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.

Red Sox Unlikely to Make Major Moves

This past season has been a massive disappointment for most of Red Sox Nation, to the point where one fan was caught on camera barfing from the right field deck during Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox. But the most disappointing thing so far? Probably the fact that the team has yet to even attempt to make a major move this year. At least at this time last year, they were trying to make moves and trying to make the team better.

The return for dealing Jon Lester and John Lackey was a bad return on investment, to sayRed Sox the least, as none of the pieces they ultimately received has made much of an impact, but at least they made some kind of effort last year. This year is a different story, though. The front office hasn’t made much of an effort to even build for the future before the deadline this year, and barring something dramatic, that won’t happen this time around.

Mind you, something dramatic could still happen, but it seems unlikely that the Red Sox make a major move. Rumors are still out there that they could go after Tyson Ross and Craig Kimbrel on the San Diego Padres, but with the deadline this afternoon, it seems like a long shot.

I’m thinking this trade deadline will pass without the team making any major moves, which would be the worst possible outcome for the tea, but the good news is that they at least have a couple pieces to build around in the off-season, namely guys like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, but it would have been nice to see the Red Sox go out and get a veteran starter or bullpen help to make it easier, but the Red Sox would need a miracle at this point for that to happen.

The best we can hope for is that they can get someone in free agency, but that might be too much to expect at the moment.

Red Sox Talking to Padres on Ross, Kimbrel

In a surprising development, rumors are circulating that the Red Sox are engaged in trade talks with the San Diego Padres, who have many interesting players on the block.

The reports initially emanated from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who was informed by a source that Boston is seeking cost-controlled starting pitchers, and that Tyson Ross of San Diego could be a prime target in the waning deadline hours.Red Sox

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later confirmed that report, and added that the Red Sox clearly have the prospects to expand a prospective deal to possibly include Craig Kimbrel, the Padres’ elite closer.

The Yankees have been heavily involved in negotiations for Kimbrel, who they would like to compliment Delin Betances and Andrew Miller in the creation of a super bullpen. New York executives worked through the night trying to hammer out a deal, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

However, Jon Heyman, the chief baseball insider at CBS, has also confirmed the Red Sox’ apparent interest in Kimbrel, who is widely considered one of the two best closers in the game.

At this point, it would appear to make little sense for the Red Sox to add Kimbrel, because there are few things more redundant in baseball than a premier closer on a 45-58 team. However, he is under contract through 2017, with an option for a further year, so Boston may be looking to add him as a cornerstone of a swift reboot. Alternatively, the Red Sox or Padres may have leaked word of Boston’s interest merely to boost the asking price and force the Yankees into a difficult position.

With barely six hours remaining until the deadline passes, we’ll know soon enough what Ben Cherington has in mind. Perhaps he’ll begin rebuilding in dramatic fashion, or perhaps he’ll stir the pot just enough to make his division rivals weaker in the medium-term future.

Red Sox Acquire Ryan Cook from A’s

The Red Sox had a quiet trade deadline not dealing any of the veterans many of us expected them to. Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza were still in the lineup for Friday nights game with the Rays, while many Sox fans feel the Sox need to look elsewhere and give the younger players a shot.

The Sox did make one small move in acquiring A’s pitcher Ryan Cook. Cook, now 28, was the A’s former closer, who was an All-Star in 2012.Ryan Cook It is expected Cook will be activated tomorrow and supply some help in the Red Sox depleted bullpen. Cook was pitching in Triple-A Nashville, but did appear in 4 games with the A’s this season allowing 5 runs. He also was once traded for now teammate Craig Breslow, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cook had a 4.05 ERA in 30 appearances with the Nashville Sounds this season, so the Red Sox seem to be taking a flier on a player they expect to rebound while controlling him for two additional years. Cook does come cheap, as the Sox will either surrender a player to be named later or cash in the deal. Cook spent two stints on the disabled list last season but this year has been working to get his effectiveness back, as he sometimes has trouble find the plate.

Obviously the Red Sox did not seem to find a taker for any bad contracts they have signed in recent years and did not want to deal of of their prospects with many of the top prospects in the lower levels. The Red Sox bowed out of the Cole Hamels sweepstakes after Hamels had listed the Red Sox on his no trade list but I feel if they offered to pick up his option for 2020 he would likely have approved the deal. Tyson Ross’ name was tossed around Friday as well who were looking for a shortstop of the future but apparently Deven Marrero was not the shortstop they were looking for.

