The Boston Red Sox missed out on the Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels sweepstakes. That’s fine. This platform has already mentioned how the Cincinnati Reds have another starting pitcher to target in a trade: Mike Leake. As much as Leake would help the Red Sox win a few more games this season, it’s looking more and more like 2015 will not be filled with post-season endeavors. Maybe it’s time to rethink trade strategies and think about the off-season, at least as far as the Leake situation is concerned.
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Christopher Smith of MassLive.com suggests that the Red Sox should think more about signing Leake after the season is over, instead of trading for him before the deadline:
"“If a team does acquire Leake before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, it would be unable to extend him a qualify offer at the end of the season before the righty hits the free agent market.A player must be on a team’s roster at the beginning of the year to be extended a qualifying offer.So Leake would benefit by being traded before the deadline because he then wouldn’t have to worry about the qualifying offer tag, which likely would narrow down the list of organizations interested in signing him during free agency.Fewer teams interested in him could mean less money.”– Christopher Smith, MassLive.com"
After blowing a well-documented ton of money on players like Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rick Porcello, and Justin Masterson, the deep pockets of the Red Sox ownership would probably still like that option better than trading assets for a player who could just leave if he wishes at the end of the year.
Before the debate begins, let’s point out that there are other teams interested in Leake’s services before the trade deadline, thereby making this situation possible:
Judging by this tweet and numerous rumor-mill sites posting how many other teams could be interested in a deal for Leake, it’s safe to assume that at least inquiries are being made. With that said, nothing might be done about it and Leake may stay with the Reds for the rest of the season. However, Smith’s idea does have merit, now. And, as he points out, no draft pick would be required to give back to the team who acquires Leake, as there would not be compensation for the qualifying offer that was never possible.
Red Sox Nation wants the pitching staff to be fixed now, not in December; however, maybe patience is the better part of valor, in this case. Boston may be able to pay Leake what he’s asking for without as many other teams interested in him. The team who trades for Leake would have to give up some solid prospects or veterans to obtain Leake from the Reds, who will want to rebuild a bit after being 18 games out of the National League Central division race, so far. Trading Cueto to Kansas City certainly leads us to that assumption. The Red Sox have also been reluctant to say that their young talent are open to the trade market, so what suggests that they will make a deal like this now?
Their future in 2016 and beyond may lay in the laps of these Beantown babies, as they continue to surface into starting roles while the 2015 season progresses. Instead of selling the farm, or at least relocating the produce to other teams’ lands, maybe free agency is the way to go. It’s not like too many of the current veterans on the team are exactly in high demand for a trade, these days. The best option could be finding young stud arms in free agency, while the rest of the team thinks about their golf games and what might have been in October.
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