The Red Sox have nine games to play until the trade deadline. Let’s think about who would make good trade targets. For the sake of this exercise, I’m making the big assumption that they play well enough vs the Mets, Braves, Giants and Mariners to force Chaim Bloom’s hand into buying at the trade deadline. Whether this really happens is anyone’s guess.
As for what areas to target, as much as the middle infield situation has plagued the Red Sox this year, with Trevor Story set to begin a rehab assignment this weekend, this area is less of a concern. Therefore, I’m focusing on pitching, both starters and relievers, as my main targets. I will also be keeping in mind the fact that the Red Sox have about $5.5 million to spend before going over the luxury tax threshold. Here are my proposed trades ranked by the impact I think they will have on the team.
And before we get started: no I’m not including a trade for Shohei Ohtani which, while fun, wouldn’t make any sense for this team.
1. Cardinals send LHP, Jordan Montgomery and RHP Jordan Hicks to the Red Sox for CF/SS Ceddanne Rafaela and RHP Luis Perales.
Why this trade makes sense: The underachieving Cardinals are ten games back in the division and eight and a half games back of the third wildcard spot. Both Montgomery and Hicks will be free agents next season and the Jordans would make the Red Sox much better. Remember, the Cardinals traded defensive wizard Harrison Bader to the Yankees to get their hands on Montgomery. Making this trade with the Red Sox solidifies that they will have a standout defender in center field moving forward and a potential mid-rotation starter in Luis Perales.
This works for the Red Sox because they badly need help in the rotation and the 30-year-old Montgomery fills that need. He has an impressive 3.14 ERA, a history of success in the AL East, and ranks 16th in the league in fWAR among starting pitchers. Moreover, Hicks is one of the hardest throwing right handed relievers in the game and his stuff would work to solidify the back end of the Red Sox bullpen. Hick’s is currently the closer for the Cards and is averaging 100.7 mph on his fastball. Giving up two high ceiling players like Rafaela and Perales is a lot, but both players come with serious risks as well. The money should be close enough to make it work.
2. White Sox send RHP Lucas Giolito and RHP Kendall Graveman to the Red Sox for 2B Nick Yorke, RHP Wikelman Gonzalez, and IF/OF Kiké Hernandez.
Why this trade makes sense: Just like my previous proposal, this trade gives the Red Sox another starter to fit in towards the top of the rotation, as well as a right handed reliever who can pitch in high-leverage situations. Giolito is making $10.4 mil this year and is a free agent next year. Graveman is 32 years old and is making $8 million both this year and next. For this reason the Red Sox will need to include Hernandez’s expiring deal in the trade to offset Giolito. Yorke provides a long term solution for the White Sox at second base while Gonzalez provides them with a controllable back of the rotation arm. This helps the Red Sox now while giving them a chance to court Giolito ahead of his impending free agency while helping the bullpen in 2024 as well. For the White Sox this helps them clear salary in 2024 while advancing their future build.
3. Tigers send RHP Michael Lorenzen and RHP José Cisnero to the Red Sox for 1B Blaze Jordan and IF Enmanuel Valdez.
Even MICHAEL LORENZEN himself didn’t believe he made the All-Star team pic.twitter.com/k5SXr9KYj0— Calico Joe (@CalicoJoeMLB) July 2, 2023
Why this trade makes sense: Here is the third version of my starter and reliever combo trade. This version is the least expensive because it is also the least impactful. Even though Lorenzen made the All-Star team this year, he is really only a good fourth starter rather than a top of the rotation type. He doesn’t strike out many batters has been succeeding in part by walking fewer hitters than he ever has as a starter. Cisnero is a right-handed reliever who, at 34-years-old, is enjoying his fourth solid season in a row. This year he began using a cutter which has been an effective addition to his fastball/slider combo. Both players are free agents after this year and the money should work.
The Tigers are still short on impact offensive players and the combination of Jordan and Valdez should provide immediate impact. Valdez is ready now and Jordan was just recently promoted to Double-A. Both players are bat first guys who have the ability to grow into impact contributors. I think this deal makes a ton of sense for both teams.
