Trade Bait is Thin for Red Sox

A lot has been made of the deals that Theo Epstein made over his ten years as the GM of the Boston Red Sox.  He made key deals that helped the team win two World Series and who could forget that he went out and traded for Adrian Gonzalez last winter.

But Epstein is no longer occupying an office on Yawkey Way.  Rather all that is left are the remmnants of his plethora of trades during his tenure. 

Now Ben Cherington has the dubious task of trying to reassemble a club that could quite possibly contend for the AL East next season.  But if the new GM of the Red Sox wants to improve his club via the trade market, he has his work cut out for him.  See the Red Sox don’t exactly have a lot of trade bait that could be used in luring in some high caliber players.

Kevin Youkilis is one name that is getting a lot of attention lately and quite possibly could be shipped out of Boston.  His return will be substantial, but not as high as it may have been a year or two ago when Youkilis was healthy.  Two injury riddled seasons has left many wondering if Youkilis will continue to break down, making some skeptical of trading for him. 

Outfielders Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish are two names that could be tied to trades, with Reddick being the likely of the two.  Kalish is pegged as the potential future right fielder, but the addition of a healthy, fulltime Grady Sizemore could spell the end of Kalish’s time in the Boston organization. 

Regardless of what happens in right field, Reddick and/or Kalish would not be enough to lure the type of talent that Cherington will be after.  Even if you package the two together it won’t be enough, not with Reddick showing that he can’t find the plate discipline he needs to be a threat at the plate during every at bat.  With Kalish coming off major shoulder surgery, he will once again have to prove that he is not only healthy enough, but still able to compete at the elite level. 

Then there is Jed Lowrie and the blond locks of inconsistent health.  Lowrie has shown he has the ability to play at the major league level and even be considered a key piece in the offense.  But consistent health issues have forced him to miss substantial playing time, resulting in a lowered trade value.  

Lars Anderson will likely be traded at some point in the next year or two but he has also seen his stock diminish with the acquisition of Gonzalez.  Teams know the Sox will be eager to move the first base prospect and will likely give him up for little in return.  He hasn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball in AAA the past two seasons either. 

When you look at the top prospects in the organization, it’s hard to imagine that Cherington would give up any of them as part of a deal this winter.  Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway are easily the top few minor leaguers the Sox have in their system.  But all three need more time in Pawtucket to hone their skills before being called up in September of 2012.  Either one of the ‘kids’ packaged with a Youkilis or Reddick and Lowrie, may be enough to garner a big name player.  But is it worth it?  Is it worth it to once again continue to deplete the farm system?  Stripping it down to the bare bones so when the bench players fall to injury there is no one capable of being called up to replace them let alone having some future promise. 

Theo did wonderful things in Boston, there is no denying that.  But was he a little too aggressive with some of his deals that saw so many prospects get sent the other way that now the club has little options to work with?  It appears that may be the case. 

Ben Cherington said in his introductory press conference that he doesn’t play guitar or own a gorilla suit.  Did anyone think to ask him if he practiced magic?  He may need it to get some deals done. 

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Tags: Adrian Gonzalez Ben Cherington Boston Red Sox Grady Sizemore Jed Lowrie Jose Iglesias Josh Reddick Kevin Youkilis Lars Anderson Ryan Kalish Ryan Lavarnway Theo Epstein Will Middlebrooks

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