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Who Will The Red Sox Target Next?

A look behind the scenes at Chaim Bloom’s private phone calls as he desperately searches for a double-play combination.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Wow, what a disaster. On the 13th of January, with every relevant free agent having been signed, the Red Sox and their $217 million payroll are without a starting second baseman or shortstop. Not only that, but their only player with any meaningful experience starting at either position in their entire career is their starting center fielder. There is no player on the 40-man roster who is ready to come up and contribute in 2023. The combination of low-balling Xander Bogaerts last offseason, bringing in a replacement whose throwing arm was deteriorating in front of everyone’s eyes before the contract was even signed, and building up absolutely no depth at either position on the 40-man roster has left the team with an abomination up the middle. Karma is a bitch.

However, I am here today not to be part of the problem, but part of the solution, by scouring the rosters of all 30 Major League teams to find ways to get creative on the trade market. By no means am I recommending all — or any — of these moves. Perhaps signing Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Jose Iglesias at second base is the best move, and I won’t argue with you. According to @redsoxpayroll on Twitter, the Red Sox current estimated payroll of $216.8M is $16.2M short of the Competitive Balance Tax of $233M. It’s hard to fathom the Red Sox blowing past the CBT for the second straight year to support this roster. The pickings are slim, and the salaries must be low.

Today, I have put on my Chaim Bloom hat, drank eight beers, and I’m ready to make some phone calls to talk trade. Please join me.

Tier 1: The Interesting But Probably Unattainable Center Fielders (with Enrique Hernandez moving to the infield)

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Bryan Reynolds, PIT, Contract: 3 ARB years remain ($6.75M in ‘23), Gms: CF 127, LF 1, Outs Above Average: Minus-7, Slash Line: .262/.345/.461

Jarred Kelenic, SEA, Contract: Pre-ARB, Gms: CF 24, RF 24, LF 3, OAA: +1, Slash: .141/.221/.313

Alek Thomas, ARI, Contract: Pre-ARB, Gms: CF 112, OAA: +7, Slash: .231/.275/.344

“Hi Ben Cherington, this is Chaim Bloom.” (muffled laughter) “Not sure what is so funny. Anyways, I was checking in on Bryan Reynolds, I know he’s a hot name on the trade market! … You want Triston? Or Marcelo? Or Brayan? AND Miguel Bleis? Well, no they are untouchable.” (click) “Hello?”

“Hi Jerry Dipoto, I wanted to check on Jarred Kelenic. I noticed that he hit .141 last year and struck out 34% of the time, would you be interested in selling low for…” (click) “Hello??”

“Hi Mike Hazen, I see that even after trading Daulton Varsho, you still have a log jam in your outfield. I was reading the illustrious Over the Monster website recently where Bob Osgood suggested that we would make a good trade fit.” (muffled) “Well, yes, I know Osgood’s a blowhard but might Alek Thomas be available? Okay, what about Ketel Marte… Hello???”

Tier 2: The Interesting And Attainable Middle Infielders

Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Five Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Ha-Seong Kim, SD, Contract: 3y/$21M, Gms: SS 131, 3B 24, Outs Above Average: +8, Slash: .251/.325/.383

“Hi AJ Preller, I was told that you love to trade and have a plethora of shortstops for whatever reason. Mr. Kim and his three year deal and quality defense would be a nice bridge to Marcelo Mayer in a couple of years. Plus, Masatka Yoshida said he doesn’t want to lead-off so we need someone else with plate discipline and speed to do that for us.”

Tony Kemp, OAK, Contract: 1y/$3.25M, Gms: 2B 89, LF 65, OAA: +3 (+5 2B, -2 LF), Slash: .235/.307/.334

“Hey Billy Beane, long time fan! Looking at your Athletics’ contention window, it seems like that will start around the year 2032. Might Tony Kemp be available to be our leadoff man? Yes, yes I have heard that you love walks, that .330 career OBP is fun. Is he related to Shawn Kemp by any chance? I know he had quite a few kids.”