4. Athletics send RHP Paul Blackburn to the Red Sox for 1B Bobby Dalbec and IF Brainer Bonaci.
Why this trade makes sense: Yeah, this deal isn’t very exciting, but hear me out. While Blackburn doesn’t look like an impactful pitcher with his 5.48 ERA, his 4.11 xERA is much more indicative of the type of player he can be. He has been very unlucky, playing in front of a putrid Athletics team and has allowed a .374 BABIP, while league average is closer to .300. In addition, he is 95th percentile in terms of limiting hard contact. Blackburn is only making $1.9 million dollars this year and has two more arbitration years in 2024 and 2025. He would be a very reliable fifth starter for the Red Sox moving forward.
Dalbec is attractive to the A’s because his is not a free agent until 2027, he has mammoth power that can play anywhere, and he is demolishing Triple-A to the tune of 22 home runs and a slash line of .302/.410/.633. With Casas here he has no chance of breaking in to the big league roster. Bonaci is another really interesting prospect who at just 20 years old is really excelling in High-A. He is slashing .291/.352/.497 with nine home runs and six steals. His defense is also good enough to likely stick at shortstop long term.
5. Mets send RHP David Robertson to the Red Sox for IF David Hamilton and IF Eddinson Paulino.
Why this trade makes sense: The Mets being in a position to sell was not on my bingo card for 2023, but here we are. At 38-years-old and a free agent after this year, David Robertson is a perfect trade chip for the struggling Mets. He is pricey at $10 mil, but his prorated salary should fit under the Red Sox luxury tax threshold. He would fit into the late inning high-leverage role immediately for the Red Sox with his 2.13 ERA and his ability to limit walks. Maybe the Mets will need more than this, but I think they will find Hamilton and Paulino attractive. The Mets are tenth in the league in stolen bases and they like to run. Hamilton could provide much needed speed off the bench for a team that wants to contend in 2024. Paulino is just 21 and is struggling to adjust to High-A. He is young for the level, having just turned 21 less than a month ago, and can play all over the infield. His hit tool still has plenty of room to grow. The Mets can get two utility players, one for now, one for later, while giving up just two months of a 38-year-old reliever.
6. Royals send RHP Scott Barlow to the Red Sox for IF Chase Meidroth and C Stephen Scott.
Why this trade makes sense: Since being drafted, all Meidroth has done is hit. As a pro he has a career slash line of .289/.422/.441 and was recently comped to Dustin Pedroia by a Red Sox staffer. Let’s slow down on that a little bit, because while he is undersized at 5’9” and 170 lbs, he doesn’t impact the baseball like Pedroia did. If I thought he had that upside I wouldn’t be suggesting this trade and perhaps it is too much to give up. In addition to Meidroth, I have the Red Sox sending Scott, who is absolutely mashing at Triple-A with a 147 wRC+ while walking more than he strikes out. The problem with Scott is that he may not be able to stick at catcher.
Why would the Red Sox need to give up both Meidroth and Scott to get Barlow? The reason is that, since Barlow took over as the Royals closer in 2021, he has a 2.79 ERA and 213 strikeouts over 183.2 innings pitched. The 30-year-old right hander is making $5.3 mil this year and will enter his last arbitration year in 2024. I doubt Bloom would make this trade.
7. Pirates send LHP Rich Hill to the Red Sox for OF Wilyer Abreu.
Why this trade makes sense: After a surprising start to the year, the Pirates are once again in last place. Rich Hill is 43 and the Pirates still have many long term needs. Abreu is already enjoying success in Triple-A, slashing .242/.362/.465 with 13 home runs. He has a good eye at the plate and could profile as a power and OBP corner outfielder long term. Hill belongs in Massachusetts and would seamlessly fit into the back end of the Red Sox rotation providing much needed stability.
8. Rockies send LHP Brad Hand to the Red Sox for RHP Bryan Mata.
Why this trade makes sense: It doesn’t need to, it’s the Rockies. Yeah, I’m going to take a shot at the hapless any chance I get. Hand is a 33-year-old lefty that few teams were interested in this past offseason, however, by many metrics he is having his best season since 2020. He is only making $2.5 mil this year and has a club option for $7 mil that any team will be sure to decline for 2024. Why is he worth trading Mata for? Mata has struggled to show any real consistency so far and at 24-years-old is already on the 40 man. He doesn’t look like a starter and, despite the easy velocity, he neither achieves the desired results nor stays healthy long enough to develop. He could end up figuring out his health and refine his mechanics enough to consistently find the zone. He could also be unusable at the major league level. This is a perfect gamble for both teams.