Over the last month or so instead of specific rumors of players coming to Boston (other than the Cole Hamels talk ongoing since last winter) the trade deadline discussion centering around Boston has been are they buyers or sellers? The Red Sox train wreck of a post All Star break road trip (0-7 in Anaheim and Houston) has seemingly answered that question. But has it?
There seems little doubt the Sox are not realistically in the '15 playoff hunt and will be looking to sell off some veteran players. And there seems to be no reason at all to be shopping for the rental names mentioned since last off season ( Cueto, Zimmerman, Samardjiza, Price, etc.). But rather than simply moving some veterans out of the way, Ben Cherington seems to be on the hunt to find talent (likely pitching talent) that can be acquired and controlled for seasons beyond 2015.
The one rental name the Sox reportedly still had interest in was Johnny Cueto from the Reds. The thinking was the Sox would pay the rental price and then have two months to court Cueto to sign and stay in Boston. This method of acquiring Cueto ended today, when he was traded to Kansas City for three young lefty pitchers. If ( a big if) the Sox are willing to pay Cueto the $200M plus this winter, he will now be a free agent without a draft pick loss attached (there is no way KC shells out the $ to keep him from free agency). Something to watch later.
In lieu of any specific rumors as of yet, let's take a look a some players the Sox could trade away.
Mike Napoli: the most likely to go, but does he have any trade value? I think a marginal relief pitching prospect could be had for Nap. If he has a good week this week that will improve the chances of getting something. Tampa Bay is one team listed as shopping for a bat. Would the Sox trade within the division? Well the first three "deadline week" deals in MLB were all intradivision deals: the Kazmir deal, the Aramis Ramirez deal, and the Juan Uribe-Kelly Johnson to Mets. In addition last year the Sox traded Stephen Drew to the Yankees and Andrew Miller to Baltimore.
Shane Victorino: if he can get through this week healthy there may be a market for Vic. It has been reported the Sox were finding more of a market for Victorino than for Napoli. The Mets for one has been mentioned. Again, as with Napoli, this would be a small deal to get marginal prospect and free up roster space
Justin Masterson: Even more unlikely there is any market for Justin either but maybe some team takes a flier on him as a bullpen arm.
Daniel Nava: The Royals have interest in Nava as a lefty bat off the bench.
Criag Breslow, Robbie Ross, Jr., Tommy Layne: Any of all three could be moved, Layne reportedly has the most interest.
Now onto some players who could bring more back in return. Not a blockbuster trade like last July 31, but deals that could bring back an useful arm or two.
Alejandro DeAza: If Boston was contending Alejandro would stay in Boston. But a team that is contending could certainly use his bat and outfield defense.
Koji Uehara: The fact Koji is signed through next year, could be a positive or negative in moving him. But for a team desperate for a closer (Toronto?) you could get a good return. But there are other younger closers on the market: Paplebon, Kimbrel, and maybe Aroldis Chapman.
Junichi Tazawa: Taz would seem like a pitcher to hang onto for 2016 and beyond, but maybe this is time to move him before the overuse he has gotten comes back to haunt him.
Jackie Bradley, Jr.: I think this is the wrong time to trade JBJ instead move some veteran outfielders and give him a chance to play everyday. But in recent days there have been reports of the Giants and Royals having moderate to strong interest in Bradley, Jr.
Wade Miley: Not every pitcher dealt at the deadline is an ace. Miley is signed for two years beyond this at a very reasonable salary. He would fit into the middle to back of any rotation, and the teams that miss out on the big names (or cannot afford them) may come calling for Miley.
Joe Kelly and Allen Craig: the two former Cardinals more likely should have been listed in the not much of a market category(at least Craig), but some NL team that remembers their efforts in St. Louis may be willing to trade for one or both of them.
Brock Holt: this is an idea I floated as a comment to Brandon's recent post. Find a contender with a need at second base ( KC, Angels, Mets) and see if you can get a package of two or three good players for your All Star. Ned Yost, the KC manager, seemed to love Holt when he picked him for the AL All Star team. Holt could play left field while Alex Gordon is out injured and move back to second when Gordon comes back. The Sox have recalled Jemile Weeks now that Dustin Pedroia is back on the DL. In spring training the Sox were grooming Weeks as another all over the field utility guy. Could he be a Holt replacement??
The other type of Red Sox rumor making the rounds, as mentioned above, is that the Sox are searching for younger, controllable pitchers. One name mentioned a lot is All Star Sonny Gray of Oakland. It seems unlikely Gray is available, although Billy Beane has traded younger players unexpectedly before. Even if Beane would deal Gray, it seems that the package would have to include Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts.
Other places the Sox have inquired per reports are the Mets (Zack Wheeler, out until'16 after Tommy John surgery), San Diego( Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross), maybe Seattle (Taijuan Walker), and Cleveland ( Carlos Carrasco, who the Indians will at least on according to multiple reports, and Danny Salazar or Trevor Bauer).
There were two other reports I read that did not mention Boston at all, but I found interesting. The rebuilding Braves have been inquiring all over baseball about finding a young catcher. A seperate report, talking about all of the young pitching the Braves have been stockpiling since last winter, suggested the Braves may be willing to trade 24 year old right hander, Julio Teheran. This year Teheran is 6-5 with a ERA of 4.49 with 102 K's. But last year he was 14-13 with an ERA of 2.89 with 186 strikeouts., and was a NL All Star. Would Boston trade Blake Swihart for Teheran? Would Atlanta make the deal one for one, or would they want an arm or two included? I am in the keep Swihart camp, but acquring this type of pitcher would be awfully tempting.
As the week winds it way towards Friday's deadline RSM will continue to post any updated rumors or deals right here.