After signing Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a record-setting 7 year/$72.5M contract, the Red Sox find themselves with a glut of outfielders. Between Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Mookie Betts, Daniel Nava, and Brock Holt, the Red Sox have six outfielders that should be playing regularly (and seven if you count Jackie Bradley Jr.). Over the offseason, and perhaps even by the August 31 waiver trade deadline, it’s likely that the Red Sox will attempt to lower that surplus in the outfield and Nava could be one of the first to go.
On the whole, Nava’s season has been a disappointing follow-up to his breakout 2013 campaign; through 79 games this season, he is slashing only .260/.337/.335 and was even demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after a horrendous start to the season. Since being recalled, however, Nava has significantly improved, as he has hit .316/.372/.378 over the last three months. His power has all but disappeared with his isolated power has dropping from .146 and .142 in 2012 and 2013, respectively, to a mere .075 this season. Still, he has been reaching base at as good a rate as ever since his promotion and has been solid in a platoon role, hitting .284 against right-handers and only .140 against southpaws.
Nava has garnered a fair amount of interest since being placed on waivers by the Red Sox, with the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals the two most prominent contenders for his services. The Red Sox would not likely acquire much in return for Nava but, with the current logjam in the outfield, any extra space on the 25-man roster would be a bit of a bonus.
The Red Sox and Nava go way back, ever since Boston signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and he’s a fan favorite due to his great backstory and unassuming demeanor. However, with the Red Sox current state of flux as they attempt to balance the playing time of proven Major Leaguers like Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig while allowing Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, of course, Rusney Castillo to acquire some MLB experience, Nava is expendable. Platoon outfielders aren’t a necessity for a rebuilding team and, while Nava is a solid player and an icon in Boston, it would likely be wise for the Red Sox to trade him as soon as possible.