Joey Wendle, MIA, Contract: 1 ARB year remains (est: $5.4M ’23), Gms: 3B 43, SS 34, 2B 33, OAA: +3 (+3 SS, +2 2B, -2 3B), Slash: .257/.297/.360

Jon Berti, MIA, Contract: 3 ARB years remain (est. $2.39M ‘23), Gms: 2B 47, 3B 37, LF 16, SS 10, CF 3, OAA: +4 (1 2B, 3 3B), Slash: .240/.324/.338

“Kim Ng, hope all is well. I know I’ve called the last 45 days straight about your rotation, but we would love to add an infielder as well. Joey Wendle’s versatility is great and all, but I really like that Jon Berti guy. His 41 steals in 102 games won me my fantasy league last year!”

Jorge Mateo, BAL, Contract: 3 ARB years remain (est. $1.27M ’23), Gms: SS 149, OAA: +11, Slash: .221/.267/.379

“Good morning, Mike Elias. It’s C.B. I know we’re in the same division and I don’t call often, but you and I both know that we’re not threats this year. That Mateo guy seems to be heading to the bench in 2023 with all your stud prospects coming up. You don’t want that .267 OBP clogging up your order anyways. We’d be happy to roll the dice on a repeat of those 13 home runs and 35 steals from last year, and man can he pick it at short. Please, I’m desperate.”

Paul Dejong, STL, Contract: $9M (’23), $12.5 M or $2M Buyout (’24), Gms: SS 75, 2B 1, OAA: +5, Slash: .157/.245/.286

“Mr. Mozeliak, Chaim here. It seems like Paul Dejong needs a change of scenery. That .182 average the last two years is hideous but he has a decent glove. You’ll literally give him away? Great!”

The Attainable Yet Uninteresting:

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Nicky Lopez, KCR, Contract: 3 ARB years remain, (est. $3.2M ’23), Gms: 2B 68, SS 52, 3B 30, OAA: +14, Slash: .227/.281/.273

Adalberto Mondesi, KCR, Contract: 1 yr/$3.05M, Gms: SS 15, OAA: N/A, Slash: .140/.204/.140

Michael A. Taylor, KCR, Contract: 1 yr/$4.5M, Gms: CF 123, OAA: +5, Slash: .254/.313/.357

“Good day, sir J.J. Picollo. Do you have anyone on your roster with defense, speed, and absolutely no pop? Oh, you have three?”

Orlando Arcia, ATL, Contract: 1y/$1.5M in ‘23, Club Opt. for 2M in ‘24, Gms: 2B 50, LF 6, 3B 4, SS 1, Outs Above Average: Minus-3, Slash: .244/.316/.416

“Hey Anthopoulos. That Arcia guy who hit the walk-off homer against us last May, is he one of the ten guys you’ve locked up for the next decade? No? We’ll take him.”

Dylan Moore, SEA, Contract: 2 ARB years remain, est $1.94M in ’23, Gms: RF 39, SS 26, LF 18, 2B 12, 1B 8, CF 7, 3B 2, OAA: +1, Slash: .224/.368/.385

“Maybe I can talk Cora into playing Dylan Moore at all nine positions in the same game. We could promote it and everything. Yeah, Fenway will be packed that night! Dipoto already hung up on me once today, I’ll give it an hour.”

Kyle Farmer, MIN, Contract: 2 ARB years remain, SS 98, 3B 36, 1B 2, OAA: Minus-2, Slash: .255/.315/.386

“Thad Levine, what’s happening? I used to know a Thad. Actually, I would’ve traded him to you for Kyle Farmer, but he just went 1.1 in the Rule 5 draft. There’s no way you thought Correa was coming back when you traded for Farmer, give it here. Those 14 home runs will finish second on our team this year. Warm Regards!”

There you have it, an ugly scene out there on the trade market for the Red Sox with absolutely no leverage. The GMs were a bit harsh, but, in fairness, a text message probably would’ve sufficed.