A depleted Red Sox farm system limits trade options

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Michael Chavis
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Michael Chavis /

The Red Sox farm system is rather bleak and that limits trade options, but will this remain so? I see a slow rebuild while maintaining success.

The Red Sox championship came with consequences that can be examined as unintended or as I do – expected. This all circulates around a continual stream of talent in the prospect pipeline to invigorate needed positions, make reasonable choices of free agents – including your own, and as valuable trade chips. The Red Sox farm system is depleted and among the top 100 prospects in MLB, Boston has just one – Michael Chavis. That’s it.

The rumor mill is certainly productive this time of year and names have been tossed about with Boston apparently in the mix.  But that is usually defined as just being inquisitive and checking out names that have surfaced and not just any names.

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The Red Sox may be in the market for a closer if Craig Kimbrel moves on. Edwin Diaz of Seattle has been mentioned since Seattle is in “Rebuilding mode” which is a euphemism for giving up for the foreseeable future.  And a pitcher needs a catcher and the Miami Marlins have J.T. Realmuto who has what out catchers lack – any level of ability with the bat.

The list can certainly be expanded, but those two are just an example since the key ingredient is just how do you get them? When I last looked no baseball GM was willing to just give away an established or promising product for nothing – and that is just what the Boston farm system has – nothing. I doubt Boston is willing to part with a Rafael Devers for a Diaz or Realmuto.

Chavis – a PED bust – is our current top dog in the prospect department, and Chavis can hit home runs and strikeout. Maybe at Pawtucket, he’ll get really on the fast track? But I have been down that “promise” highway before.  The second-ranked prospect is lefty Jay Groome who has done nothing of merit except Tommy John Surgery.  The third on the list is one Triston Casas who hit .385 – in high school. The rest of the list may make an impact in Korea but I hold no high hopes for rapid advancement.

There are three ways to build a farm system – astute (lucky) drafting, diligent coaching, and having a fire sale.  The last was used extensively by the Yankees Brian Cashman with excellent results, but do not expect the Red Sox to follow that path. The other two have built the team.

The Red Sox churn out positions players with regularity and we see them in the lineup and will see them cash in soon enough. A good draft and good development.  The real issue is providing substance for that little bump in the middle of the diamond as the Red Sox come up short on that. That, of course, is resolved in throwing money at pitching or throwing the best of the best in prospects. Chris Sale and David Price top that list.

Does this all seem bleak?  A mountain of negativity? Debbie Downer on steroids? Of course not since Boston has a secret ingredient – well – not so secret since it is money.  A lot of money. As noted in this article Boston apparently has no fear of luxury tax or overspending.  We have seen this with the Pablo Sandoval debacle, the Rusney Castillo signing, and the Yoan Moncada bonus and penalty.

But what about that farm system?

I am in full Alfred E. Neuman mode with “What, me worry” on the system. My negativity knows that somewhere in that crop of prospects a few will surface that will become valuable. I also realize that historically this team has had an exceptional player development department and expected future dividends.

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The best part of the money flow is Boston can absorb mistakes, failures, injuries and retain players such as Mookie Betts. In fact, I would certainly not be shocked to see a significant offseason signing of a free agent. Meanwhile, I expect no fire sales and a playoff caliber team.