Red Sox sound ready to deal, and here are several potential upgrades to keep in mind
Dave Dombrowski says that teams have shown interest in the Red Sox's farm system
In the service of winning in the near-term, the Red Sox have parted with a lot of young talent in trades since Dave Dombrowski took the helm in August of 2015. The Sox this season are very much looking like World Series contenders, which is of course by design, and as such figure to be active leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline.
The question, though, is whether the Sox have enough prospects still in the fold to get one or more needle-moving trades done. Deals for Craig Kimbrel, Chris Sale, Eduardo Nunez, Drew Pomeranz, Addison Reed, and Tyler Thornburg (among others) have thinned out the ranks, and also bear in mind that the injury to Jay Groome and took out their top two prospects left standing.
All that said, Dombrowski seems confident that can get done what he needs to get done before July 31 comes and goes. Here's the money quote via Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal ...
"I've had enough conversations, just preliminarily, that I know we have players of interest for other clubs," Dombrowski said. "I'm not saying what we will or will not do, but clubs have called and have interest in a lot of our guys, sure."
Dombrowski, who's possibly a future Hall of Famer, has a long history of making bold moves to position his team for a title run. Whether the Sox have enough for such boldness this time around is very much left to question, but it sounds like Dombrowski won't be sitting out the deadline entirely.
So what's a Boston shopping list as we work our way toward that July 31 non-waiver deadline? First and foremost, they'll want to fortify the bullpen behind Kimbrel. If the A's decide to part with Blake Treinen, then he'll be a coveted name. Obviously he'd help the Sox tremendously, but Treinen has leveled up in a big way since the start of the 2017 season and isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season. As such, he figures to command a high price in trade -- one the Sox may not be able to afford.
Really, the Sox are more desperate for help from the left side, and there Zach Britton becomes an intriguing target. Injuries have knocked him off his peak a bit, but that's precisely why the Sox may be able to pay the freight, assuming the Orioles are willing to deal him within the division. Brad Hand of the Padres would also be an ideal fit, and Dombrowski and Pads GM A.J. Preller have a thick recent history of working out deals of this nature. As is the case with Treinen, though, Hand figures to be an expensive get in terms of prospects heading the other way. Boston's ripe to be outbid in that scenario.
Elsewhere, Dustin Pedroia's ongoing injury concerns mean Boston may be in the market for a plug-in at second base, especially since Nunez has struggled pretty badly at the plate this season. The Sox have been linked to DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies. LeMahieu's a solid not great player who's in his walk year, which is why Boston may be able to land him. The question is whether Colorado, who's angling to claw their way back to the playoffs, is willing to move their second baseman and leadoff hitter. A bolder move might be chasing Oakland's Jed Lowrie or Scooter Gennett of the Reds. Again, though, they may cost more than the Boston farm system can afford. Maybe Miami's Starlin Castro is a more reasonable target?
If they seek to upgrade the lineup at other spots, it's probably Jackie Bradley Jr. (56 OPS+ this season coming off a disappointing 2017) who's in the crosshairs. Center fielders aren't necessarily easy to come by, so the Sox could look to shift Andrew Benintendi to center while adding a corner bat. The White Sox's Avisail Garcia makes sense, assuming he gets back from the DL soon and resumes hitting. Detroit's Nick Castellanos seems like another realistic option. If they go the corner route, though, Dombrowski and company likely must be comfortable with defensive downgrades at two positions.
In the end, the Sox probably won't be a part of any true blockbusters this season, but upgrading at the margins -- a sound goal for a team projected to top 100 wins -- figures to be doable. If nothing else, expect the Boston bullpen to have a different look by the time the calendar flips to August.
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