The Boston Red Sox have holes in their starting rotation but they reportedly weren’t close to making a trade before the MLB season was shut down.
The rumor mill has been quiet since Major League Baseball went on an indefinite hiatus. There was some buzz around the Boston Red Sox exploring the trade market before the season was shut down but apparently those talks were going nowhere.
According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, no trades involving the Red Sox were “imminent” at the time MLB put a freeze on all transactions on March 27.
The Red Sox were heavily tied to the San Diego Padres in trade rumors all winter. San Diego was one of the top contenders in the Mookie Betts sweepstakes and Boston had their eye on several appealing assets from the deep Padres farm system. Talks between the two clubs continued even after the blockbuster deal that sent Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Diego has been trying to dump the contract of Wil Myers and have shown a willingness to attach a prospect as a sweetener. Boston can afford Myers’ bloated salary and the structure of his contract means only a fraction of that cost counts toward the luxury tax.
If a trade wasn’t close at the end of March then it seems unlikely that it will happen whenever the transaction freeze is lifted.
Boston’s biggest need is upgrading their starting rotation, which was dangerously thin even before Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the year.
Eduardo Rodriguez is clearly the ace coming off a breakout season. Nathan Eovaldi looked good this spring but the lingering stench of his injury-plagued 2019 season makes him an underwhelming No. 2 option. Martin Perez was initially brought in to be the fifth starter but he’s been bumped up to the third option by default in the wake of Sale’s injury and David Price relocating to Los Angeles. Ryan Weber was on his way to earning a rotation spot this spring.
That’s the current four-man rotation. The Red Sox seem to have no clue as to who would fill the fifth spot and using an Opener in the final rotation slot seems to be where they are heading.
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Unless they make a trade. Could Chaim Bloom start working the phones to find an upgrade once spring training starts up again?
That might depend on what the schedule looks like when baseball returns. If Opening Day doesn’t come until July then MLB might not be able to squeeze in a full 162-game schedule. A shorter season could alter Boston’s approach to managing their rotation. Maybe they only need four starters if we only get 100 games this season.
Some pitchers might be willing to work on short rest if they’re only making 20 starts instead of 30+ this season. The bullpen can be leaned on more with the overall workload of each pitcher reduced.
Boston might be better off waiting for the trade deadline to assess their needs, by which point they might realize they should be sellers instead of buyers. Betts now wears Dodger blue and Sale is on the shelf until 2021. Expectations weren’t high for this season to begin with. The Red Sox farm system isn’t stocked with enough assets to come anywhere close to replacing the stars they lost.
The Red Sox weren’t on the verge of swinging another deal before baseball was shut down and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider where they stand.