We finally have an answer to one of the biggest questions entering Friday’s MLB trade deadline: Will the Red Sox become sellers?
We got an answer when Boston shipped outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Triple-A infielder Josh Rutledge on Monday afternoon. According to ESPN, the Sox will eat a big chunk of the remaining money on the Hawaiian’s deal ($3.8 million of a remaining $4.9 million).
The news isn’t necessarily the actual trade — nor Victorino or Rutledge figure to have much of a Major League impact (although LAA is clearly hoping for some production). The news is that the Red Sox are willing to sell of some parts.
Don’t go crazy here, Boston’s not going to sacrifice its future. The Sox want to get right back to winning next season, which means hanging onto staples like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, and young studs like Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts. Boston also probably still wants to find out if it can get more out of the freshly signed duo of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval before they give up on their prized possessions from just last offseason.
You might be less excited now, but the Red Sox still have plenty of pieces similar to Victorino that now figure to be on the market, and ready to contribute to new teams. Here’s a look at the names we could hear this week.
Mike Napoli — Naps is forever a legend in Boston for his 2013 postseason performance (mainly because he led the charge by encouraging everyone to fear the beard, but he also played pretty well). He hasn’t done much on the field since, though. This season he’s batting a mere .208 with 11 HR and 35 RBI, certainly not great, but Napoli can help a team this season. The Pirates have already been linked to the first basemen, and although I’ve since been told Pittsburgh is out of the running, it’s still an indictor that Napoli’s name is being discussed. The Sox would likely eat more cash in order to part ways, but it could be worth it to part ways. He’s useless on the current roster.
Daniel Nava — Even after moving Victorino, Boston still has an influx of outfielders. Rusney Castillo has already been called up, and Jackie Bradley Jr. has been as impressive as ever in Triple-A. Nava still doesn’t provide any real value in Boston, not to mention he’s having the worst season of his career — he’s only appeared in 29 games. However, in 2013 Nava batted .303 in 134 games, then hit .270 over 113 games last season. If I’m in contention, I’d consider rolling the dice on a guy to stash on the bench with that capability, especially considering how low his price tag would be given his current struggles (.156 average).
Alejandro De Aza — If you play DFS and you don’t know who this dude is, you should. I’ll admit, I didn’t know his name until he was traded to my hometown team from Baltimore in June. He’s been lighting it up since his arrival, albeit in a brief sample size. In his 40 games as a member of the Red Sox, De Aza is hitting .292, and although he’s been in Boston less than two months, it might be time to consider repackaging him elsewhere. With the type of season he’s having, and a recent boost in value in Boston, he could be a big help for another team’s outfield.
Koji Uehara — We don’t have a need for relief pitchers in DFS, so I’ll be brief. Koji is an awesome closer. The problem is that he’s 40-years old. With the Sox building towards next season, it may be time to cut ties. There’s no guaranteeing he’s the same player next season, and right now he would bring back assets in a trade.
Wade Miley — It’s obviously been a very down year for pitching for the Red Sox, but Miley hasn’t really been a problem. You have to remember he wasn’t projected as a top of the order guy. He’s done his job as a middle of the rotation pitcher, and teams value that. The 28-year old is 8-8 with a 4.33 ERA and 83 Ks. Miley’s on a good contract as well, so it’s really up to Boston if it wants to move him. If the answer is yes, there won’t be an issue finding a taker.
Joe Kelly — Here’s a tough one. If you don’t recall (and it’s easy to forget), this guy predicted he’d win the Cy Young before the season began. Kelly currently sports a 5.94 ERA along with a record of 2-6 over 16 starts. That’s probably not going to cut it, bro. A team would have to be really desperate to ask for Kelly’s services, but if there’s a rotation out there that needs a fifth starter just to help them slide into the postseason (and then toss him in the bullpen), I suppose it’s possible. Kelly was a solid starter in St. Louis and only makes $600,000 this season, so maybe a fresh start would do everyone some good.
Teaser Special: Clay Buchholz — Year after year we see the same thing. Buchholz is one of the best pitchers in the league, but just can’t keep it going for an entire season. He really had it going before injuring his elbow in a start against the Yankees on July 10 (not allowing more than one ER in a start since June 13). Unfortunately, his midseason breakdown has become inevitable, though. Buchholz doesn’t figure to make a start again until early September, but he could maybe work his way back to help a team down the stretch (although he typically doesn’t come back from injury as the same player). It’s a brutal time to sell on Buchholz, but it wouldn’t be impossible.
There’s always next season for Clay. I just got deja vu. Anyway, it’ll be fun to see how the Sox handle this week.
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