Red Sox assets that should be off limits in trade talks
By Sean Penney
The Red Sox have a few infield prospects who could soon be knocking on the door to the big leagues.
Sam Travis made his major league debut this year but has yet to solidify an everyday role. A case can be made that he deserves one heading into next season but the Red Sox don’t seem ready to commit to that yet and it may depend on what they do in free agency.
Travis has the potential to hit for a solid average and get on base but his power is underwhelming for a first baseman. His swing isn’t tailored toward hitting home runs and he failed to go deep in 33 games with the Red Sox this year. He only hit six home runs in 82 games with Triple-A Pawtucket to go along with a disappointing .375 slugging percentage. He should develop into a good hitter but not the power threat this team currently needs.
Michael Chavis joins Groome as the only other prospect in the Red Sox system to make MLB.com’s Top-100 list. Some view him as expendable with Devers blocking his path to the big leagues at third base, yet giving away prospects based on the lack of an opening is shortsighted. Either Devers or Chavis could be moved to first base or DH to make room for both.
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Bobby Dalbec is another third baseman with no clear path to the majors. The 22-year old hasn’t played above Single-A ball so the Red Sox have some time before they are forced to find a spot for him. He has 30+ homer upside with the ability to hit for a decent average.
Chavis has the upside to warrant keeping him and figuring out how he fits on the roster later. If the opportunity to acquire an All-Star caliber hitter presents itself then Chavis is a chip they can consider using but they shouldn’t be eager to move him simply because he plays the same position as Devers.
Travis would be the preferred option of the two if they had to move one of them due to his lack of power upside but there is no rush to deal him either. If the Red Sox don’t sign a power-hitting first baseman or DH then they may need Travis to start at first base so that Hanley Ramirez can stay at DH. Even if they do sign another option to fill one of those roles, Travis would be a useful backup at first base who could help ensure Ramirez’ playing time is limited just enough to prevent his 2019 option from vesting.
Dalbec is the lowest rated prospect of the three, ranking 10th in the Red Sox system, which means he’d also bring back less in return. Boston isn’t acquiring a 30+ homer bat for Dalbec so why give up on him if they think he can become that?