The Boston Red Sox are one of the better teams in baseball, but they seem to be losing ground in the close AL East race. Though it’s still only June, it’s never too early to begin to speculate on trade ideas and partners for late July.
Boston has a few holes that need to be taken care of on the team if they are going to be a true contender for a World Series title this season. The bullpen has been sub par as of late and the catchers have been atrocious all season long. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s defense should no longer be enough to keep him in the lineup, and is Dustin Pedroia ever really going to return at full health?
For a team with one of the better records in the game, the Red Sox sure do have a lot of question marks. The following are five trades that would improve the Red Sox in the short term, to help them win a World Series this October.
1A’s 2B Jed Lowrie
Dustin Pedroia has barely played at all in 2018, and there’s no telling when he’ll be back at all. The aging second baseman is coming to the end of his career sadly. The Red Sox had hoped that Eduardo Nunez would be able to fill in when needed this year, but he’s been nothing more than a disappointment. He’s hitting .247 with just 16 RBI on the year, and he’s not reliable enough on the base paths.
While Brock Holt has been a surprise at the plate, he’s truly more of a utility player. He’s not someone that should be looked at to play second base every day. That’s why Boston should look to bring Jed Lowrie back to his roots. The current Oakland second baseman is 34 as well, but he’s remained healthy. In 72 games so far, he’s hitting .285 with 47 RBI and 11 home runs. He would help minimize the holes in the lineup offensively while providing a solid glove in the field.
The A’s may be in contention now, but by the time the deadline rolls around that should be a different story. They’ll be sellers, and Boston should take advantage of it.
2Padres RP Brad Hand
If you google “Red Sox trade rumors” one of the first names you’ll see is Brad Hand. Boston desperately needs bullpen help, and Hand will be available, but the asking price may be too much. San Diego may be looking for a young third baseman, like Rafael Devers.
Devers started the season off slowly and has had quite a few errors in the field, but he’s gotten better in June and is viewed as a long-term player in Boston. Dave Dombrowski doesn’t want to move him at all.
Perhaps there’s another way for Dombrowski to make this deal, and I’m sure he’ll explore every option. In 2018 Brad Hand has just a 2.43 ERA and has a SO/BB ratio of 54/14. He would be the perfect pitcher to come in behind Joe Kelly and in front of closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston will have to offer a good deal though, because the Yankees have also shown interest in Hand.
3Orioles RP Brad Brach
Yep, the Red Sox need bullpen help. They could even get some from within their own division. The Baltimore Orioles are the worst team in baseball and they will likely blow things up in July. If Brad Brach is available, Boston will have to take a long hard look at him.
Of course, the advantage with Brach is that he’s already familiar with the AL East. He has a 3.49 ERA this season on a terrible ball club, but a change of scenery and pitching with a lead could be just what he needs to succeed.
4Marlins C J.T. Realmuto and 2B Starlin Castro
This trade would be tough. The Red Sox would love to have Realmuto, but the Marlins may ask a team to take on Starlin Castro’s contract as well. It’s a lot of money, but Boston would be able to find a way to utilize both players.
J.T. Realmuto may be the best catcher in the league right now, as he has the best caught stealing percentage, is the best hitting catcher, and has unreal speed. Not only can he excel behind the plate, but he’s a factor for the offense. Christian Vazquez may still be the long-term catcher for this team, but they can surely improve upon Sandy Leon who would have to be let go. Realmuto has a .297 batting average, 9 home runs, and 27 RBI. The Red Sox would quickly move from the worst hitting team at the catcher position to the best with this deal.
Starlin Castro is a bit of a different story. His contract is not really worth what his play suggests right now, but he’d at least be an improvement over Eduardo Nunez. Castro is batting .272 with 27 RBI this season.
5Reds RP Amir Garrett
Amir Garrett was awful in 2017, but he may have truly figured things out to succeed in the majors. This year, his ERA is down to 2.56 (7.39 a year ago), with 44 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched. He would be able to help the Red Sox bullpen for an inning or two every few nights, and that slight improvement could be enough in a tight AL East race.
The truth is, the Boston Red Sox have to make at least one big deal to make a run at the World Series. Their first goal should be to win the division, because no one wants to play a Wild Card game that puts the whole season on a single game. The Yankees are surging and Boston has to keep up. Dave Dombrowski, you’re up my friend.