Daniel Nava’s value was at an all-time high coming off a 2013 campaign in which he slashed an impressive .303/.385/.445 line. His offensive production offset his mediocre defense, and the switch-hitting journeyman had finally found his place in the majors.
From his emotional clutch home run in the first home game after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing, to his hard-working, cordial personality, you couldn’t help not rooting for the guy.
But Nava’s unsustainable .352 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), poor defense, and shaky major and minor-league track record, should have caused the front office some concern.
It’s highly unlikely that one of the most statistical-driven organizations was not aware of the above. It seems, rather, the Boston Red Sox kept him to appease the fans.
Every organization struggles balancing putting the best team possible on the field (now, and for the future) and keeping the fans content. So it’s understandable Boston did not seem slightly interested in exploring a trade for Nava in the offseason.
However, at this juncture Nava has been a major disappointment. In 132 plate appearances this year, he’s amassed a weak .205/.295/.299 clip.
It got to the point where they had no choice but to send him down to Pawtucket. Injuries allowed him to return to the bigs late-May and it’s irrefutable he’s been better since.
Though he’s just 3-13 the last week, his play of late has rejuvenated his trade value. Boston missed out big-time by not dealing him in the winter, and it will be foolish if they let this slip yet again.
It is still uncertain whether Boston, at 34-41, will be buyers or seller at the deadline. But right now they are playing like sellers and if this persists, they should heavily shop the outfielder/first basemen.
Cherington could probably reel in a mid-level prospect for Nava’s services — maybe more considering he’s under arbitration until after the 2017 season.
Anticipate a return parallel to what the New York Mets received from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Marlon Byrd and John Buck last year. In return, they acquired highly touted relief prospect Vic Black. Black, age 26, has a 1.35 ERA this year with the club.
This may not seem like much — keep in mind this is pure speculation — but with Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino, and Mookie Betts knocking on the door, Boston could trade a “surplus” to add a young arm or bat.
Some will argue Victorino, not Nava, should be the one Boston should think about trading. However, Shane is under contract through next year and has a much better track record of success.
A combination of veterans and a lot of prospects expected in 2015, should forge them in to a contender. Keeping Victorino gives them a higher probability of prosperity next year.
Boston missed on many opportunities last year by not selling high on certain players (Mike Carp, Jake Peavy, Nava), and it’s cost them. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes and trade Nava.