The trade deadline is tomorrow and I have many thoughts, which echo a lot of thoughts out there and, in many cases, are the same thoughts of my OTM coworkers and/or the consensus, and many of which I’ve shared on the OTM podcast. But still, here they are:
The Yankees traded for Joey Gallo yesterday, which is pretty funny because the Yankees are not good. It’s less funny than the mammoth homers he will hit to right field in Yankee Stadium, but homers for a bum team still only help bum teams. The Red Sox are not a bum team. So what should they do?
Well, I’ve answered this question before, but the short answer is they should do whatever a non-bum team does when they’re competing for a title. The longer answer is they should trade for a first baseman and a reliever, and especially now that Gallo’s not available they should target a first baseman with the same name as a classic rock guitarist, one who worked with Rob Thomas on the hit single “Smooth” from back in the day. Which pretty much narrows it down to Carlos Santana, who is as professional a hitter as we’ve got in this league.
What should the Sox trade, though? I say Bobby Dalbec and some prospects. Santana is signed through the end of next year, which lead nicely to the Triston Casas era. Even if Casas comes up next year at some point as a bench bat, we’ve seen struggles from virtually all Triple-A hitters when promoted to the majors this year, no matter their pedigree. Even Jarren Duran has needed time to adjust, perish the thought and all. And yes, from this perspective one could look at Dalbec and ask if he just needs time to adjust, and he might, but that’s time the Sox can ill afford in a playoff race at a premium offensive position. Duran, as he showed yesterday, can add a lot to the game with his legs. Dalbec’s bat has to play for him to work, and I’m not confident it’s going to do so this season.
As for the idea of trading for a top-of-the-line pitcher, I don’t see it, but I’d love to be surprised. The Chaim Bloom Red Sox love their internal options, and Chris Sale is the best internal or external option available except for Max Scherzer, a no-doubt Hall of Famer. (If Sale doesn’t make it to Cooperstown, it will be because of injuries, not the lack of relative skill. He’s, uh, got that.) Since he is free and all, the bird-in-hand approach should work here.
Of course there’s also the relievers market, into which I expect the Sox to dip a toe or two. Every contending team should be bolstering their bullpen at this time of year, and the Sox are no exception, no matter how good their bullpen is or how much better it should get when its star pitcher (Sale) forces a starter into it.
The one thing that’s true now, after Gallo, and after the Rays traded for Nelson Cruz, the thing that might have not been true before, is I expect the Sox to do something, for sure, and not merely a half-measure. The window is wide open and when it is you climb through it, though actually you might not want to think about that analogy too much. Why are we climbing through windows? Why can’t we use the door? Maybe because we thought the door was closed to us this year? Whatever the analogy, it’s time to strike. If the bums can do it, so can we.