The Boston Red Sox made a huge splash in the free agent market with signing starting pitcher David Price. But the Red Sox say that they are not done yet.
John Tomase of WEEI.com reported that “according to owner John Henry, the trade market remains very much in play” for the Boston Red Sox. Admittedly, Henry believes that the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to afford another huge payday for a free agent; however, a trade is definitely possible with Boston’s president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski at the helm.
Henry was reported saying, “We have a lot of pitching and we have a lot of talent. We’re not going to trade away our core young players, but we might be able to get a core young pitcher. Dave [Dombrowski] is exploring a lot of other things. He’s well known as someone who’s not afraid to pull the trigger. Because of these young players we’re in good shape, not just for this year, but going forward.”
Henry was very open as to how negotiations were going in that alternative path, stating that every team willing to trade a No. 2 starting pitcher wants two everyday positional players in return. Henry said, “it was clear to us that going the trade route was going to be expensive. We are committed to staying younger.”
Saying that you’re not done looking for a solid No. 2 starter is one thing, but it’s another thing to use the youth as proof of a commitment to winning to influence the ace whom you just signed.
Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Herald reported that Price asked about Boston’s youth movement, including their plans with the entire roster. Red Sox execs “gave Price a rundown, going through the 25-man roster, then the 40-man roster. Price even wanted to know about last year’s first-round pick, Andrew Benintendi.” Once Price was convinced that the Beantown Babes would be how Boston would become a winner, the ace said, “The youth that we have, the team we can put out there on Opening Day right now, I think that’s very special.”
If that’s the case, and they want to keep their ace happy, the Red Sox would need to be using the veterans as trade bait. Those teams in question are not going to trade a solid starting pitcher for young prospects whom are not ready to be starters in the major leagues and the Red Sox seem to be putting off-limits tags on all of their youth whom are close if not already starters for 2016.
Bring on the tired, the old, the injured!
Not including any recent acquisitions, the Red Sox have Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Hanigan, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, and the retiring future Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz. There’s also a number of veteran arms in the bullpen, but it’s hard to see any team trading for them when they already can’t start for their current team.
Ortiz is retiring, but even if he wasn’t the Red Sox would never trade him for anything less than an ace pitcher.
The same could be said for Pedroia, unless Yoan Moncada is closer to playing second base at the MLB level than expected. Even then, there would still be a riot in Boston for trading a team leader and fan favorite.
Buccholz and Miley are safe, since what Boston would get in return would far outweigh their worth. Besides, the Red Sox need all of the starting pitchers that they can get, so why would they start 2016 with less?
Koji is very old but still very effective when healthy. Tazawa is not that old, but was very ineffective last season, even when he was healthy.
That leaves Hanigan and the two major busts from last year. Anyone willing to take on either Sandoval’s or Ramirez’s contracts, let alone both of them, would be risking much in the hopes that their serious potential would shine through the weight issues and injury-plagued moments. Hanigan makes the most sense to deal, if the Red Sox are to keep both of their young catchers Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. However, even if the Red Sox could part with Hanigan and one of the two young men, who would then be the backup catcher?
Henry’s trade statements seem mystifyingly optimistic. Other MLB teams want either proven youth or big-name veterans whom are healthy. He took the first half of that equation off of the table by committing to his young players, which make up most of the starting roster. His veterans, for the most part, are either irreplaceable to the team, retiring, or aging poorly. That leaves very little left in terms of valuable trade chips. Any trade is possible, but the chances that the Red Sox can add another big starter to the rotation with the assets that they are willing to part with is pretty unrealistic.