While their record doesn’t look so great in the standings, the Red Sox have shown a lot of promise lately giving them multiple cards to deal this offseason. As Red Sox fans know, this offseason will be a crucial one and the team is in desperate need of adding some quality starting pitching. The name that’s been brought up recently has been David Price. The Sox would need to open up the bank and overpay for him. Some team certainly will do that and, perhaps, the Red Sox will be that team. There are also other options out there such as Jordan Zimmerman and Johnny Cueto although Cueto has not produced in the American League since being traded to Kansas City. In addition to money, the Red Sox also have another advantage over many teams searching for stud pitching. They have young, quality players that other teams desire. They have the chips they need to make a deal and they would not need to revamp their whole roster to do it.
This post will focus on the five Red Sox players who are the most likely to be moved this offseason. This is not because they aren’t wanted in Boston. It would be easy to throw Hanley Ramirez on this list. Instead, it’s because other teams covet these players and the Red Sox covet pitching. They have a surplus of young players in the regular lineup and a need for pitching. It’s easy math and a big deal is not only possible, but it could be likely. As we know, Dave Dombrowski is not afraid to make a deal and he is not known for waiting around for young prospects to develop. Although the Red Sox had a poor year, the reality is that they are not that far away from contending again. The right moves could put them in a very good place in April.
Sonny Gray? Matt Harvey? Chris Sale? The options are there!
For starters, it’s very unlikely that the Red Sox move Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts. Both players are signed long term and are going to be 23 years old entering next season. It would take a lot to move one of them which is why you won’t see them on this list.
Here’s our list of players most likely to be traded this offseason.
#5. Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Anyone who has watched the Red Sox over the past month would say they don’t want to see Bradley go. Going into Wednesday, he was hitting .344 with a .700 slugging percentage over his last 30 games. He has the third best OPS in MLB in the last 30 days. In addition, he’s the best defensive outfielder in baseball. An argument could be made that Jackie Bradley, Jr. was the best player in MLB in the month of August. Here’s the reality though. Mookie Betts is only 23 years old and he plays a very solid centerfield. He’s a better hitter than Bradley. Is it possible that they Red Sox keep both players and move Mookie to right field? Absolutely. Here’s hoping it happens. However, the more Bradley hits, the more of a trade commodity he becomes to a team who needs to trade for young talent in the outfield.
#4. Brock Holt
Although Holt made the All Star Team this year, the reality is that he is not an All Star caliber player. Great story, but it was a big time stretch. Holt has put up solid numbers with a .280 average and a .349 OBP. He lacks power, but he puts the bat on the ball and finds the holes. His greatest value is his ability to play any position on the field. He’s a guy most teams could start and, if a player got hurt, Holt could move to any position. Brock Holt certainly is not going to get you a stud pitcher in a one for one trade. However, in a package deal with other prospects, he could add a lot of value to any team.
#3. Eduardo Rodriguez
Rodriguez is another player the Red Sox don’t want to give up. They have to give up something to get something. If they’re going to trade for an ace, a good return for the team they’re trading with could include Rodriguez. He has posted solid numbers in his rookie season with an 8-5 record and a 4.25 ERA. At just 22 years old, he could be an elite pitcher. The question is does Dombrowski think he will be? In addition, the Red Sox have Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Joe Kelly all signed for next year. All three players would be tough to move. Kelly is an option, but he would need to prove himself in September as he did in August. Clay Buchholz also has an option. It will likely be picked up. That’s four pitchers likely on the roster. If they add another pitcher to lead the rotation, someone may have to go.
#2. Henry Owens
This one probably seems obvious after his recent performance against the Yankees. Owens has been up and down since his mid-season call up. Again, this would likely be in a package deal as it would take more than Owens to bring in a #1. Owens is not going to bring in as much as Rodriguez, but if it’s even close, he’ll likely be the player that gets moved.
#1. Blake Swihart
Swihart has played very well in his rookie season. He has posted a .279 average at age 23 and he has made significant strides defensively. Outside of Xander Bogaerts, he probably has the most trade value of any Red Sox player. So why would the Red Sox move Swihart? The answer is simple. Young catching is not easy to find in MLB and the Red Sox have two young catchers who can start at the big league level. Christian Vazquez is elite defensively. If the Red Sox are going to build on pitching, Vazquez is the guy they’ll want behind the plate. Swihart is the player most likely to be traded this offseason and, if he does, it will be for an ace pitcher. It would be a huge win for the Red Sox.
This will be an interesting offseason for sure. Dombrowski has already proven he is not afraid to make adjustments. He will. This year, it sure makes a lot of sense.