The Red Sox can still make moves until August 31 but the player needs to pass through waivers to be dealt. Mike Napoli and his salary would likely pass through waivers but the Pirates who were rumored to have interest in Napoli, acquired Michael Morse on Friday so they seem to have a right handed hitter to platoon as first.

Shane Victorino Traded to Angels

The Red Sox have made their first move of the deadline week, trading Shane Victorino and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge on Monday, according to the Boston Globe.

Josh Rutledge is a career .259 hitter in 266 career games, and previously spent 3 years in Shane VictorinoColorado with the Rockies before coming to the Angels according to the Boston Globe. He’s listed as a 2nd baseman, but plays shortstop and also has limited experience at 3rd base as well (5 career games at 3rd).

This move isn’t bad, considering Victorino’s injury history. While the Red Sox have Brock Holt at 2nd base right now filling in for Dustin Pedroia, a little extra depth never went amiss given Rutledge’s versatility. Plus the move clears space in that overcrowded outfield for the likes of Rusney Castillo, who got called up after the deal and will hit 7th tonight.

Looking back at Shane’s time with Boston, people will remember the injuries of the past couple of years, but they’ll also remember what he did for the Red Sox and the city of Boston during that magical 2013 season. Remember the grand slam in game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, or the 4 RBI game in game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals? While the past couple of years have been filled with injuries for Shane Victorino, he was a solid addition to the roster, at least for that one unforgettable 2013 season.

This move seemed inevitable in a way. With both Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. down in Pawtucket, the Red Sox needed to do something to clear space for them to return, and this was part of that. Both of them should be with the big league ball club. I think it’s about time Castillo got a long, hard look in the major league, after signing that $72 million deal late last summer. Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to have turned a corner, has played better in the minors and needs a better shot to showcase what he can do.

So long, Shane, and thanks for 2013. Hopefully, he gets another shot at the playoffs with LA.

Red Sox Trade Rumors Round-Up

Despite continued troubles on the field, the Red Sox still appear to be in something of a holding pattern at boardroom level, waiting until the last possible moment to declare themselves buyers or sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let’s take a look at the Red Sox trade rumors though, shall we?

In his latest column, famed sportswriter Peter Gammons offered his thoughts on a variety of Red Sox-related topics. Most importantly, he wrote that, while optimistic coming out of Red Soxthe All-Star break, Boston officials have been forced by the team’s five-game losing streak to consider which Major League players could possibly be sold off. However, simultaneously, Gammons suggests that the Red Sox are still grappling with the notion of pursuing either Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels, the premier starting pitchers on the trading block this summer.

Indeed, Rob Bradford of WEEI recently reported that Boston may trade for Cueto mainly to give themselves a running start in the sweepstakes when the Reds’ ace becomes a free agent this winter. I personally don’t see the logic here; the Red Sox are nine games adrift of a guaranteed playoff berth, and expending valuable prospects on a player who will be available for cash alone in four months just isn’t something this front office has ever been inclined to do.

Bradford also says that, from a philosophical viewpoint, the Red Sox covet young, cost-controlled arms. In that case, I struggle to see them being legitimate players in the market for Hamels, who will be 32 going into next season, and will likely cost too much in terms of prospects for Boston to be seriously interested.

Nonetheless, the Red Sox did send high-ranking executive Allard Baird to watch Hamels’ last start, as ESPN’s Gordon Edes and others have reported, which would suggest they still feel compelled to complete due diligence on all available players. However, as Ken Rosenthal conveyed in his latest FOX Sports video, Boston would be just one of several teams chasing Hamels, alongside the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers and possibly Orioles.

Ultimately, the Red Sox have two things making life difficult just now: the standings, and the calendar. Boston is currently a last-place team, perhaps more likely to lose ninety games than overcome the surging Yankees. Furthermore, just ten days remain until the trade deadline, meaning large and crucial decisions will have to be made in a short and panic-filled timeframe. Right now, we can only sit tight and wait for the first domino to fall.