Boston Red Sox Trade Rumor: Baltimore Orioles could shop RHP Kevin Gausman


The MLB trade deadline is rapidly approaching, while the Boston Red Sox are falling out of postseason contention just as quickly. It’s time for the Red Sox to start considering themselves sellers at the deadline with an eye on building for the future.

The rest of the AL East remains in a tight race, with the Baltimore Orioles among those looking to upgrade at the deadline. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, that could mean they are willing to surrender 24-year old right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman in a deal to find immediate improvement.

Gausman is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in 11 appearances this season, including 3 starts. However, he is still considered one of the top young pitchers in Baltimore’s system and was ranked by ESPN’s Keith Law as the No. 23 prospect in baseball last year before he graduated from prospect status.

The Red Sox are seeking young, controllable pitchers with upside, so Gausman certainly fits the bill. But what could they give up to get him?

It’s easy to compare this scenario to a year ago, when Boston pulled off a coup to steal Eduardo Rodriguez from Baltimore’s organization for elite setup man Andrew Miller, who ended up walking in free agency after the season. The Orioles were willing to take that risk to fill a position of need, but bullpen help isn’t really what they need now. Baltimore ranks third in the league with a 2.81 ERA from their relievers.

Junichi Tazawa is having a stellar season and remains under control through next season, which could make his value similar to what Miller had a year ago. While it’s a fair comparison to the deal these two teams made at last year’s deadline, it seems unlikely now given that Baltimore’s focus isn’t on bolstering their bullpen this time.

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Baltimore’s priority seems to have switched to offense, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Unfortunately that isn’t an area that the Red Sox can offer much help in, assuming they aren’t willing to part with any of their own young players. We can also fairly assume that the O’s won’t be willing to trade for any of the veterans locked into long-term deals. If they didn’t make much of a push to sign Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval last winter, they certainly won’t want to trade for them now with each of them under-performing.

The expendable options that are either cheap or on expiring contracts aren’t hitters Baltimore would likely be interested in. Boston would be eager to find someone to take Mike Napoli or Shane Victorino off their hands, but they have very little value right now, so there’s no chance in getting a prospect of Gausman’s caliber for either of them.

Alejandro De Aza could be a trade candidate, given that he’s a free agent after the season and performing above expectations with a slash line of .311/.357/.538 during his 36 games in a Red Sox uniform. Except Boston acquired him only after Baltimore released him. It’s unlikely the O’s would part with a prime asset in order to bring back a guy they got rid of a couple months ago.

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The one reasonable choice that could interest Baltimore would be Brock Holt, who the Red Sox no longer have a fixed everyday spot for now that the roster has gotten healthier. The 27-year old may have reached his ceiling, so the Red Sox could cash in while his stock is at it’s peak coming off his first All-Star appearance.

A Holt-Gausman swap does make some sense for both sides. Holt would give Baltimore’s offense a boost as they make a run for the postseason and he could fill in at several different positions. For a Red Sox team that appears ready to waive the white flag on 2015, Gausman could be groomed as a potential future No. 2 starter for their rotation.

The downside of course is that Holt has become a very popular player in Boston, so ownership could suffer a backlash from fans if they deal him now, especially if Gausman never pans out. Holt may be the most reasonable trade chip the Red Sox have to acquire a pitcher like Gausman, but that doesn’t make it likely that such a deal will occur.

Gausman is the type of player the Red Sox should be targeting, but unlike last year, the assets they would be willing to offer don’t match up with what the Orioles are looking for. While this news that Baltimore may be making Gausman available could catch Ben Cherington’s interest, making another deadline deal for a highly-touted young pitcher would seem to be a pipe dream this time.