Potential Red Sox Blockbusters: Matt Olson + more


Photo Credit: David Zalubowski, AP

There have been numerous rumors about Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox making moves in free agency this off-season, and they’ve expressed interest in impact players like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Carlos Rodon, and Seiya Suzuki. That being said, the "interest kings" have spent sparingly, acquiring cheap pitching depth in Rich Hill, Michael Wacha and James Paxton, who won’t be ready until at least after the All-Star break. With the MLB lockout halting all transactions, this feels like a good time to take a deep dive into a potential big-time trade the Red Sox could make at the end of the league-wide pause.

Red Sox receive: Matt Olson, Sean Menaea, Lou Trivino

Athletics receive: Bobby Dalbec, Jarren Duran, Jeter Downs, Josh Winckowski

This deal offers tremendous appeal for both sides. The Red Sox would get three prominent pieces that would fill big team needs. Olson is well-regarded as a top 5 first basemen around baseball, and his 39 homers, 146 wRC+ and 5 WAR back that up. He offers an elite bat with good opposite field power that could easily produce 25 doubles off the monster. Being under team control through 2024 further increases his already sky-high value. He also offers an enormous upgrade defensively, and would make a huge impact on arguably the worst defensive team in 2021. Menaea has the ability to be a solid #3, posting a 3.91 ERA and 3.66 FIP in 2021. He’s consistently solid when he's healthy and can offer more depth to a rotation that still has some serious question marks. He’s been a good not great type pitcher in his 6 seasons in the bigs, but is consistently reliable and will give you a solid 150-180 innings a year. Lou Trivino is a back end reliever who posted a 3.18 ERA and 3.78 FIP in 2021. He can slide in as a set up man or even work as a closer, filling in for the hole left by Matt Barnes after his 2nd half collapse. Like Menaea, he has had a consistently solid big league career, and a reliever like Trivino would be a great fit for the Red Sox in 2022. A huge blockbuster deal like this would propel the Red Sox to World Series contenders and give them great odds to bring back a world championship to Boston.

It’s hard to envision Chaim Bloom giving up the young pieces I proposed, but he is in a position to win now and should be willing to trade younger assets at their peak. While these young guys have solid potential, they don’t necessarily fit into Bloom’s long term plans. But for the rebuilding A’s, they can be a solid young core to build around as they begin to tear down their roster.

Bobby Dalbec has extreme power, hitting 25 home runs in 2021 and posting a fantastic 149 wRC+ in the 2nd half. He offers an immediate replacement for Olson, and while he is a minus defender, has shown signs of improvement. With Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas soon to be major league ready, Dalbec may not have a long term future with the team. He would likely be the centerpiece of a big time deal like this one.

Jarren Duran is also an elite prospect. With incredible speed and developing power, Duran put up a 132 wRC+ at AAA Worcester, and shot up prospect rankings in 2021. His speed allows him to cover unreal amounts of ground in center field, and his potential is sky high. He would fill yet another need for Oakland, sliding in at center for the hole left by Starling Marte. Duran has the potential to be a top of the order bat and elite defender, and the top 25 prospect holds big time trade value.

The next player involved is probably the biggest question mark of the deal. Jeter Downs was at one point one of the most highly regarded players in the Red Sox system, but took a big step back in 2022 (just about 1 walk per 4 strikeout, yikes). His regression left doubts about his future with the team, which prompted me to add him into this deal. He, like Duran, has the ability to be a leadoff guy with pop, and still is a former top 50 prospect at only 23 years old. He gives the Athletics some infield versatility.

Finally, the least hyped player in this deal is minor league righty Josh Winckowski. A breakout 2021 in AA Portland and AAA Worcester put him on the map, and he gives the Athletics near major league ready pitching depth. Unlikely to contribute much to the major league club in 2022, I don’t think Bloom would have any issues throwing in a guy like Winckowski to get a deal of this caliber done. These 4 young players offer a great opportunity for Billy Beane and the A’s, as they begin their slow fall to the bottom.

This transaction would undoubtedly be a franchise altering move for both sides. Given the quality of prospects given up in blockbusters like the Scherzer/Turner deal, this could potentially be an overpay for the Sox. But in my opinion, the idea of filling 3 team needs with elite options for largely unproven MLB players is more than worth it for the Red Sox, and just the kind of deal a rebuilding team like the Athletics would want to make.