Michael Chavis has climbed the Red Sox prospect rankings over the last year, which brings up the question: Is he the future for the Red Sox, or is he another trade piece?
When the Boston Red Sox drafted Michael Chavis, there were big visions for him. The Red Sox convinced him to sign, and forgo a chance to play for Clemson University, and until 2017, he was up-and-down.
But 2017 was a huge year for the now number two Red Sox prospect, according to Baseball America.
Now, there are huge questions around the Boston organization on what the future holds for Chavis. He has been a third base prospect for about a year now, having moved over from shortstop. But at the big league level, third base is now occupied by rookie stud Rafael Devers.
Devers, despite a lot of talk about moving to first base, will be at third in 2018 for sure. And he will likely be there for 2019, seeing how the Red Sox have Mitch Moreland locked up for two seasons.
That leaves Chavis blocked in his natural position at the big league level. So where does Chavis go?
Many people think Chavis could move to a corner spot in the outfield, but the Red Sox outfield is full. First base could also be an option for Chavis, but this would force Devers to stay at third, or move to designated hitter.
Either way, the Red Sox are in a difficult predicament with Chavis.
The argument to trade Michael Chavis:
Maybe the only option for Boston is to trade him. Sure, it would hurt for the Red Sox to give up yet another young prospect. But there are plenty of MLB teams that are in re-build mode right now and would love a good young corner infield piece like Chavis.
Just a few teams that come to mind are the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Detroit Tigers. All three of those teams have players that the Red Sox would gladly take. Miami has Christian Yelich and JT Realmuto. The Pirates have Josh Harrison, and a piece like Chavis could help spark their rebuild. And the Tigers have a very interesting piece in Nick Castellanos.
Now, Chavis alone is not going to get any of those guys. No chance Dave Dombrowski can pull that off. But pairing Chavis with a guy like Blake Swihart could sweeten the pot for Pittsburgh or Detroit. However, it would take much more than those two to get Yelich and Realmuto.
The Red Sox really have no true home for Chavis at the moment, and for the foreseeable future. They could carve out space over the next couple of seasons, but by then who knows what the Red Sox will look like.
They can maximize their return for Chavis by trading him now, and filling a need while they compete for a championship now.
Why Boston can hold on to Chavis:
If the Red Sox hold on to Chavis, it will be a long-term play. We know that they just signed Moreland to a two-year deal, but it is a very team-friendly contract. The Red Sox could easily part ways with Moreland to a team who needs him more.
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Boston has options at first base for the immediate future in Hanley Ramirez, and potentially Rafael Devers. The Red Sox could bring up Chavis in 2018, and give him time down the stretch at third base to see what they have. Then, over the next offseason, find a trade partner for Mitch Moreland, and let him go.
This scenario would leave Boston with Chavis at third, Devers at first, and assuming Ramirez does not reach his vesting option, an open designated hitter spot for 2019.
We all know about the free agency bonanza that is impending for next offseason. If Boston can part ways with Moreland, and get Ramirez’s contract off the books, that is $28.5 million they can spend elsewhere, and still have young, controllable players at the corner infield spots.
If David Price decides to opt out, which might be a pipe dream, it gives Boston $59.5 million in extra money for free agency. I am no President of baseball operations, but this sounds like a good plan for the Red Sox.
Either way, Boston’s decision on Chavis could be a big one for the future. If they hold on to him, it will be a sign they are committing to the future. If they deal him, it would be another attempt to bolster a roster to win right now.
Look for this decision to weigh heavy in the coming years.