The midseason non-waiver trade deadline is only one month away. The Red Sox are a bit of a mess.
They’ve managed to go through a slew of left fielder. So many in fact that Bryce Brentz is starting in left Friday night against the Texas Rangers.
Forget the outfield though, because the real issues for the Red Sox involve pitching. Starting pitching, relief pitching, odds are if you’re a decent major league pitcher, and you’re on a team willing to make trades this summer, then the Red Sox will be inquiring.
Starting pitching? Oh yea the Red Sox need that. Relief pitching? Yes, the Red Sox need that too.
The Red Sox have two, or maybe two-and-a-half starters. They’ve got a very good closer in Craig Kimbrel, but after that the bullpen is an issue. An issue that seems to be getting worse as time goes by.
Even after all the struggles and a three tough losses at home this week, the Red Sox remain just 1.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Red Sox would be in, not only that, but they’d have home field for the single-game wild card playoff.
So the Red Sox are most assuredly going to play the role of “buyers” on the midseason trade market.
Friday morning Jim Bowden of ESPN.com broke news that the Red Sox had expressed interest in acquiring starting pitcher Julio Teheran and relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino from the Atlanta Braves.
If you’re one of those Red Sox fans who became despondent when Dave Dombrowski shipped prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra to the San Diego Padres as part of a package to acquire Craig Kimbrel, stop reading now.
If the Red Sox are serious about adding both Teheran and Vizcaino, then it is going to cost them, and it will cost them big-time.
It might be worth focusing on which top prospects will remain in the Red Sox system as opposed to which ones they’ll have to give-up.
That’s because Teheran and Vizcaino are not typical mid-summer sell-offs. They’re both young, they’re both very talented, and neither one of them is an impeding free agent. Under normal circumstances neither player would be up for negotiation.
The Braves are not “normal circumstances.” They’re not just out of playoff contention this year, they’re actively trying to add as much minor league talent as possible in hopes that they can have the pieces in place to build a dynasty for their fans to watch in their new stadium
For the Red Sox to entertain acquiring these two season and franchise altering players, they’re going to have to waive good-bye to some of their very best prospects.
Andrew Benintendi would almost certainly be gone. According to Bowden, the Red Sox would be forced to part with either Benintendi, or Yoan Moncada and when one considers Moncada’s age, talent, and the amount of money the Red Sox sank into signing him, Benintendi feels like he’d be slightly easier for the team to part ways with.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t be just Benintendi.
Blake Swihart would most likely be gone as well. He’s injured, but it isn’t a career-threatening injury, and young switch-hitting catchers, who can also play left field, are always a valuable commodity.
That’s still not all. The Braves would most likely ask for, and be denied, Anderson Espinoza.
But they may very well be able to pry Michael Kopech, Henry Owens or Travis Lankins away from the Red Sox. The Braves would love to be able to snag Rafael Devers, but odds are if the Red Sox are parting with Benintendi, they’re not giving up Devers as well.
Friday afternoon, Braves general manager John Coppolella tweeted out a series of statements suggesting that it was unlikely the Braves would trade Teheran.
That doesn’t make a deal impossible, it just makes it most likely too steep a cost for most teams. The Red Sox are not most teams.
They’ve still got a strong minor league system and some of the brightest prospects in the entire sport.
The real question is whether or not they’ll be willing to pay the steep price required to add both Teheran and Vizcaino?
Adding both players would instantly transform the Red Sox. They’re both relatively inexpensive and signed through the end of the decade. The Red Sox would have Price and Teheran at the top of their rotation, and Kimbrel and Vizcaino anchoring the bullpen. They’d have that nucleus well beyond just the 2016 season.
Would it be enough for them to overtake the Orioles this season? How far could the advance in the playoffs? Is this team really just two players away from World Series contention?
To pull the trigger on this deal the Red Sox would have to think that they’re pretty close. Once they jettison the package of prospects required to complete this type of deal, there won’t be much left to trade, and what is left will be prospects or young major leaguers the team has zero intention of parting with.
With the team struggling and time ticking down towards the trade deadline, the Red Sox are facing some very tough decisions.