Trade values of Red Sox infielders Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts.
The Boston Red Sox have two and possibly three players who are quite desirable for other teams which comes to two terms for baseball trades – expendable and tradeable. Expendable usually means you have a replacement readily available and it is best to trade a player away for some value either for the immediate or the longer term. Some would say “excess baggage.” Some would say forced necessity, such as Mookie Betts when the replacement is part of the exchange.
Tradeable is applicable to just about any player – even a Mike Trout. If you offer enough, any player is tradeable and will be moved. Sometimes it is simply getting rid of aggravation such as Rogers Hornsby being traded for Frankie Frisch. Or the bizarre, such as batting champion Harvey Kuenn for reigning home run champion Rocky Colavito.
I’ll take a peek at the three expendables and it this instance the replacement may be quite questionable or even non-existent. What about the return? There is a historical reference in the Red Sox immediate past and we can start with Chris Sale. The White Sox took an arm and not just any arm in Michael Kopech. Kopech was flat out the best pitching prospect in baseball or damn close to it.
A second deal that still mystifies me is right-hander Anderson Espinoza for lefty Drew Pomeranz. Espinoza had been ranked as high as number 21 on Baseball America and – like Kopech – had exceptional heat. Both suffered arm injuries but are now back in the mix.
If I was to deal a Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers, I would expect the return to include multiple prospects and especially those who take the mound. As with Devers, just what you could get is similar to what you would feed an 800-pound Gorilla – anything he wants. If Sale is worth two gold plate prospects, so is Devers and possibly more. Is it stupid to deal a Devers? You bet! And Bogaerts? Make it a dumb and dumber. You keep franchise players, or do you?
With Devers, the issue is a replacement and that means internally with Michael Chavis or Bobby Dalbec. Neither are close to the production of Devers who is potentially a franchise player. This is Betts only with far more controllable years. And for Bogaerts the return would be similar based just on his production, leadership, and contract situation.
Bogaerts would leave a gaping hole at shortstop with the only one ready in place to step in Jose Peraza, who is possibly best described as average defensively, and is far down the offensive list in any comparison with Bogaerts. The other possibilities are first off from the Betts trade and Jeter Downs. Downs has that magic word “potential” stapled on his scouting report. The rest of the system varies from C.J. Chatham to those with a few years away.
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Trading either Devers or/and Bogaerts is impractical unless the team is convinced the only way to extricate themselves from a few years of mediocrity is to just do it. Of course, those cut-outs they now use in the stands may again be needed to fill missing seats thanks to a fan revolt. Gutting the present for a hopeful future is a long shot.
The last item of real value is the one item this team has a real need for – starting pitching and that is Eduardo Rodriguez. I will take a side trip into that possibility and make a rather tenuous link to the other two. Will Rodriguez – usually the recipient of unfortunate injuries – be back to his 19 game-winner self in 2021? Just that one tick is enough to drop value even in the perpetually tight pitching market.
The only way I could see E-Rod getting the trade boot is if the Red Sox collect the proverbial boatload of arms from a Devers – Bogaerts’s exit. Rodriguez could bring some pop to the lineup as this would be the type of trade that would be a rubber arm for a wooden bat and not the other way around.
What I have presented is highly unlikely as ever happening but the same was stated undoubtedly when Babe Ruth was sent to the Yankees. Baseball is a business and this current ownership runs it with emotion not being the decision-maker otherwise Betts would still be in right field.
Such dumping of talent would bring back a revisit to the Miami Marlins for example who did it twice. A way of minimizing payroll is trading and letting players test the market. In the 1999-2002 time frame, the Marlins had one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. I just wonder who owned the Marlins from 1999-2002? Nah…would never happen.