clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
2021 Red Sox Media Preview Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Today’s The Day: The State of the Red Sox Pre-Trade Deadline

What will the team look like at the end of the day?

Alright, I’ll admit, I’m writing this at 11:30 Monday night, in the seventh inning of the Sox-Mariners game. With the way other GMs have been making moves, I didn’t know if anything was coming and so I really waited until the last minute to crank this out.

Today is Deadline Day. It (should) be decided that the Red Sox are buyers. Even with cryptic language from Alex Cora and Chaim Bloom about how the team may go about it, they’re not selling off pieces for the sake of a lost season. Frankly, they’ve found so much good this season, even with the bad. So before the team gets pretty much set in stone, let’s take inventory on where the Red Sox are at in every facet on the field:


Infield

The Good

Triston Casas is turning into a superstar in front of our eyes. The month of July has seen Casas break out in the most tremendous of fashions. He leads all of MLB with a 1.487 OPS and a .419 batting average since the All-Star break. His WRC+ of 197 since June 13th is only second to Shohei Ohtani. He’s raking almost every game. He’s playing consistent enough defense at first base. He’s exactly what the Red Sox have needed to compliment Rafael Devers.

Devers hasn’t been a slouch either. Sixth in the Majors in RBI isn’t too shabby. Has his defense regressed from last year? That’s an undoubtable yes. But I’m going to give him some credit, since he’s now the leader of the clubhouse. It’s his big contract that Bloom is choosing to build around. A major reinforcement is coming too! Trevor Story is angling to be activated for the upcoming homestand, which is quite the boost up the middle. He’s hitting over .300 with two dingers on his rehab stint between Portland and Worcester. If he can make a pretty seamless transition, it’d be a big upgrade.

The Bad

Watching the multitudes of replacement-level players the Sox have trotted out to the middle infield while waiting for Story to return has been excruciating. One part of the problem is gone, as Kiké Hernandez is a LA Dodger once again. Yu Chang, Pablo Reyes and Christian Arroyo are...fine. All of them are bench players forced into starting positions. Arroyo, frankly, has disappointed me the most of all of them, someone who’s been a spark plug in his Boston tenure has been error prone as recently as the series in San Francisco, running himself into a double play. All three have also been hurt on and off, leaving it to the likes of Enmanuel Valdez earlier on in the season. Adalberto Mondesi is genuinely nowhere to be found. I’m starting to doubt if he’s even real. For as solid as the corners are for a long time coming, the middle has been a train wreck.

The Rumors

Last week, it was floated that the Red Sox were looking at Paul DeJong from the Cardinals to shore up a middle infield position. If you’re going to add a bat to the lineup, it’s the most logical position to add to, in my opinion. He might not have a ton of pop this season and the underlying batting metrics aren’t great, but a 96th percentile outs above average rating would sorely be some gauze against the gaping wound of the middle infield.

Outfield

The Good

Left to right, Masataka Yoshida is a Rookie of the Year candidate, even if he doesn’t want to be considered for it. Time and again this season, he’s proven all the naysayers about Bloom overpaying for him wrong by being one of the top batting average hitters in all of baseball. His elite strikeout percentage and whiff rate show just how smart Yoshi is and his consistency has translated very well to American baseball. He’s not a total slouch on defense, either, though it’s not his strength. Jarren Duran is also absolutely breaking out in every which way. His speed has always been elite, but he’s FINALLY getting on base enough to use it. Hell, he scored all the way from first on a stolen base and some throwing errors last night.

The Lizard stretches singles into doubles, now. He has 31 at the time of writing and should be in the mid-40s by seasons end, amongst the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mookie Betts and Mike Lowell in the top-25 single season doubles leaders in franchise history.

Alex Verdugo had a scorching hot start, and while he’s cooled with the bat, he’s become a well above average defender. Adam Duvall was the Red Sox’s MVP for the first three weeks of the season, and while the power hasn’t shown up consistently yet, he’s still making vital contributions.

The Bad

Alex Verdugo’s bat is so cold, his batting average dropped from .302 to .271 over the last month. That’s a major yikes. That’s probably the worst thing I have to say about the outfield group, who have more than impressed me for the most part.

The Rumors

The two names we hear flying around are Duvall and Verdugo. Duvall would be a pure rental for another team while Dugey has one more year of team control. Trading Verdugo would send a lot of strange signals. Is it waiving the white flag on the Mookie Betts trade? Is it trust that Duran and Ceddanne Rafaela can handle the workload for the future? Is his value enough right now to get a major boost in any category? Is it worth dealing either of them to add to other positions of weakness? I’m not sure. Duvall would make more sene, but if you’re signaling to your team you’re in it to win it, I’d have a hard time seeing it unless they get a major offer.

