The Boston Red Sox have been actively scouting San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith but the price remains too high as the trade deadline approaches.
It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox are looking to upgrade their bullpen at the MLB trade deadline. It’s also well known that there are limits to what they will give up to do so, which may hinder their chances of acquiring San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith.
Smith is one of the top relievers potentially available at this year’s deadline. He’s having a brilliant season, converting 26 of 28 save opportunities while posting a 2.72 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 12.8 K/9.
The Red Sox have scouted Smith extensively, suggesting the lefty is among their top trade targets. However, Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reports that the asking price remains too high for their tastes.
The prorated remainder of Smith’s $4.225 million salary shouldn’t be problematic, even for a team intent on remaining under the third-tier of luxury tax penalties. The issue is that Smith will be a free agent after the season. He’s a three-month rental and the Red Sox are hesitant to part with their top prospects for a short-term fix.
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While it’s unclear exactly what the Giants are asking for, you can imagine the price is sky-high. Virtually every contender is in the market for bullpen help and the demand may outweigh the supply.
That’s assuming the Giants are willing to sell. San Francisco has won six of their last 10 games to move within 2.5 games of a Wild Card spot. While their roster doesn’t appear built for success in October, a recent hot streak may have them on the fence about trading their key assets. It was once believed that impending free agent Madison Bumgarner would headline the starting pitching market but now there’s uncertainty on whether he’ll be moved. If they do end up keeping their ace, does that mean their closer is staying put too?
If the Giants do make Smith available then he should remain on Boston’s radar. Sure, the price may be ridiculous now but that can change as the minutes tick away toward the deadline. Many sellers seem to be waiting until the final hour to see if they can drive up the price, which could lead to a chaotic scramble just before the 4:00 p.m. deadline.
As high as the price may be for Smith, it’s undoubtedly higher for comparable options who aren’t rentals. Edwin Diaz would be an ideal fit for the Red Sox with three more years of control before he hits free agency but the New York Mets are insisting on major league ready talent in return, Buster Olney reported on ESPN’s “Get Up!” As much as Diaz would help the bullpen, Boston isn’t giving up a key piece of their current roster to do it. Trading Andrew Benintendi would patch one hole by opening another. Giving up versatile infielder Michael Chavis instead should also give them pause.
Buyers and sellers are caught in a game of chicken as the deadline rapidly approaches. One side will inevitably blink. Either the Red Sox will be pressured into surrendering a bit more than they would have liked or sellers will become more reasonable when they realize time is running out. The alternative is that the Red Sox walk away from the deadline with nothing, leaving a gaping hole in the bullpen, which would be unacceptable.