feel jealous when I look at the deal they got on Gray. The former 3rd overall pick has actually had some success pitching his home games at Coors Field and facing his fair share of loaded Dodgers lineups. He's only 30 years old and was never attached to any draft pick compensation after Colorado oddly failed to extend him a qualifying offer, yet he got signed for considerably less than some of the starting pitchers who were available at the end of the World Series, including Eduardo Rodriguez. Four years isn't nothing, and his AAV of $14M would make him the 5th highest paid player (if you don't count the $16M that we're still paying David Price to play for the Dodgers) on this current version of the Red Sox roster. Still, I would've been pleased if Bloom had made this deal, and I have to wonder how close of an offer this front office would've been willing to make.

Kevin Gausman to the Blue Jays

Speaking of starting pitchers who signed within the past 24 hours, one of Boston's AL East rivals made a pretty big splash last night. After locking up Jose Berrios for the majority of the next decade on an extension, Toronto took their rotation ambitions to the next level and brought in one of the best options available in free agency. To be honest, the majority of Gausman's career prior to 2020 was a disappointment, but ever since he joined the San Francisco Giants, he has looked the part of a true ace, and after accepting his qualifying offer last winter, he was ineligible to receive another one this time around. Coming off a career year in which he made the All-Star team, received Cy Young (and even some down ballot MVP) votes, and led the rotation of MLB's number 1 team throughout the regular season, I kind of expected him to receive a bigger deal than JDM received back in early 2018, but that's exactly what he got, at least in terms of years and total dollars.

Once again, my initial reaction was a mixture of bitterness and frustration. Many Red Sox fans covet a front end starting pitcher. One would give the rotation a formidable combination of Sale, Eovaldi, and [insert name here] in front of Pivetta and Wacha/Houck/Whitlock. Watching the youngest one on the market go to another team in the same division on a deal that doesn't scream "OVERPAY" is a tough pill to swallow. It feels like the front office has yet to properly replace E-Rod, and now one more feasible option is off the table. Perhaps 5 years was a dealbreaker for Bloom and his staff, considering Gausman doesn't have the longest track record of success. That being said, if he and Berrios live up to their respective salaries, with Hyun Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah, and possibly Nate Pearson following them in the rotation, this unit could be exceptionally strong. Pair that with Bo Bichette, George Springer, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. and tell me I'm crazy for suddenly feeling worried about the Blue Jays.

Adam Frazier gets traded to the Mariners for basically nothing

The other moves listed above were hard to accept, but understandable to some degree. Quite frankly, this one pissed me off. Boston has an opening at second base, and they love flexibility. Adam Frazier made the NL All-Star team while playing for the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates last season, and for a period of time, he was leading the National League in batting average. Plus, he can play the outfield if need be, and it's not like Boston is super deep in that department, either. This is all to say that Adam Frazier would have been an excellent addition to the current Red Sox roster, if not an ideal fit. The fact that another potential contender in AL got him at a massive discount does not sit well with me.

If San Diego (who gave up WAY more to acquire him from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline than they received in this most recent trade) had commanded a haul of several prospects, or managed to squeeze a top prospect away from Jerry Dipoto in this transaction, I could excuse Bloom for watching from the sidelines like the rest of us. However, if you scour the internet, neither LHP Ray Kerr nor OF Corey Rosier appear on any notable prospect rankings. Not MLB Pipeline. Not FanGraphs. These guys aren't even top 30 organizational names. They're longshots to ever even crack a major league roster, much less play any sort of meaningful role. This trade is an absolute coup by the Seattle Mariners, and Chaim Bloom should be looking in the mirror, asking himself "why didn't we make this deal?" We'll never know what or how many names AJ Preller would have requested from Boston, and nobody has a crystal ball when it comes to prospects, but the total value of what's going to the Padres in this trade certainly could have been matched or exceeded by Boston's (or any other team's) farm system. Maybe I'm just higher on Adam Frazier than the average Red Sox fan, but this one really stings from my perspective. At least it wasn't the Yankees pulling off this heist.