Other Batters

The Good

I had to give Justin Turner more due than a little mention in the infielders paragraph. I’ll quote Mike Carlucci from our OTM chat recently: “He’s not quite JD this year but his work at first while Casas adjusted is invaluable”. Routinely getting on base, routinely driving in runs, being a leader in the clubhouse, Turner has been a fantastic addition to the Red Sox lineup. Even with JD Martinez excelling in LA, I can’t say I blame either team for signing each guy. They’ve done exactly as each team has asked.

I also have to give a big nod to Connor Wong. Is he the most electrifying hitter? No, he’s league average. But don’t you DARE think about running on him. An elite pop time has contributed not just to throwing out runners in clutch times, but preventing guys from wanting to run on him. After the Red Sox got run on rampantly in April, it’s become a non-issue the rest of the season and that’s thanks to Wong.

The Bad

The rotating cast on the bench has been strange, and not always effective. Reese McGuire has been out for a month, leading to Jorge Alfaro coming back to do pretty much nothing. David Hamilton feels like what Quinten Berry was in 2013, but nothing more yet. Bobby Dalbec continues to frustrate, as he rakes in the minors but can’t adjust to Major League ball. In fact, he’s spent oodles more time in the minors than with the big club so far.

The Rumors

McGuire is coming back very, very soon, so I’m not worried there. Rob Refsnyder is a lefty killer and here to stay. Whatever depth comes off the bench in any ostensible trade, it can be replaced with what’s in Worcester right now.

Starters

The Good

Brayan Bello, man. Talk about development. He’s been shaky the last two starts, but his season as a whole has shown so much upside as he grows into his eventual role as a front-end starter.

James Paxton, what a surprise! Again, a less consistent run in his last two starts, but he was AL Pitcher of the Month of June and an absolute rock in the rotation.

The Bad

Injuries man, injuries. Chris Sale hurt, AGAIN. Garrett Whitlock hurt, AGAIN. Terrible luck with Tanner Houck taking a line drive to the face. Corey Kluber was awful, and also hurt. For as strong as the two guys in the Good section have been, cobbling together starts from Kutter Crawford and a menagerie of bullpen games are not going to cut it for the rest of the season.

The Rumors

This is where the most smoke is. Bloom came out and said they need more starting pitching. Does he go for a rental or does he swing for the fences? Dan wrote a great piece on how Bloom can bring a long-term ace to the squad, and who the candidates are. If Bloom speaks after the deadline passes and says “we’re acquiring great starting pitching because Sale, Whitlock, Houck and Kluber are all coming back in the next few weeks”, he will have failed at his job in my eyes. Let’s see how today unfolds. Paxton’s name also comes up in trade talks, but reportedly Bloom would have to be “blown away” to trade him. That’s a good sign, for now.

Relievers

The Good

Kenley Jansen is an All-Star closer. I write about this in many a recap, and I wrote about it early in the season, but Jansen has been a breath of fresh air for a consistent closer. Chris Martin is also proving to be very reliable in late-inning situations. On the complete opposite end, Nick Pivetta has become a bullpen ace, piggybacking an opener to absolutely dominate in four or five inning outings. He translated that into a a solid start last night in Seattle.

How about the plethora of left-handed relievers who have been successful this season? Brennan Bernardino has been a diamond in the rough, Chris Murphy has been a workhorse, Joe Jacques is competent. It’s been awesome to see compared to the days when Josh Taylor was the only one Cora could call upon.

The Bad

Not all the lefties have been effective, as Richard Bleier hasn’t worked out. What’s worse is that the inconsistency with other righties doesn’t help. Keep Kaleb Ort, far, far away from this roster; Ryan Brasier is finally gone, but Ort is the next-worst thing. John Schreiber has been hurt and needs time to adjust. Mauricio Llovera hasn’t been impressive in his short tenure. Justin Garza and Jake Faria also should never see the light of day. Josh Winckowski can look stellar one outing and a mess the next. He’s adjusting to a long relief role, but it’s still bitterly frustrating sometimes.

The Rumors

This is where I hear the least, and honestly where Bloom has addressed the most. Lllovera has no more options left, so he’s here to stay. Getting two MLB-ready RHP relief prospects in Nick Robertson and Justin Hagenman give me a little hope once rosters expand in September. There’s still something missing. Another late innings guy, a long reliever to take the burden off this bullpen, you can see they’re taxed. I hope Bloom surprises us today.


So these are your 2023 Boston Red Sox before 6pm on August 1st. How different will they look in 10 hours?

Red Sox 2024 Season Preview

Things We’re Excited About In 2024: Ce-ing More of Ceddanne Rafaela

OTM Open Thread 2/21: It is Wednesday

Red Sox Daily Links

Red Sox News & Links: Former, Current Red Sox Call Out Ownership