Red Sox trade targets to look out for

A seemingly taxed bullpen and what’s been a thin starting rotation for a while now are problems forcing the Red Sox into considering outside options for their pitching staff. With Alex Cora confirming that Nathan Eovaldi will assume the closer role upon returning from the Injured List, a spot will remain open in the rotation. Red Sox trade targets have generally been bullpen arms the last few years, but that tune might be changing in 2019.

With a largely competitive field of teams still vying for wild card contention, the market is aRed Sox trade targets bit thinner than it has been in recent seasons. That being said, there are indeed arms that are reportedly being shopped, as sellers like the Mets, Blue Jays, and others will be looking to unload and rebuild.

If the plan for the Sox is to add a man in the rotation, there are some options on the market that might come a bit cheaper than relievers with multiple years before free agency. Let’s take a look at who some of these Red Sox trade targets might be.

RHP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

Ken Rosenthal recently reported that the Red Sox were spotted scouting a recent start of Wheeler’s (and Matthew Boyd’s). With the Mets coming undone in another lost season, a move would make sense. While the ERA is an unimpressive 4.69, Wheeler has been able to eat up innings in New York. He has managed to work 6.0+ IP in 15 of his 19 starts, including 7.0+ IP in 9 of those starts. He has worked fewer than five innings just a pair of times, going 4.2 in each. For a Red Sox team starved for an innings eater, a low-cost soon-to-be free agent represents an excellent fit.

LHP Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers

Boyd has put together a career year, posting a very solid 3.87 ERA through 18 starts. He’s been the best pitcher on a poor Tigers team, but has done well in a division that features a number of solid teams like the juggernaut Twins, competitive Indians, and rising White Sox. There are two concerns, however: for one thing, he is still a few years away from free agency. With how much clubs value team control these days, Boyd will come at a high price. Not just that, but after being one of the AL’s best through mid-June, Boyd has regressed a bit. The southpaw has allowed 4 or 5 ER in each of his last 4 starts, after allowing more than 4 ER just twice through his first 14. Boyd would make another quality addition, but the fit might not be as strong.

RHP Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays

Red Sox fans might not jump all over this idea. But Stroman is having an excellent season, has always proven a tough out, and brings a swagger to the mound, which makes him a Red Sox trade target. A swagger that might energize the group. Stroman is one of the league’s best at producing high ground ball rates. In two starts against Boston this season, Stroman has allowed just 1 ER over 11 IP. His 3.18 ERA would automatically be the lowest among fellow Sox starting pitchers. What makes this deal difficult is that Toronto won’t trade a key player to a divisional rival for nothing. Like with Boyd, the Red Sox might be priced out of their comfort zone.

Jung-Ho Kang One Step Closer to MLB Career

jung-ho kang

Hands down the most talented player in the Korean Baseball Organization, shortstop Jung-Ho Kang might just be one step closer to a career in Major League Baseball.
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According to Ken Rosenthal of  Foxsports.com, the Nexen Heros who Kang has played for his entire nine year career posted him on Monday, making him available to the highest bidding American team. From there, the highest bidding MLB team would need to etch out a contract with Kang after they had already paid his former team. The posting fee should not be too high though as it should land somewhere in the $5-$15 million range.

jung-ho kangEven though he is a shortstop, Kang might be better suited to play elsewhere on the diamond. Defense did not appear to be a problem for him in Korea, but he was not exactly a standout and does not have the best range for a shortstop.
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Kang who is 27 years old had an absolutely huge year at the plate this past season. He hit .356 with a .459 OBP in 117 games for the club and smashed 40 home runs in total. Kang will finish his Korean career as a .298 hitter in 902 games with 139 career blasts.

Although these numbers are outstanding and by far the best in the KBO, it is tough to tell how well they will translate in America. The skill level in Korea seems to be a tick behind AAA baseball in America but still better than AA. The pitching is not great in Korea however, as the teams average 5.7 runs per game as opposed to the 4.1 averaged by MLB teams.
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Luckily for Kang, there is a low-supply and high demand for shortstops in the free agency market which may make him a hot commodity. CBS Sports reported on Monday three teams that may be interested in his services which are the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics.
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Seeing how Kang performs will be important for MLB teams because if he plays well in America, it may open the door for even more Korean players in Major League Baseball.