The Boston Red Sox reportedly spoke to the Oakland A’s about acquiring outfielder Mark Canha, who would help aid their struggles against lefties.
The rumor mill is beginning to churn with the MLB trade deadline looming just over a month away. The latest comes from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, who reports that the Red Sox discussed a possible deal for outfielder Mark Canha.
Boston’s inquiry was unsuccessful, although Slusser indicates that the teams may revisit talks as the deadline approaches. Oakland’s starting rotation has been ravaged by injuries. The Red Sox have pitching depth to spare, making them a viable trade partner. Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are options Boston could conceivably send to the A’s. It’s no surprise that Oakland didn’t jump at those offers but things could change in the coming weeks.
Canha is having a breakout fourth season, his last before he becomes arbitration eligible. He’s hitting .250 with a .774 OPS, nine home runs and 25 RBI. While those numbers aren’t overwhelming, Canha could fill Boston’s biggest need as a right-handed bat who crushes lefties. He’s hitting .303 against left-handed pitching with a .969 OPS that ranks 15th in the American League (minimum 25 at-bats vs LHP).
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The 29-year old has experience at all three outfield positions, although he’s best suited for the corners. If the Red Sox acquired him then he’d play left field when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. Andrew Benintendi would either get the day off or slide over to center, sending Jackie Bradley to the bench. Canha could play center with J.D. Martinez in left if they wanted to stack the lineup with right-handed bats. The outfield defense would take a significant hit so it probably isn’t worthwhile to try.
Canha also has experience at first base. He could fill in for Mitch Moreland in a role similar to what they once envisioned for Hanley Ramirez. Moreland has surprisingly held his own against southpaws this year and may not need a platoon partner. It wouldn’t hurt to have the option available though. Just in case Moreland regresses against lefties.
He’s making a mere $545,000 this season so the Red Sox can easily slide him into their payroll without crossing the threshold for the steepest luxury tax penalties. The same can’t be said for many other trade targets considering they have less than $2 million in wiggle room.
Canha would remain under team control until 2022. He may get too expensive over the next few years for a low-budget A’s team. Now would be the time to deal him if he’s not in their long-term plans.
It’s unclear if the A’s are reluctant to part with Canha or if they simply weren’t impressed with what Boston had to offer. The fact that they are leaving the door open to revisit these discussions means the Red Sox must have something the do want. Or they may be waiting to see if they get better offers elsewhere. Either way, keep an eye on Oakland as the trade deadline approaches.