The timing of this season still feels off to me with the draft coming so late in the year now, but we are just 10 days away from the trade deadline. With the 31st falling on the weekend this year, the trade deadline is on July 30 for the 2021 season. And, in case you’ve forgotten, the league did away with the waiver trade period in August, so this is the last chance for contending teams to add some depth to their roster. In a season like this where injuries are up, adding that depth on the margins may be even more important.
We’re going to spend a lot of time over the next 10 days looking at what type of depth the Red Sox could be looking for, and who matches up well for a trade. But to start the conversation, I think it makes sense to first look at who they have in the organization to trade. The Red Sox farm system is on the upswing, and as I look at the landscape of their organization there are a few different groups that I would look at as prime pools from which to deal. We’ll go through the main ones below.
40-man roster players
One of the main themes I think we’ll see from the Red Sox in any trades they make this season will be players already on the 40-man being thrown into the mix. This is something that we talked about just a couple of weeks ago, and it still stands true. Jarren Duran has been added to the 40-man already, but Chris Sale will need to be at some point in the next few weeks as well, not to mention any player they do trade for. There’s a glut on the roster right now, and the deadline will give them a chance to clear that out.
As we mentioned in that linked piece above, prospects who are a little ways off the roster could be dangled out in trade talks, with players like Jeisson Rosario, Marcus Wilson, Ronaldo Hernández, and Hudson Potts perhaps being among those who could be considered. I would also say this group includes players we have seen in the majors, like Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis, Franchy Cordero, and Jonathan Araúz. None of those players have the stock right now to lead a package for anything too impactful, but all could be solid second, third, or fourth pieces to throw in, depending on what’s coming back. They also appear to be squeezed out of the picture for the immediate future.
Rule 5 players
The 40-man crunch is something that could start to pose a problem as soon as this month, but a little bit further down the line it will come up again with Rule 5 protections coming in the offseason. Boston had to add a bunch of players this past winter, and it looks like it could be another busy season for them this year. This is the kind of situation the Padres were facing last summer, which is how the Red Sox were able to get both Rosario and Potts from them for Mitch Moreland. It looked like a steal at the time, but San Diego knew they’d have to stretch to get them on the 40-man in the offseason, so they got immediate help rather than having to make a tough decision over the winter.
The Red Sox could look to make similar decisions this winter. Players who could at least be borderline considerations here include Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Pedro Castellanos, Jeter Downs Durbin Feltman, Frank German, Devlin Granberg, Gilberto Jimenez, Joan Martinez, Kaleb Ort, Tyreque Reed, Alex Scherff, and Josh Winckowski. (Hat tip to Sox Prospects.) Not all of these players will be traded, nor will all be added to the 40-man in the winter, nor would all be selected in the draft if left unprotected. But that’s a lot of players to at least consider, and if there are sellers out there who expect to have room on their roster this winter, they could do exactly what Chaim Bloom did last summer and grab young talent on a discount.
In terms of positional groups, the Red Sox seem most well set across the organization in the outfield, and specifically in center field. They just called up Jarren Duran, who they hope will be able to hold down that spot for the foreseeable future. He is presumably not available in talks, but there are others at his position down the ladder who could be seen as a potential target. Those names would include Wilson and Rosario on the 40-man, and also Jimenez as potentially one of the highest-ranked prospects they could look to deal.
But it’s not even just those relatively big names. On the international market, the Red Sox have inked center fielders to their biggest bonus of that respective signing period in each of the last three seasons, adding Eduardo Lopez, Juan Chacon and Miguel Bleis. It’s not to the point where they don’t have playing time to give out for all of these players, but if you’re looking for a position group that you’d be comfortable dealing from, it’s hard to find a deeper one in this system than center field.
Pop up prospects
It goes without saying that teams are too smart to just scout the statline, so players who have come out of the gates hot this season aren’t just automatically going to become big trade chips. That said, they do often make intriguing cases as secondary pieces in a bigger deal. And the Red Sox have a whole lot of players who qualify here. Many also happen to find themselves in the Rule 5 conversation above as well, but guys like Bello, Crawford, Granberg, and Reed immediately stand out in the upper levels. You could also look at players like Johan Mieses, Joe Davis, Tyler Dearden, and Joey Meneses on the position player side as well as players like Brandon Walter, Raynel Espinal and Denyi Reyes, among others, on the mound.